How Can a Minor Car Accident Cause a Back Injury in Los Angeles, CA

Many people don’t equate fender benders with significant spine-related pain because of the low speeds involved in impacts of this nature. Yet it’s still entirely possible to hurt your back and/or neck in a fender bender, even if you don’t initially notice any discomfort. Keep reading to learn more about low-impact back injuries and fender benders.

Low-Speed Impacts Can Overstress Your Spine

According to one estimate, more than 50 percent of all vehicle-related injuries happen at speeds between 6–12 miles per hour. If you happen to be involved in an accident at these speeds, you may have a false sense of safety, especially if everything seems fine. However, the impact itself can still be forceful enough to exert too much stress on spine-supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When this happens, inflammation develops, which is what ultimately contributes to pain if nearby nerves are irritated. Your spinal bones and joints can also become misaligned enough to contribute to lingering or worsening symptoms, which may even require spinal decompression treatment such as a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles residents who experience back pain after any type of vehicle accident should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Post-Accident Hormones Can Mask Back Pain

When a fender bender occurs, your body produces a flood of hormones, including adrenaline and endorphins, in response to the trauma. This hormone rush masks the pain signals being sent by nerves in and around your spine. Once these pain-numbing hormones wear off, you may notice:

  • Limb weakness or numbness
  • Lower back or neck pain
  • Stiffness in your back or neck
  • Muscle stiffness around your spine
  • Issues with mobility

It’s Important to Consider How Your Body Reacted

Experiencing little or no pain after a fender bender isn’t always reason enough to breathe a sigh of relief. One way to determine if it’s best to see your doctor or a spine specialist is to consider how your body reacted to the impact. For instance, if you remained fairly still and motionless during the impact, you may be just fine if symptoms aren’t present a day or two later.

But if your head, neck, and upper body were rapidly jolted from side to side or backward and forward, it’s best to err on the side of caution and get evaluated right away. The most common spine-related injury that results from sudden movements like these is whiplash, although structures in your upper and middle back may be affected as well.

Airbags and Seat Belts Can Hurt Your Spine

Even when activated during a low-speed fender bender, an airbag deploys at nearly 150 mph, which could produce enough added force to hurt your back or neck. The pressure from seat belts, which are meant to stop your body’s natural movements, can contribute to similar spine-related injuries.

If you’re noticing any unusual changes in your body’s behavior following a fender bender, it’s best to see what your doctor has to say. Taking action before disruptive symptoms set in also boosts your odds of responding well to treatment and avoiding long-term damage or chronic back/neck pain.

If you’ve injured your back in a car accident, it’s crucial to see a doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon for diagnosis as soon as possible. It could save you a lot of pain and stress in the long run. The back injury experts at The Spine Institute are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal injuries and every aspect of spinal health. If you need the advice of a premier spine specialist, call our friendly staff at 310-828-7757 and schedule a consultation today. 


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