Neck and back pain resulting from an auto accident most commonly occurs when soft tissue, bones, and the head are subjected to harmful blunt forces. These types of injuries are also one of the leading causes of chronic pain. In a study published by Science Direct, 45% of people involved in a vehicle accident reported pain two years after the crash. Therefore, pain management after a car accident is an integral part of recovery.
Car Accident Pain Management
After a car accident, most pain and injuries are evident. However, pain may not occur until sometime after the accident. Legal professionals advise that, depending on the injury, delayed pain may not occur until hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. It is always wise to visit a medical professional immediately following a car accident, regardless of whether there is any visible injury.
According to Florida law, anyone injured in an auto accident is eligible for personal injury protection (PIP) to help cover the costs of injury-related expenses from a car accident. However, to qualify for these benefits, the accident victim must be treated within 14 days in compliance with the law. If this is not done, PIP benefits are not available to the victim, even if symptoms appear later.
Typical Injuries Requiring Car Accident Pain Management
The excessive forces of a car accident can place strain and pressure on the human body that, results in a number of injuries, such as:
According to Forbes, neck, spinal cord, and back injuries are the most common injuries that require pain management following vehicle accidents. Perhaps the most common neck injury from a car accident is whiplash, sometimes referred to as a “neck sprain” or “neck strain.” More severe neck injuries include cervical dislocation and disc injury.
Damage to the spinal cord can occur when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear the spinal cord. The bruising and tearing of the spinal cord can destroy portions of nerves that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body, resulting in the loss of feeling and possibly function in the arms, legs, or other parts of the body.
Injuries to the back can range from strains and sprains to herniated discs and fractured vertebrae. However, the most common back injuries in car accidents involve the lower back.
Car Accident Pain Management Options
The pain resulting from a car accident can persist for years after the accident, especially if the injury leads to pain or discomfort in other parts of the body.
If you are in a vehicle accident, always seek medical attention. Here are some of the common treatment options you can expect for pain associated with a motor vehicle injury.
Ice. Applying ice to the affected area can often help reduce swelling and pain in a muscle, ligament, or tendon.
Neck or Back Brace. Often a neck or back brace can be a temporary pain management option. However, restoring normal movement to the muscle is important to heal correctly.
Medication. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and painkillers can help alleviate the pain and swelling.
Chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments to bring the body’s musculoskeletal structure into alignment.
Physical therapy. Damage from a car accident can cause a limited range of motion to nerves and muscles, resulting in pain. Physical therapy encourages the healing and strengthening of injured areas.
Massage therapy. Soft tissue damage results from the force exerted on the body during a car accident. Damaged muscles can tighten or heal incorrectly, causing additional pain. Massage therapy can help relieve muscle pain by increasing blood circulation to the injured tissue.
Epidural steroid injections. An epidural steroid injection can help alleviate pain and improve recovery by treating inflammation.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA heats a small area of nerve tissue with an electrical current from a radio wave. This procedure helps reduce the pain signals that form in the area of the injury.
Medial branch blocks and facet joint injections. These two procedures involve injecting medications into the spine’s joints (facet joints that allow the back to flex, bend, and twist) to block pain signals to the brain.
Some alternative therapies that can help with car accident pain management are:
Acupuncture.The Chinese art of pricking the skin or tissues with very fine needles.
Biofeedback. This relaxation technique helps provide coping strategies, allowing patients to be in more control of their pain symptoms.
Car Accident Pain Management in Lakeland, Florida
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is vital to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Proper medical care will help minimize tissue damage that inflammation may cause. Early intervention by a qualified medical professional can ensure the proper treatment of injured bones, joints, and soft tissue.
After receiving initial medical treatment, it is essential to remain aware of your pain and the pain symptoms. If the pain does not subside or worsens, you should return to your doctor. This is especially important if you have any of these conditions:
There is new or worsening pain in the abdomen.
Nausea and vomiting do not subside.
A severe headache remains.
A general weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.
There is new or worsening pain anywhere that makes movement difficult.