If you are involved in a car accident as a driver or a passenger, there is every chance you may suffer an injury in the collision. If you are injured, your priority, even as a driver of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, is to ensure that you get the medical treatment you need immediately.

People in car accidents often suffer back injuries. Together with whiplash injuries, they are the two most common types of injury sustained by the occupants of vehicles involved in road traffic accidents. There is often a fine line between whiplash injuries and some back injuries, as whiplash commonly affects the neck and the upper and lower back.

The term ‘back injuries’ covers a wide range of injuries. For instance, back strains and sprains are standard features of car accident claims because a collision between motor vehicles frequently results in the occupants of the cars being thrown backwards and forwards or from side to side. This causes ‘wrenching’ injuries to muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae. The degrees of pain from these types of injuries vary widely in severity.

Even low-speed vehicle collisions can cause back injuries.

Symptoms of wrenching injuries to the back

The symptoms of the types of injury we have just described include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of, or restricted, movement
  • Weakness in the affected areas
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Serious back injuries caused by car accidents

The more severe types of back injury associated with being involved in car accidents include:

  • Thoracic Spine injuries
  • Lumbar spine injuries
  • Herniated disc injuries
  • Sciatic nerve injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Most serious back injuries result from high-speed collisions between vehicles. At their most extreme, injuries of this nature can result in the victim suffering permanent damage to the affected area. Disability, both temporary and permanent, or even fatal injuries are not uncommon outcomes when vehicles collide at high speed.

For more in-depth information about serious back injuries caused by being the victim of a car accident, see our pages on:

Spinal injuries

Serious injury compensation claims

What should I do if I injure my back in a car accident:

  • If your injury is a wrenching type of injury, you must get plenty of rest so as not to aggravate the injury.
  • Apply heat or cold treatments
  • Take ibuprofen to ease the pain
  • Get some professional massage treatment
  • Immediately after the accident, if the pain is acute, try to stay still. Ask someone to call an ambulance. Paramedics carry equipment that will ensure they can move you into the ambulance without causing further injury to your back whilst you are being transported.
  • Be aware that if you feel no back pain immediately after a collision, this may be because you are suffering from shock. Sometimes back injuries don’t manifest themselves immediately after the accident because shock kicks in and masks the injury. Take it easy, and if you experience back pain some hours or even days after the accident, make sure you visit your GP immediately for further investigations.