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What Doctors Should I See For Back Pain & Neck Pain After A Car Accident?

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Neck and back pain are among the most common symptoms of crash-related injuries. These symptoms can impact your ability to work, perform regular tasks, and do the things you enjoy. To recover from neck and back pain after a car accident, you’ll need to get prompt medical attention.

While the medical bills and lost wages can pile up, you may be able to recover damages through a car accident claim. A Premier Attorney can guide you through the process and fight for fair compensation. To learn how, schedule a free consultation with a Premier Attorney in your area.

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There are various types of neck and back pain that can be caused by a car accident. The most common ones include:

  • Whiplash: This is a common soft tissue injury in car accidents, especially in rear-end collisions. It occurs due to rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. It often leads to pain, stiffness, headaches, and sometimes dizziness or blurred vision.
  • Muscle strain and ligament sprain: The sudden impact of a crash can cause the muscles and ligaments in the neck and back to stretch or tear. This can cause pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
  • Lower back pain: This typically results from forceful impact or sudden movements during a collision. It can include muscle strains, ligament sprains, or spinal injuries. The pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating. 
  • Herniated or bulging discs: The force of a crash can cause the discs between the vertebrae to bulge or herniate. This often leads to pain, numbness, or tingling, especially if the disc presses on a nerve.
  • Vertebral fractures: The impact of a collision can lead to fractures in the vertebrae, causing severe pain, limited mobility, and even nerve damage.
  • Facet joint injuries: Facet joints in the spine can be injured or dislocated in a crash, leading to localized pain.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when a vertebra slips out of place onto the bone below it. It can be caused or worsened by a car accident, leading to lower back pain and leg pain.
  • Soft tissue bruising and contusions: Direct impact can cause bruising and injury to the soft tissues in the neck and back, leading to pain and stiffness.

You should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain. Back pain and other injuries often take time to produce symptoms. When you see a doctor, they can identify a hidden injury and begin treating it, so it doesn’t get worse.

If you haven’t already gone to a doctor and you’re noticing some aches and pains, get medical attention immediately. Neck and back pain after a car accident can lead to further complications if left untreated.

Getting prompt medical attention not only addresses the injury early on, but it also helps you establish a clear link between your injury and the crash you were involved in.

Types of tests and procedures a doctor may recommend

When evaluating and treating neck and back pain after a car accident, doctors may recommend various tests and procedures. These depend on the specific symptoms, severity, and suspected underlying causes. 

Initially, a doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination. They will assess pain, mobility, reflexes, muscle strength, and nerve function. They will also look into your medical history, including previous injuries and health conditions.

Then, they’ll recommend tests and procedures such as:

  • X-ray: These are often the first imaging tests done to look for broken bones or an injured vertebra. X-rays can also show alignment of bones and signs of arthritis.
  • MRI: MRI provides detailed images of bone and soft tissues. That includes muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs.
  • CT Scan: A CT scan combines X-rays taken from many different angles to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the body. It can help diagnose bone problems and detect spinal canal narrowing.
  • EMG: This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. It's useful for detecting nerve or muscle damage.

What is the typical treatment for neck and back pain after a car accident?

Treatment for neck and back pain typically involves a combination of self-care, non-invasive therapies, and possible medical intervention. Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Rest and activity modification. 
  • Pain relief medication, either over-the-counter or prescribed.
  • Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area.
  • Physical therapy for improved mobility and pain relief.
  • Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, or chiropractic care.

Seeing a spine surgeon for neck and back pain is a significant decision that should be made carefully. That’s typically after other non-invasive treatments have failed to promote pain relief. Surgery is typically considered in the following situations:

  • Severe pain is unresponsive to non-surgical treatments.
  • If you’re experiencing neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • You’re experiencing structural problems such as a herniated disc, fractured spine, or spondylolisthesis.

How can an orthopedic neck and back specialist help me?

Seeing an orthopedic doctor for neck and back pain can be beneficial. An orthopedic specialist can diagnose a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you recover.

Should I see a pain management specialist?

If neck and back pain persists after a car accident, it may be a good idea to see a pain management specialist. They can provide a comprehensive pain assessment and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide tailored and comprehensive care.

Pain management specialists are also skilled in advanced pain management techniques, including nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation, and other interventional procedures.

Additionally, a pain management specialist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants to provide pain relief. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with chronic neck and back pain.

Should I go to a neurologist for neck and back pain?

Neurologists specialize in disorders of the nervous system. Seeing a neurologist can be crucial if you’re experiencing tingling, weakness, or loss of coordination in your arms or legs. They can identify nerve problems (e.g., herniated discs or spinal stenosis) and provide specialized treatment for neurological symptoms.

If you were not at fault for your car accident, the other driver’s insurance company would be responsible for paying for your medical treatment. However, getting compensated is far more complicated than it seems.

Insurance companies often use tactics to keep their costs down, even at the expense of injured motorists. That includes downplaying your neck and back injury or shifting the blame onto you. That’s why it’s best to let an experienced attorney investigate your car accident and negotiate with insurance companies for maximum compensation.

There’s also the possibility of being involved in a crash with an uninsured driver. If this happens, you’ll need to recover damages from your own insurance company through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

UM is mandatory in some states and optional in others. Even if it’s optional in your state, it’s best to add it to your policy. It can pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Other options include:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This pays for medical costs, wage loss, and property damage for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. PIP is typically required in no-fault states and optional in some other states.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay): This pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. MedPay is required in Maine and New Hampshire and optional in many other states.
  • Health insurance: If you don’t have any other coverage options, you could turn to your own health insurance policy. However, you may have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses, depending on your deductible.

If you sustained neck and back pain after a car accident, you could handle your case alone. But doing so is risky and could result in a lowball settlement or having your compensation denied. That’s why you need a skilled legal advocate in your corner who can fight for you every step of the way.

A Premier Attorney will gather the facts to build and support your case. They’ll also negotiate with insurance companies to maximize your compensation. They won’t settle for anything less than the compensation you’re entitled to. If a settlement can’t be reached, an attorney will take your case to trial.

Plus, hiring an attorney won’t cost you anything upfront. Our verified car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they only get paid if they win your case. If they can’t secure compensation on your behalf, then you owe nothing.

To get started on your neck and back injury claim, contact a Premier Attorney in your area and set up your free legal consultation.

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