If you sustained a lower back injury after a car accident, read on for information on treatment and some tips for your car accident injury claim. The Bishop Law Firm represents personal injury clients in North Carolina and we do not get paid unless we win. Call us today or start your free case review now!


This article is not offered as medical advice regarding lower back pain. If you have been injured in an car accident, please seek immediate medical attention. 

Car accidents can range from a mere bump to a devastating encounter. Some types of car accidents ( car vs. 18-wheeler , car vs. pedestrian and car vs. motorcyclist) often result in catastrophic injuries to the victim.

Even what seems to be a minor car accident can result in severe injury under the wrong conditions. 

Neck pain (cervical spine) and mid-back (thoracic spine) pain frequently accompanies low back (lumbar) pain after a car accident. The spinal column contains the spinal cord which is protected by vertebra. Spinal injury to any part of the spine can result in instability and chronic pain.

Read: NC Rear End Collision Injuries & Medical Bills After A Car Accident

Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident

Depending on the severity of the accident you were involved in you could have sustained different types of lower back injury after a car accident (from mildest to most severe):

  1. Bruises (soft tissue injury)– When the skin is hit hard enough damaged blood rises to the top of the skin and creates a dark blue – black mark on the skin. Eventually bruises are reabsorbed by the body and the skin discoloration goes away. Also, with bruises there is usually no chance of infection because the skin was not punctured. A soft tissue injury should be examined to rule out internal bleeding or other more serious injury. In severe cases, hematomas (clotted blood) may need to be evacuated (drained). For your personal injury case, you should take photos of your bruise as soon as possible and again as it starts to change color with dates. These pictures can help your case.
  2. Muscle Strain or Sprain – A muscle strain can affect the low back and leave you with sharp pain, swelling, and muscle spasms. Whiplash is a type of muscle strain/sprain. Whiplash can affect your cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine. If the strain is severe enough you can tear a muscle. Physical therapy is usually recommended for muscle strains and in certain cases, chiropractic care as well. Chiropractors can help a car accident victim with discogenic pain but the victim needs to be sure that their type of back injury will benefit from chiropractic treatment.
  3. Herniated Disc – can be caused by traumatic events such as a car accident if pressure is put on that area. In very simple terms, your back has two kinds of shock absorbers (one is soft and one is hard) between your vertebra . If a disc herniates the soft shock absorber pushes on the hard shock absorber until it bulges (bulging disc). The bulge irritates or compresses the spinal cord and nearby nerve roots. This can lead to lumbar radiculopathy. The radiating pain and numbness can travel from your lumbar spine to your hips, legs and toes. This can result in weakness and gait instability. If you are having symptoms in your neck, this may be due to cervical radiculopathyAn MRI or CT is needed to diagnose a herniated disc . Treatment can range from physical therapy, epidural injection, to discectomy. Please note that X-rays will not typically demonstrate these type of injuries as they only show bone. Most hospitals only offer x-rays to accident victims.
  4. Disk Fracture or Dislocation – A Lumbar compression fracture or dislocation can be a very serious injury. There are three types of spinal fracture patterns: flexion, extension, and rotation. Treatment for fractures are bracing, a laminectomy or stabilization with screws, rods, pins, etc. Often, these types of injuries take substantial time to heal and you will need extensive physical rehabilitation. Keeping track of your symptoms, missed time from work and every place that you have received medical treatment will help you later when it’s time to settle your personal injury case.
  5. Spinal Cord Injury – depending on where you injure your spine, you can have paralysis. While any lower back pain after a car accident should be examined as soon as possible, spinal cord injury should be ruled out immediately. If you continue to have symptoms of pain/weakness/numbness in your spine/legs or develop problems controlling urine or your bowels despite following your doctor’s advice, it is time to get a 2nd opinion about your spinal cord injuries.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How long does lower back pain last after car accident? How long pain lasts depends on what type of injury you have sustained to your lumbar spine. Bruising and muscle strains will usually heal faster than more severe injuries. If you are having pain you should seek medical attention.
  2. Why does my back hurt after car crash? Your back could hurt for many reasons. The first possibility would be that you have sustained whiplash from the car accident. When the human body is jerked back and forth during an accident that can definitely cause pain in the spine.
  3. What should I do if my back hurts after a car accident? You should seek medical treatment and follow all medical advice.
  4. How long does it take for your back to heal after a car accident? This depends on the type of injury you have sustained. The first step is to seek medical treatment and get a clear diagnosis.
  5. Can a fender bender cause back pain? Yes, unfortunately. The back and forth movement caused by a car accident can cause back pain.

Read: Preexisting Conditions in NC Personal Injury Cases

Lower back pain after car accident can range from mild to debilitating. Immediately after the accident, a car accident victim should seek medical treatment and continue to receive treatment as needed as well as follow all medical advice. The more severe your back injury, the more time you will need to heal. Unfortunately, even after receiving the appropriate medical care you may continue to have symptoms that affect your daily life and ability to work.

NC Car Accident Lawyer

Having a injury attorney on your side can help you recover your current and future wage losses, medical expenses, and pain & suffering while allowing you the time to focus on recovery.

The Bishop Law Firm represents car victims of auto accidents in RaleighCaryDurhamRocky MountWilsonFayettevilleSmithfieldLouisburgChapel HillRoanoke Rapids and more! We do not get paid unless we win your case! Call us today for a free case review, (919) 615-3095 or start online now!


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