Types of Lower Back Injuries That Can Occur in a Car Accident

Car accidents can take a serious toll on the body, and one of the most common areas to be injured is the lower back. The lower back’s spine, muscles, and ligaments are particularly vulnerable during an accident due to the amount of force they can absorb. And this is why lower back injuries are often severe.

There are several different types of injuries that can occur in a car accident affecting the lower back, including whiplash, herniated disks, sprains and strains, fractures, and even paralysis. Understanding these various types of lower back injuries is important for anyone in a car accident to recognize them and get appropriate medical care.

Our Greenville injury treatment center offers specialized treatment for car accident injuries.

Facet Joint Injuries

The facet joints in the lower back are small, bony structures that connect the vertebrae and allow for movement. A car accident can cause damage to these joints, resulting in pain and stiffness.

Facet joint injuries can occur when there is a sudden impact or twisting motion of the lower back during a car crash. Symptoms of facet joint injuries include localized pain, tenderness, and reduced range of motion.

Diagnosis of facet joint injuries typically involves physical examination, X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Treatment options may include rest, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or medication to alleviate inflammation and reduce pain.

Lumbar Sprains and Strains

Lumbar sprains and strains are common injuries that result from car accidents. A lumbar sprain occurs when the ligaments in the lower back stretch or tear, while a strain happens when there is damage to a muscle or tendon due to stretching or tearing.

Symptoms of these injuries include pain, stiffness, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected area. In severe cases, individuals may experience muscle spasms and limited mobility.

Treatment for lumbar sprains and strains often involves rest, ice therapy, and physical therapy exercises to improve flexibility and strength of the back muscles. Medication or even surgery may be necessary when the injury is more severe.

It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after being involved in an accident to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of any underlying injuries like lumbar sprains/strains. Early treatment can help prevent complications such as chronic pain, which could negatively impact your quality of life.

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs are a common injury in the lower back after a car accident. The discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers and allow for spine movement, but when they rupture or slip out of place, it can result in severe pain and discomfort.

The impact of a car accident can cause enough force to damage these discs, leading to herniation. Symptoms may include sharp pain that radiates down the leg, numbness or tingling sensations in the lower back or legs, and weakness in the affected area.

If you suspect you have a herniated disc from a car accident injury, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment options may include physical therapy exercises to strengthen surrounding muscles and reduce pressure on the spinal cord. Surgery may be necessary to repair or remove damaged discs in more severe cases.

It’s important to take proper precautions while driving and always wear your seatbelt to prevent injuries like herniated discs from occurring in case of an unfortunate event.

Man with a lower back injury from a car accident

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome is a condition that can occur in car accidents, causing discomfort and pain in the lower back. The piriformis muscle runs from the lower back to the hip, so when it becomes tight or inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort that radiates through the buttocks and legs.

The common causes of Piriformis Syndrome include direct trauma to the buttocks or hips and overuse injuries such as long-distance running or sitting for prolonged periods. Weak glutes (buttock muscles) and an anatomic variation where the sciatic nerve runs through the muscle instead of beneath it can contribute to developing this syndrome.

If left untreated, Piriformis Syndrome can lead to chronic pain and loss of function. That’s why seeking medical attention after a car accident is crucial if you are experiencing any lower back pain accompanied by tingling sensations in your legs.

Physical therapy exercises can stretch and strengthen muscular tissues, including piriformis muscles which help reduce inflammation and improve range-of-motion.

Depending on the severity, patients may need medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs. Healthcare professionals may recommend NSAIDs or give corticosteroid injections directly into the affected area.

Other treatment options include massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and acupuncture.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a common type of lower back injury that can occur after a car accident. This condition happens when the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back become damaged, leading to trigger points or knots in the muscle fibers.

These trigger points cause pain and discomfort in the affected area. The pain may be sharp or dull and may worsen with movement or pressure on the muscle.

One way to treat myofascial pain syndrome is through physical therapy, which involves stretching exercises and massage to help loosen tight muscles. Heat therapy can also be effective in reducing pain and inflammation.

In some cases, anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help manage symptoms. However, these medications should only be used under medical supervision due to potential side effects.


Sciatica is a common lower back injury that can occur after a car accident. The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body and runs from the lower back down to the legs, so it’s no surprise that damage to this nerve can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in these areas.

The impact of a car accident can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve, leading to symptoms such as shooting pain down one or both legs, difficulty standing up or sitting down due to discomfort, and even loss of control over bladder or bowel movements.

If you experience these symptoms after an accident, getting medical attention immediately is important. A healthcare professional may suggest physical therapy exercises for your recovery to help reduce inflammation around your nerves while promoting proper spine alignment.

Surgery might be required in severe cases where conservative treatments don’t work properly. However, most patients recover within 6-12 weeks with non-invasive treatment options like medications prescribed by their doctor and restorative care provided by physiotherapists.

Visit Our Greenville Injury Treatment Center to Receive Treatment for Lower Back Injuries

If you have experienced a lower back injury after a car accident, seeking prompt medical attention is imperative. At our injury treatment centers in South Carolina, we offer specialized treatment for various types of lower back injuries caused by car accidents.

Our team of experienced professionals provides personalized care and treatment plans tailored to meet your unique needs. From physical therapy to chiropractic adjustments, we employ effective techniques to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Don’t let a lower back injury from a car accident hold you back from living your life to the fullest. Visit our Greenville injury treatment center and take the first step toward recovery!

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