In normal cirumstances, if back or neck pain started on its own, it is not necessary to see a doctor, because pain usually goes away with or without treatment. However, a trip to the Pain Management Doctor is probably a good idea if you have pain after a fall or injury like a car accident.

First of all its unfortunate that you got involved in a Car Accident which has lead to musculoskeletal injury and pain. When you go through a traumatic experience like an auto accident, you may struggle to figure out what to do next. But no matter how severe or minor a car accident is, you should always make sure to get evaluated and get medical attention by a Medical Doctor as early as possible.

Usually, your Primary Care Physician does not treat car accident injury, so you go online or call your friends and start looking back injury doctor near me and find multiple different providers or get recommended to spine specialists and pain doctors. Below is the answer who you should actually see.

First of all its unfortunate that you got involved in a Car Accident which has lead to musculoskeletal injury and pain. When you go through a traumatic experience like an auto accident, you may struggle to figure out what to do next. No matter how severe or minor a car accident is, you should always make sure to get evaluated and get medical attention by a Medical Doctor as early as possible. After an accident, many people feel fine at first and do not get a medical evaluation. Even if you feel no pain, it’s still important to get a medical evaluation within 72 hours of the crash. Many back injuries take time to appear and the patient notices some pain a few days after the accident.

Usually, your Primary Care Physician does not treat car accident injury, so you go online or call your friends and start looking back injury doctor near me and find multiple different spine specialists and pain doctors.

Best pain management doctor who can provide medical care and at the same time document your injuries accurately will be Musculoskeletal Injury or Interventional Pain Physiatrist-Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctors, who are trained to treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons [1].

It is important to see Pain Doctor or Musculoskeletal Injury Spine Specialists to identify any hidden health concerns or injuries that you may not be able to detect without a proper medical assessment. At this point, we also want to mention that someone in a catastrophic accident and who has suffered a serious life-threatening injury such as multiple bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, brain damage should be taken to Higher level Trauma Center.

In our Center of Pain Management, you should inform the spine specialist and pain doctor that how you were involved in a car crash. Explaining the mechanism of injury and back problems in detail helps your pain and injury specialist in determining nature of the injury, the extent of injury, diagnosis and customized treatment plan. Doctors may order Basic X-rays, start you on Medications like anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant.

Musculoskeletal Injury Pain Specialist strongly believes that Physical Therapy or Chiropractic treatment will help the patient significantly if started at the right time so you will be ordered therapy.

Your Spine Specialist at Houston Spine and Joint Pain Consultants will act like a Primary Care Physician and coordinate continuity of care. MRI scans, CT scans, nerve studies, or other diagnostic tests are ordered at the medically appropriate time and are done for further evaluation and management and plan Interventional treatment as needed.

Back injuries are one of the most common injuries in a car crash. Lower or Mid back pain can be due to strained or pulled muscles, ligaments, spine facet joint capsules, ruptured discs, or a deeper spinal cord injury. Usually, people think of a spine injury as a serious injury that leaves patients paralyzed. The truth is that back injuries can be severe without being completely debilitating or paralyzed.

Back pain can last months, years, or even a lifetime. Spine Sprain/Strain, Facet Joint Capsule injury, Herniated disks, and damaged nerves can cause long-term pain and may only heal with appropriate treatment. The most common source of motor vehicle collision-induced chronic low back pain appears to be the disc followed by the sacroiliac and facet joints[2].

Common injuries in Lumbar or Cervical regions

1. Muscle strain: A car accident can put a lot of force on your body. Even a low-speed impact can exert a tremendous amount of force on your muscles, disc, 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 by tightening muscles 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.

2. Whiplash: One of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents is whiplash. Unfortunately, whiplash can cause problems days or even weeks after an accident. Basically, whiplash occurs when the neck is forced forward then quickly and suddenly snapped back into its original place. The flexing of the neck beyond its normal range of motion can cause muscle strain, injury to neck muscles, facet joint capsule, spinal discs, headaches, and other back and neck problems. Other complaints along with neck pain can be headaches and even tinnitus.

3. Lumbar facet joint syndrome: This should be considered if the patient describes nonspecific low back pain with a deep and achy quality that is usually localized to a unilateral or bilateral paravertebral area. Some other features that assist in diagnosing are limited range of motion, normal gait, maximal pain with extension from a fully flexed position in low back, leg pain usually absent but if present then not extending beyond the knee, absence of tingling or numbness in the legs, with no symptoms of neurogenic bowel and bladder.

4. Cervical facet joint syndrome: This typically present with complaints of neck pain, headaches, and limited range of motion (ROM). The pain is described as a dull, aching discomfort in the posterior neck that sometimes radiates to the shoulder or mid back regions. Patients may also report a history of a previous whiplash injury to the neck. Whiplash can generate neck and spinal injuries that, if left untreated, can cause a lifetime of problems.

5. Injury can also cause herniated or ruptured disc: A herniated disc refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the vertebrae that stack up to make your spine. A spinal disc is a like a jelly donut, with a softer center ( nucleus pulposus-white) encased within a tougher outer layer ( annulus fibrosis- light blue ), and when the white jelly comes out of the tough blue exterior, the condition is known as Herniated disc. The tremendous force from a car accident can rupture annulus fibrosus and lead to disc herniations and hence symptoms.
A herniated disc can cause lower back pain with or without shooting pain down the legs. When they press on nerve roots, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. This is routinely called sciatica. Radiculopathy in roots L1-L3 refers pain to the anterior aspect of the thigh and typically does not radiate below the knee, but these levels are affected in only 5% of all disc herniations. Treatment such as physical therapy and pain medication can help manage the symptoms.

In some cases, Interventional Pain Procedures like Epidural Steroid injections may be needed to help in pain relief and give time to repair the disc and relieve pressure on the pinched nerve.

6. Spondylolisthesis or Vertebral Fracture: When your body is subjected to the forces of a car accident, spinal vertebrae may fracture or be forced/slipped 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, interventional procedures, and even Surgery.

Sources

  • https://www.aapmr.org/about-physiatry/about-physical-medicine-rehabilitation/what-is-physiatry
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21958329/