Common car accident spinal injuries | AllSpine Surgery Centers

Most Common Spinal Injuries Associated With Car Accidents

People involved in motor vehicle accidents may suffer from various injuries ranging from scratches and bruises to broken bones and serious brain injuries. The force of impact in a car accident can also cause a lot of damage to the spine, including injuries like whiplash or herniated discs. In fact, one of the leading causes of spinal injuries are auto accidents, which account for nearly 40 percent of all spinal injury cases.

While there are several safety precautions you can take to avoid serious injuries, like wearing a seatbelt or adhering to the speed limit, car accidents are sometimes inevitable. Even the most defensive drivers cannot control the actions of other motorists on the road.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, pay special attention to any pain or discomfort in your back or neck and seek medical attention. If left untreated, even mild neck or spine injuries may lead to serious complications and the need for surgical intervention.


When people get rear ended in car accidents, a common injury they may suffer is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid and forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. Many people believe whiplash can only occur from high-speed car accidents, but this isn’t always the case. Whiplash injuries can be suffered even during a low-speed collision.

Whiplash Symptoms

You may not feel your symptoms right away. In fact, it may take hours or even days for whiplash symptoms to emerge. If you do eventually experience signs of whiplash, they will manifest as neck pain and stiffness, recurring headaches, pain in the shoulders, arms or upper back and fatigue.

Whiplash Treatment

Whiplash typically goes away on its own within days or weeks after an accident. Your doctor will likely recommend that you rest and take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the pain. You can also treat your symptoms by applying heat or ice to your neck. If your whiplash becomes severe or chronic, your doctor may prescribe more advanced treatments, like prescription medication, pain injections or physical therapy.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc from a car accident happens when the impact from a crash causes your vertebrae to push into the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord.

The injury can occur in any part of your spine, including the neck, the mid-back and the lower back. If left untreated, herniated discs can lead to life-altering complications, like chronic pain and disability.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

The most prevalent symptoms of a herniated disc are pain and stiffness occurring in the affected area. The pain is typically sharp and persistent and may radiate to other parts of the body. For instance, if the herniated disc is affecting your lower back, the pain may radiate from the lower back down to your buttocks, thighs and even all the way down to your toes.

Herniated Disc Treatment

Your doctor may recommend non-invasive treatments, like pain medication, injections and physical therapy. However, severe cases may require surgical intervention.

There are different surgical options for fixing herniated discs, including fusion surgery and artificial disc replacement. You can lean more by speaking with a Georgia spinal surgery specialist at AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center.

Spinal Fracture

Spinal fractures cause the spinal vertebrae to shatter into small pieces, which results in damage to the spinal nerves. The injury typically results from a car accident but may also be due to sports injuries and falls.

Spinal Fracture Symptoms

Symptoms of a spinal fracture usually include mild to severe back pain and difficulty standing straight and walking. In severe cases, patients may even experience paralysis of the arms or legs.

Spinal Fracture Treatment

Treatment of a spinal fracture depends on the type of fracture and the severity of damage to your spinal cord. While some patients may benefit from non-invasive treatments, such as pain management and plenty of rest, long-term recovery may necessitate surgery.


Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebrae in the lower back slips and lands on the bone right beneath it. While sports and auto accident injuries are common causes of spondylolisthesis, the condition may also result from a rapid growth spurt in children during adolescent years.

Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

Some people won’t experience any symptoms. However, signs of spondylolisthesis typically include chronic low back pain, which may radiate to the buttocks and thighs, as well as stiffness in the lower back and legs.

Spondylolisthesis Treatment

People with mild cases of spondylolisthesis may benefit from non-surgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication, wearing a back brace, physical therapy or epidural injections. However, if your condition is severe, you may have to undergo spinal fusion surgery.

Explore a Plethora of Back Injury Treatment Options in Georgia

At AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center, we are committed to treating back pain and spinal conditions. Our dedicated spine surgeons specialize in a variety of non-invasive and surgical auto accident injury treatment options, including minimally invasive laser spine surgery.

For more information or to make an appointment in Stockbridge, Newnan or Decatur, call (770) 997-0600.

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