Often, when people think of car accident injury, they associate it with neck pain and whiplash. However, back pain is a rather common complaint after an auto accident. One must remember that the entire spine is connected together and works together as a functional unit. Therefore, when the body is tossed around in a car crash, any aspect of the spine can sustain injury. There are several ways in which back pain results from a car accident:
Back Pain from Direct Contact Injury
Back pain can result from your body striking an object in the car, such as the steering wheel or dash of the car. Objects within the car, like purses, groceries, pets, etc., can become projectiles at impact that can strike a person sitting in the car with significant velocity and brutal force. Passengers can also smash into each other in a crash. It is not hard to imagine how back pain can result from this type of injury.
Back Pain from Inertial Forces
In a car crash the principles of inertia apply: your body can be significantly sped up (accelerated) and rapidly slowed down (decelerated). This results in the whiplash-type effect where your body is shaken like a rag doll. Different parts of your body move at different speeds relative to each other; like your head moving at a different rate than your torso. Your neck and upper back get caught in between and can be stretched, twisted and/or compressed, thus producing injury and back pain. The small joints in the lower back called facet joints can be pinched together and then splayed apart causing lower back pain. Discs can also be injured as well, resulting in back pain. Often, several different structures in the spine can be injured in the same car accident creating multiple pain generators for back pain after the crash.
Compensatory Back Pain
With respect to the fact that the spine works together as a functional unit, consider that walking around for days in an unnatural posture from neck pain and spasm after a car accident can produce overloading forces in other areas of the spine. Therefore, back pain may result from other areas of the spine overworking and compensating for the neck pain and lack of mobility. This why pain after a car accident can be so confounding: first it hurts in one area, then another!
Back Pain After a Car Accident: Putting it all Together
First and foremost, to relieve back pain effectively you must get to the source of the pain. As you can see, back pain from car accident injury is a complex problem that requires a doctor that is trained and experienced in evaluating and caring for these types of injuries. If you are suffering from auto accident injuries, please call Woodbridge, ON chiropractor, Dr. Ruminder Birk, DC at (905) 264-9355. Dr. Birk has the knowledge and compassion necessary to help you recover from your injuries and move forward in your life.