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Types of Back Injuries After a Car Accident

Man with back pain

Car crashes can lead to all kinds of injuries. Some of the most painful, debilitating, and dangerous injuries can result from damage to the neck or spine. Below we discuss the most common back injuries suffered by car accident victims. If you have been in a traffic accident in Lancaster, see a medical professional as soon as you can, and reach out to an experienced Southern California traffic accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you are owed.

Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are soft tissue injuries, often resulting from over-stretching or twisting of the soft tissue in the back. Strains affect the tendons in the back, which connect muscles to bone. Sprains affect the ligaments, which connect the bones to the joints or the bones to other bones. When the soft tissue of the back is overstretched or torn, the victim can experience chronic pain, especially in the lower back, as well as muscle tightness and muscle spasms. Soft tissue injuries can lead to mobility limitations for months following a crash.


Whiplash is one of the most common injuries to occur in a car accident, especially in rear-end collisions. Whiplash occurs when a collision causes the torso to be pushed forward while the head whips in the opposite direction before swinging forward, leading to hyperextension and hyperflexion. Because of the whipping motion, the head travels at a high rate of speed even when the vehicles involved were moving at lower speeds. As a result, whiplash is extremely common even in low-speed “fender-benders.”

The sudden whipping motion causes damage and tearing to the nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and discs in the cervical spine. Whiplash is connected to soft tissue damage and can lead to a number of severe spinal cord conditions. Whiplash is characterized by pain in the neck, upper back, and lower back, as well as numbness, tingling, and other symptoms that may last for weeks or months after an accident.

Disc Damage

Discs are the tissue that sits between the vertebrae, providing cushion and support. Car crashes and other traumatic incidents can lead to displacement, rupture, tearing, or bulging of the discs. A protruding disc can rub against the nerves and otherwise lead to chronic pain, inflammation, numbness, and mobility limitations.

Fractured Spine

The spine is made of several bones called vertebrae. When those bones are cracked, fractured or broken, an accident victim can suffer severe side effects and consequences. Broken vertebrae may need to be treated with surgery or a prosthetic for any hope of full recovery, and it may leave the victim permanently injured.


Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one of the spinal vertebrae slips out of position. The improper movement may be caused by a stress fracture in a car crash. Spondylolisthesis most commonly affects the lower back, but it can also occur in the upper back or at the base of the neck. Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include lower back pain, especially when active or standing, as well as pain and numbness from the lower back through the legs, back stiffness and tenderness, and spinal curvature.

If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a car accident in Southern California, talk to an experienced and professional Lancaster traffic accident attorney about pursuing a claim for damages. Call the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.

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