Why Back and Neck Pain is Common After Car Accidents

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 15-Feb-2020

According to the latest stats from Canada’s Ministry of Transportation, more than 150,000 people were injured in car accidents in 2017 alone. A collision is a very traumatic event that not only affects the body, but also the mind. The emotional consequences can certainly be devastating. But once the initial shock has been addressed, it’s important to turn your attention to physical recovery. 

Some of the most common injuries following a collision include chronic back and neck pain. Sometimes the pain is felt immediately upon impact. Other times, it may take days or weeks for the discomfort to set in. Whether you’re a driver or passenger, the severity of injuries will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Were you wearing a seatbelt? 
  • Was your car hit from the side, front or rear?
  • At what speed was the vehicle moving when impact occurred?

Understanding Whiplash

Back and neck injuries are particularly common after car accidents because the body will often hit some part of the vehicle’s interior. When a car makes impact, the force is usually so strong that it’ll cause everything (including your body) to move in that direction. But because a vehicle’s interior is so small, the dashboard, car door or steering wheel is going to stop that forward momentum. The sudden jerk you feel in your head and neck when this happens is known as whiplash. But that seemingly quick motion can actually put tremendous pressure on your spine. 

Common Injuries After a Collision

If left untreated, whiplash can lead to a series of other problems, particularly in the spine. The spine is divided into three distinct areas: 

  • Cervical vertebrae (neck)
  • Thoracic vertebrae (upper back)
  • Lumbar vertebrae (lower back)

Generally, injuries of the thoracic vertebrae are most serious. Sprains and fractures in this region are very common in high-speed car accidents. That’s because the thoracic spine connects to the chest and rib areas. Without proper attention, this type of injury can lead to permanent nerve damage. 

Lumbar spine injuries are less serious, but can still be very painful. Symptoms may include swelling and bruising — as well as a significant impact on your ability to perform daily activities. Motor vehicle accident victims can also suffer from herniated discs or problems with the spinal cord.

One thing to note is that back pain is not necessarily acute, meaning the discomfort will not always be intense. The endorphins your body produces after an accident can often mask pain. This natural chemical is the brain’s coping mechanism when experiencing severe trauma. That’s why it’s especially important to watch for unusual sensations, no matter how minor they may be. 

Treating Back and Neck Pain at Physiomed

At Physiomed, our interdisciplinary team of health professionals have the expertise to address a number of car accident-related injuries. Whether you’re suffering from a stiff shoulder or spinal fracture, we can efficiently guide you through the recovery process.

Aside from conducting a basic assessment, we also enhance the patient experience by doing the following: 

  • Looking beyond the immediate trauma and considering any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Restoring mental well-being by acknowledging the emotional consequences of your accident
  • Providing a well-rounded approach to recovery by incorporating other treatments, such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and spinal decompression therapy

Meanwhile, navigating the insurance paperwork after an accident can be particularly overwhelming — especially when trying to reclaim your physical health. Physiomed can help you coordinate benefits with your insurance provider, so you can focus on recovery instead.
For more information on treating injuries after a car accident or to book an assessment, contact us here.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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