Is Upper Back Pain After a Car Accident Normal?

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Every year, millions of Americans experience pain and injury after getting involved in a vehicle accident. Although it might not seem much at first, even minor fender benders can injure your back and other parts of the body since the human body isn’t built for the jarring impact of a car accident. For a car accident victim, upper back pain caused by an auto accident injury can be especially difficult to manage. 

So is it common to experience upper back pain after car accidents? Upper back pain after an auto accident may happen because of different reasons, including whiplash injury, bulging disc, and facet joint injury. In some cases, patients may also experience neck pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, and severe pain that lasts for months.

Understanding Upper and Lower Back Pain From Accidents

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, road traffic injuries are the 8th leading cause of death in the world and around 4.4 million people experience a car accident injury serious enough to require medical attention. Even the most skilled drivers are at risk of a motor vehicle injury because of someone else’s negligence or unfortunate accidents on the road.

Treating spinal or soft tissue injury properly after an accident is crucial because it may lead to chronic pain that lasts for months and affects the patient’s quality of life. Make sure to head to a pain management specialist immediately if you still experience any pain symptoms even months after a seemingly minor car accident.

1) Upper Back Pain After Being Rear Ended

Rear-end collision is one of the most common types of car crashes that cause upper back pain. When one car crashes into the back of another, it’s probably because the driver was speeding, distracted, or tailgating. The abrupt forward and backward motion of the car results in spinal, soft tissue, or neck injury.

Patients may develop upper back pain injuries after a rear-end collision since the human body isn’t built for the impact of a car accident. When individuals experience this kind of car accident, there’s a large amount of force applied to their back without warning. Some of the most common causes of acute low back pain and upper back pain include whiplash, strain, sprain, spinal injury, joint injury, or nerve damage.

2) Upper Back Pain Under Shoulder From Low Impact Car Accident

Aside from injuries involving the cervical spine, the stress from a low-impact car accident may fracture the bones near the shoulder, damage the shoulder joint, or tear the sensitive structures in the area. If you experience upper back and shoulder pain after a car accident, seek medical help immediately to get checked for a shoulder injury.

The shoulder joint is made up of a ball and a socket that are both highly susceptible to damage, especially during car accidents. No matter how low-impact the accident might seem, having severe upper back pain under the shoulder is still a sign of serious injury that needs to be addressed. The doctor may check for a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, joint dislocation, bone fracture, and other possible reasons before recommending a treatment plan for acute or chronic pain.

3) Mid Upper Right Side Back Pain After Car Accident

Lower and upper back injuries are quite common in car accidents, but some patients may also experience chest pain and middle back pain because of different reasons – like damage to the thoracic vertebra, muscle strain, or organ damage.

Renal trauma is one of the most serious injuries that may come out of car accidents. If you feel back pain around your mid-upper right side, then it’s best to contact a doctor immediately. Untreated renal trauma may result in kidney failure or internal bleeding that may require lifelong treatment.

4) Upper Back Pain After Running from Car Accident

Many people who experience minor car accidents often think their bodies are fine because they got away with minor scratches and nothing more. This leads to them continuing with their life without getting a proper diagnosis.

But when they start running or performing other physical activities, some of them might experience upper and lower back pain. Delayed pain in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine months after the minor car accident may still happen because physical activities like running may trigger the hidden but existing injury. Once you experience pain in these areas, make sure to consult a doctor immediately and tell them about your history of a car accident.

e) Motorcycle Wreck Upper Back Pain

Deaths caused by motorcycle crashes are a lot higher than car accident fatalities, so it’s not surprising to know that a motorcycle rider is more likely to be injured in a road accident than a car owner. Since there isn’t proper support for the back in the motorcycle, they’re more vulnerable to serious vertebral or spinal cord injuries. When you get involved even in a minor motorcycle accident, make sure to visit a doctor immediately.

Delayed Upper Back Pain After an Accident

No two injuries are exactly alike, but there are situations when people experience delayed back pain after a car accident. The first possible reason is the gradual decrease of adrenaline in the blood. When people get involved in a car accident, the body produces adrenaline to increase the patient’s pain tolerance and allow them to overlook their injuries. As the adrenaline levels normalize after a few hours only then can they feel back and neck pain.

