Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries in the United States. On average, people in the U.S. spend more than one million days in the hospital each year as a result of car crashes. These injuries range in severity, but can often take several months to fully heal. Some cases can result in chronic pain for years to come. If you’re suffering, there are options for pain management that can get you back to your daily activities. At Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants, we help you heal after a traumatic injury so you can get back to your life. Here’s what you should know.
What are the most common motor vehicle accident injuries?
Car crashes can result in a variety of different injuries. Broken bones, severe wounds, and muscle pain or tension are all possibilities after an accident. Here are some of the most common issues.
Whiplash typically takes place during crashes involving a rear-end collision. It occurs when your head is forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward, like the cracking of a whip. This can result in injury to both your neck and spine, and cause subsequent pain in the upper back and shoulders.
Other symptoms associated with whiplash may include:
- Tightness in the neck
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased range of motion
- Arm pain and weakness
2. Headaches and head injury
As previously mentioned, headaches after a car crash are usually a side effect of whiplash and other injuries. However, an ongoing headache can also be the result of a head injury. If you hit your head during a car crash or were struck by debris, you should be tested thoroughly to rule out a concussion or injury to the brain.
If these serious issues have been ruled out, you are probably suffering from headaches associated with trauma in your neck, shoulders, and back. This type pain will typically subside quickly, but it may still be necessary to find treatment in the meantime. If it becomes chronic (that is, lasting three months or more), you may also need treatment.
3. Back injuries
Back pain after a car accident can arise for a variety of reasons. In most cases, the force of a collision can result in a lower back or mid-back sprain. However, spinal fractures, disc injuries, and facet joint injuries are also possible if the impact of an accident is strong enough.
While your lower back and neck are most susceptible to injury in a car accident, any area of your spine can feel the effect. This is because a seatbelt holds your body towards the seat during an abrupt stop, while your spine and organs continue to move. It may all happen in a split second, but can cause serious internal damage or trauma.
What to do after a motor vehicle accident
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away, regardless of how you currently feel. You should be seen as soon as possible for a thorough check-up, as well as a variety of tests. For some patients, the onset of pain is immediate. Others don’t feel the effects of a car accident for a few days, or even weeks.
A diagnosis will be the first step in getting the treatment you need. If you’re suffering from severe or chronic pain, this diagnosis will help our team of pain specialists develop a comprehensive plan to help you find relief.
How can Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants help me?
At Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants, we know every case is unique. That’s why we take a personal approach to your care, doing everything we can to find the cause of your pain before developing a treatment plan.
Our doctors will first complete a thorough review of your medical records, family history, and symptoms. Imaging tests are typically the next step, especially in the case of injuries resulting from car accidents. Through procedures like X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we can get a closer look at your injuries.
From there, we develop a treatment approach that combines complementary therapies with more advanced interventional procedures, when warranted.
The overall effects of your everyday routine on your symptoms should not be underestimated. That’s why our team aims to provide complementary care that is used in conjunction with more interventional treatments.
Home interventions may include:
- Monitoring your sleeping patterns
- Changing your eating habits
- Adding safe, low-impact exercise into your routine
All of these can have a significant impact on your long-term pain management. In addition, physical therapy and chiropractic care can help you treat the underlying cause of your pain.
When necessary, back and neck braces are another aspect of complementary care that can improve improve your range of motion and allow you to continue moving. Plus, they prevent sprains from worsening by providing support as your muscles and soft tissue heal.
Interventional pain management
If you’re recovering from car accident injuries, you typically need more advanced pain management procedures in addition to complementary care. Our team at Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants is proud to offer a variety of interventional pain management procedures for our patients.
Epidural steroid injections can help manage pain from back and neck injuries sustained in a car accident. These injections include a steroid medication and, at times, an anesthetic to reduce pain and inflammation. This is a simple procedure with a short recovery period.
When epidural steroid injections don’t work, a medial branch block can diagnose and target the damaged nerves in the back and neck. For spinal issues, vertebroplasty is another procedure that involves injecting cement into damaged vertebrae. This helps to restore the length of the spine and straighten any abnormal spinal curvature.
Our team will take particular care in examining your injuries to determine the best course of action for your recovery. We believe in working through minimally invasive procedures in order to avoid the long recoveries associated with surgery.
If you’re experiencing pain after a car accident injury, the team at Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants can help.
We welcome patients from across the Houston area, including Midtown, Katy, Cypress, Spring, Sugarland, and more. Our team will work closely with you to find a pain management approach that relieves your pain and allows you to get back to your life.
Call us today for information about our comprehensive pain management treatments.