What to Do If You Have Back Pain After a Car Crash

Man suffering neck pain from accident.

If you have back pain or a stiff neck after a car accident, you should not ignore it and assume the pain will go away. Make an appointment with a doctor and receive a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Inform the doctor that you were in a car crash. The doctor will evaluate your condition and let you know if your injury requires specialized treatment. Back pain can be due to pulled muscles or ligaments, ruptured discs, or a deeper spinal injury. After an accident, you should not just live with back pain. You should get the evaluation and treatment you need to make sure you are pain-free.

When people think of a spine injury, they think of a serious injury that leaves victims paralyzed. The truth is that back injuries can be severe without being completely debilitating. Herniated disks and damaged nerves can cause long-term pain and may only heal with appropriate treatment. Whiplash can generate neck and spinal injuries that, if left untreated, can cause a lifetime of problems.

Back injuries are one of the most common injuries in a car crash. If you have back pain after a car accident, seek prompt medical attention and then make a point to understand your legal options. You may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills.

How Long Do You Have to Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident?

Our lawyers handle cases of car accident in a work vehicle. many people do not get a medical evaluation. They think they feel fine at first, but then notice some pain a few days after the accident. They don’t understand how back injuries can lurk in the background. Many back injuries take time to appear. It may be a day or more before back pain flares up. Don’t assume that pain a day or two after an accident is unrelated to the crash. If you were involved in a car accident, the chances are that the tremendous force of the crash has caused problems. Even if you feel no pain, it’s still important to get an evaluation.

If you have been involved in an accident, make sure you get a medical evaluation within 72 hours of the crash. This will allow medical professionals to examine your health and it will provide medical documentation for a back injury claim. The examination will help doctors and other medical professionals track any future pain that may develop.

Doctors may order MRI scans, CT scans, x-rays, nerve studies, or other diagnostic tests. It’s important to get these tests done because they may reveal damaged areas in your back. The sooner you are evaluated, the sooner you can start treatment. The medical diagnosis of your back injury will provide a foundation for your car accident claim. Protect your health and your claim after an accident: get an examination as soon as you can.

How Long Does Back Pain Last After a Rear-End Collision?

Back pain can last months, years, or even a lifetime. It depends on the type of injury and its severity. It also depends on factors such as the victim’s age, health, and position in the accident. While no set formula can tell you how long your pain will last, there are common types of back injuries that rear-end collisions produce. These common injuries may include:

  • Muscle strain. A car accident can put a lot of force on your body. Even a low-speed impact can exert a massive amount of force on your back and spine. When you feel yourself being thrown by an accident, your body will react before you have time to think. It will try to protect itself and keep itself in place by tightening muscles. The trouble is that these muscles can be strained or torn by resisting the force of the impact. The results can be acute back pain that can last from days to weeks.
  • Whiplash. Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end accidents. Whiplash happens when the head snaps backward, then forward after an impact. The flexing of the neck beyond its normal range of motion can cause muscle strain, injury to spinal discs, headaches, and other back and neck problems. For most people, the symptoms of whiplash last six to eight weeks, but for others the pain can last years.
  • Herniated discs. When a disc bulges, or ruptures, it can pinch nerves and interfere with the normal movement of your spine. Treatment such as physical therapy and pain medication can help manage the symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the disc and relieve pressure on the pinched nerve.
  • Shifted and fractured spinal vertebrae. When your body is subjected to the forces of a car accident, spinal vertebrae may fracture or be forced out of their natural position. The condition is known as spondylolisthesis. The shifted vertebra may cause pain, numbness, weakness or difficulty walking. Recovery from these types of injuries may require specialized treatment or therapy and pain can last from a couple of months to years.

Denver and Beyond: We Can Handle Your Claim

MeetingAt The Sawaya Law Firm, we know how disruptive car accident injuries can be. Car accidents can lead to back injuries and pain that can affect the ability to work and to enjoy life. You should not have to live with chronic pain from a car accident. Get the medical attention you need, then get legal assistance to help you pursue compensation from the driver responsible for your injuries.

Our lawyers at The Sawaya Law Firm have handled back injury claims in Denver and throughout Colorado and are committed to seeking just compensation for each client. We will investigate your accident and work with you to develop your back injury claim. If you’ve suffered a spine injury or are experiencing back pain after a car accident, we’ll fight to set things right for you. Contact us for a free consultation.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.