The other possible reason is the delay of development in the other symptoms. It may take hours for swelling or bruising to appear. The discomfort of inflammation also takes a bit of time, causing patients to experience delayed pain and other symptoms.

Can You Feel Upper Back Pain From an Auto Accident That Happened Two Months Ago?

Yes, upper back pain can still be felt by some people even 2 months after the accident especially if they didn’t get the right treatment for it. The back pain may be a result of spinal cord injury, muscle spasms, slipped discs, and other spine issues. The pain isn’t considered chronic yet, but it’s still best to consult a doctor for the right treatment.

Can You Feel Upper Back Pain 4 Months After Car Accident?

Yes, it’s still possible especially if the patient was involved in a major car accident. If the pain has lasted 4 months after the car accident and even after taking the appropriate pain medication, then it may already be considered chronic pain. Doctors may recommend other treatment options like physical therapy and chiropractic care to relieve pain and prevent the progression of the injury. 

Can You Feel Upper Back Pain A Year After Car Accident?

Yes, patients may still experience upper back pain even a year after the car accident if they didn’t receive the proper treatment for it. If you experience chronic pain that starts affecting your quality of life, then consult a pain management specialist immediately. Make sure to inform them about the car accident that happened and what kind of treatment you received if there’s any.

When to Consult a Doctor About Upper Back Pain After Accident

Many car accident victims immediately feel the pain so they consult with doctors right after the incident. But there are also instances when the symptoms don’t show for hours, days, or weeks after the car accident. It’s easy to mistake the symptoms for something else so make sure to consult a doctor right away to get a proper diagnosis and treatment, even if you were only involved in a minor car accident.

Additionally, here are delayed symptoms to look out for:

  • Headaches that last for a few days after the accident
  • Tenderness, swelling, bruising, or pain in the belly
  • Weakness when lifting some things
  • Pinching sensations in the neck, back, and shoulders
  • Feelings of numbness in the hands, fingers, or arms that don’t subside
  • Decreased vision or hearing

Aside from consulting a doctor about upper back pain, it’s also important to call a personal injury attorney. Upper back pain and other injuries may result in lasting damage to the body that may cost thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Personal injury attorneys may help recover some compensation for the injuries caused by the accident.

Why You Might Experience Upper Back Pain From Car Accident

The cause of upper back pain from a car accident varies depending on the car’s speed. The average force of a car accident is around 6 tons, which is enough to cause neck and back injuries like:

  • Whiplash – This common car accident injury occurs when the force of impact causes the head and neck to whip backward and then forward. It may result in damage to different spine structures like bones, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Bulging spinal disc – Spinal discs act as cushions between each vertebra, but the force of a car accident may cause them to slip or bulge. The affected disc may press against the nearby nerves, resulting in back pain.
  • Facet joint injury – Facet joints act as connectors between the bones and spine, giving the vertebra its flexibility. A lot of nerve roots are also found in the facet joint, so an injury here may prevent patients from moving comfortably and accomplishing simple tasks.

How to Treat Chronic Upper Back Pain After Car Accident

The good news is that there are a few ways to help patients manage their chronic upper back pain after an auto accident. Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, patients may be treated through:

  • Chiropractic care – After evaluating the damage to the patient’s back, chiropractors create a movement and exercise plan that allows the body to heal itself. This often involves spinal adjustments.
  • Massage therapy – This type of physical therapy is complementary to chiropractic care. Massage therapy decreases muscle tension, relieves pain, and prepares tissues for spinal adjustments.
  • Surgery – Surgeries are only recommended for chronic pain patients who don’t experience improvements even after months of taking medications and trying conservative treatment options.

Experience Upper Back Pain Relief With Gramercy Pain Center

Upper back injuries lead to lifelong damage to the body if left untreated. It may further develop into spinal conditions like spinal stenosis, so it’s crucial to consult a doctor immediately even if you were only involved in a minor car accident.

At Gramercy Pain Center, we provide an accurate diagnosis of your upper back pain so we can recommend the best treatment plans. We’re here to provide you with the best pain relief treatments so you don’t have to undergo surgery, unless necessary. Call us today to book a consultation.

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