Back Injuries

Common Back Injuries in a Car Accident

Most people feel sore after a car accident. The forces placed on the body can instantly sprain, pull, or fracture various body parts. When a vehicle collides with another object, your body moves forward and backward or side to side until something stops it. For example, a seatbelt prevents continuous motion but can injure the chest and shoulder.

A back injury is one of the most common injuries in car crashes. The impact of a collision can jolt your body in your seat and affect your spinal cord, neck, and back. Since the back comprises multiple muscles, nerves, tissue, and bones, various injuries can occur.

Below are the most common types of back injuries in car accidents.

Fractured Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae

Damage to one or more vertebrae can cause a spinal fracture. A broken back refers to an injury to any of the bones protecting the spinal cord. Multiple types of back fractures include:

  • Compression fracture – A compression fracture occurs when too much pressure causes small breaks or cracks in the bones.
  • Burst fracture – A burst fracture involves multiple crushed parts of the vertebrae or scattered bone fragments.
  • Fracture-dislocation – A fracture-dislocation combines a compression fracture and dislocated vertebrae.
  • Flexion fracture – A flexion fracture is a fracture of the posterior or middle vertebral column from compression and bending.

Strained or Sprained Back

A back strain results from pulled, torn, or twisted tendons and muscles. A sprain occurs when a ligament tears or stretches or a joint moves from its normal position. Sprains can be a result of a blow to the body. Both types of back injuries cause debilitating symptoms, such as:

  • Reduced function and range of motion
  • Pain that worsens while moving
  • Muscle spasms or cramps

Herniated Disc

Rubbery cushions, called spinal discs, sit between each pair of vertebrae in the spine. A herniated disc occurs when the center part of a disc pushes through a tear in the exterior part.

A herniated disc is also called a bulged, ruptured, or slipped disc. It can happen in any area of the spine but most commonly occurs in the lower back. Symptoms can include pain, weakness in the leg or arm, and numbness.


Spondylolisthesis is a painful spinal condition involving a vertebra slipping out of place onto a vertebra below. It can cause lower back or leg pain from pressure on a nearby nerve. Walking or standing for long periods can be challenging with this type of injury. It might also cause muscle spasms, back stiffness, and pain when bending over.

Facet Joint Injuries

Facet joints connect each vertebra in the spine. They allow twisting and bending in different directions without damaging the spine. Damage to the facet joints causes a facet joint injury. The injury can also affect a nearby nerve root. Symptoms depend on the affected part of the spine but can include:

  • Diminished or lack of range of motion
  • Neck pain radiating to the shoulder or lower back pain radiating to the buttocks and thighs
  • Joint stiffness
  • Trouble standing or walking
  • Headaches from a facet joint injury in the neck

Degenerative Spinal Disorders

A traumatic back injury can lead to a degenerative spinal disorder. It doesn’t happen immediately after an accident. However, the condition can develop gradually, affecting the normal structure and function of the spine.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us Now

At Deering Hedrick, our legal team fights for the rights of accident victims in Virginia Beach, VA. We have represented injured clients for over a decade and helped hold negligent parties liable for car crashes.

If you sustained a back injury in a car accident someone else caused, do not hesitate to call us at 757-383-6848 or contact us online for your free consultation to learn more about how we can help.

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