What Are Common Back Injuries Following a Crash, and How Does a Car Accident Chiropractor Treat Them?

What Are Common Back Injuries Following a Crash, and How Does a Car Accident Chiropractor Treat Them

Screaming tires, crunching metal, and shattering glass—the sights and sounds of a car crash are traumatic enough on their own. But for many people, the aftermath can bring debilitating back pain that lingers long after external injuries have healed. As a Houston chiropractic team who specializes in treating patients injured in automobile accidents, we’ve seen first-hand how common back injuries can disrupt lives if not properly addressed. From whiplash and bulging discs to herniated discs and compressed nerves, this blog post will take a deeper look at some of the most frequent spinal complaints my car accident patients experience in the weeks and months following a collision. We'll also explain our multi-modal approach to rehabilitation, which combines chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and lifestyle guidance to alleviate pain and help people regain mobility so they can return to pre-injury activities.

Common Back Injuries Following a Car Crash

Being involved in an auto accident can be a traumatizing experience. Sometimes, the effects of the crash are not visible to the naked eye, and the victim may not feel the impact until much later. One of the most common and dangerous injuries after an automobile accident is a back injury. Back injuries can range from minor to severe, and they can lead to long-lasting consequences if left untreated. Here are some of the most common back injuries following an auto accident and how chiropractic care can help you heal.


Whiplash is an injury that predominantly impacts the neck and is caused when the head jerks back and forth with great force. This abrupt, whip-like motion can lead to strain or sprain in the neck's muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Symptoms of whiplash typically include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. In some cases, patients may also experience dizziness, a symptom indicative of the severity of the injury.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc refers to a scenario where one of the discs in the spinal column ruptures, or, in some instances, slips out of its proper place. The dislocation of the disc can exert undue pressure on the nearby nerves. This pressure may trigger a range of symptoms, most commonly pain and weakness. Depending on the location of the herniated disc in the spine, symptoms may manifest in the arms, legs, or back.

Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures are breaks or fractures in any of the bones that constitute the spine. Spinal fractures are particularly dangerous, given the critical role the spine plays in supporting the body and facilitating movement. The severity of spinal fractures varies, with some causing intense pain and others leading to paralysis. In extreme cases, spinal fractures can be fatal, underscoring the necessity of immediate medical attention.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Each Injury?

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive and drug-free approach to treating back injuries following an auto accident. The chiropractor will perform a thorough examination to determine the extent of your injuries and create a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs.

Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash

Our customized physical therapy sessions are aimed at promoting healing, restoring mobility, and strengthening the affected muscles and ligaments. Through targeted exercises, stretches, and manual therapy techniques, our skilled therapists will alleviate your pain and improve joint function. We may also incorporate modalities like heat or ice therapy to enhance your treatment experience.

Align and Restore with Chiropractic Care

Our experienced chiropractors utilize precise spinal adjustments and mobilization techniques to realign your spine, reduce inflammation, and improve joint functionality. With a focus on correcting posture, we relieve pressure on affected areas and restore proper nerve communication.

Options for Treating a Herniated Disc

If you're experiencing neck or lower back pain along with referred symptoms from a herniated disc, there are several ways to address it. Typically, within about six weeks, you should start to see improvements. During this time, you can try various nonsurgical treatments to aid the healing process and alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by the herniated disc. Some common nonsurgical options include:

  • Physical Therapy: Work with a physical therapist who can guide you through targeted exercises.
  • Chiropractic Care: Seek the expertise of a chiropractor to help alleviate symptoms and correct postural issues.
  • Postural Correction: Focus on maintaining proper alignment to reduce strain on the affected area.
  • Medications: Explore over-the-counter or prescription medications to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Injections: Discuss the option of targeted injections to provide temporary relief.
  • Traction: Consider traction therapy to help alleviate pressure on the affected disc.

If the pain and other symptoms persist beyond the six-week mark, and especially if they worsen or if weakness is present, seeking a surgical opinion may be a reasonable next step to alleviate the symptoms caused by the herniated disc.

Managing a Herniated Disc

Once your treatment plan is completed and your symptoms have resolved or become manageable, it is recommended to continue regular chiropractic treatment (typically one visit per month). This ongoing care helps counteract the degenerative effects on the spine by restoring normal joint movement, which can be affected by various stresses on the body, such as exercise, sports, stress, overuse, and gravity.

Treatment for Spinal Fractures

At The Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Center, we use a comprehensive and holistic approach to treat spinal fractures. This entails a thorough medical examination coupled with advanced imaging techniques to determine the severity and location of the fracture. From there, a personalized treatment plan is devised which may include pain management, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or in more severe cases, surgical intervention. The center prides itself on using a multidisciplinary approach for optimal recovery, ensuring that patients are actively involved in their care process, and making certain that they have the resources and knowledge necessary to reach their full recovery potential.

Manage Pain Effectively

We understand how crucial pain management is during the recovery process. Our pain management services include various approaches, such as medications, injections, and holistic alternatives like acupuncture. Our goal is to provide relief and support the healing process.

Recover and Rebuild with Rehabilitation Services

Our personalized rehabilitation programs are designed to help you regain strength and functionality. With progressive exercise programs, we guide you through each stage of recovery and ensure a safe return to your regular activities. Our strategies are centered around restoring your independence and helping you confidently resume your daily routines.

Why Getting Chiropractic Care Immediately After an Auto Accident is Vital

The effects of an injury sustained in a car accident are not always immediately visible. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can cause serious and long-lasting complications that could have been avoided with prompt intervention. Getting chiropractic care soon after an auto accident not only ensures that any injuries are diagnosed and treated promptly, but also helps to prevent future pain and immobility.

Chiropractic care is an excellent way to treat the root cause of your problems rather than merely masking the symptoms with medication. This helps to ensure complete healing and prevents chronic problems from developing. At Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, we understand that each person's injuries and needs are unique. We use a customized, non-invasive approach to bring relief and healing to our patients. Don't delay, book an appointment today in The Woodlands or Houston by calling us at 281-771-0282 and let us help you get on the path to a full recovery.

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