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Auto Accident and Low Back Pain

During any given auto accident is possible to injure any area of your spine. The neck just happens to be the most common. The most common Auto Accident is a rear-end collision, where a stopped vehicle is slammed into from behind by a moving vehicle. Such accidents commonly injure the neck in what is known as “Whiplash.” However, the lower back can also be injured during these kinds of collisions. 

The Lumbar spine is more stabilized in auto accidents than the cervical spine. The head is free to rotate, flex and extend while the lower back is held against the seat. Most of the damage to the lumbar spine during a rear-end auto accident is due to the fact that the pelvis is held fairly immobile by the lap belt portion of the seat belt. Conversely the torso or middle back area is freer and is allowed some degree of movement. Older vehicles had only lap belts in them which allowed for even a bigger difference in movement between the torso and lower back. The shoulder harness helps quite of bit. 

The injury to the Lumbar spine in a rear-end collision is very similar to that of the neck or cervical spine. It’s a hyperextension injury. A softer seatback can allow for more hyperextension than a firm one.

The prevalence of low back pain after a whiplash injury is reported as between 42% and 60%.

Joseph Medlin D.C.


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