Neck and Back Pain After Car Accident Trauma

Around 869,000 people experience spinal injuries in car accidents each year in the United States. Being rear-ended or involved in any kind of collision can leave you feeling shaken, sore, and maybe a little confused. While the term “whiplash” gets thrown around a lot, neck and back pain after a car accident can manifest in a variety of ways.

And the recovery process can be complex. If you do not feel pain right away, does that mean you do not have an injury? No!!  Below is a discussion of how these car accident injuries may manifest beyond pain.

Why Don’t You Immediately Feel Pain After Car Accident Injuries?

After a car accident, your body is flooded with adrenaline and endorphins. These chemicals can mask the pain temporarily.

The shock of the situation can also distract you from any potential injuries. Additionally, inflammation and swelling may take time to develop in response to the impact’s soft tissue damage.

The body’s natural defense mechanisms may kick in initially to protect you from feeling immediate pain. It is like your body first puts on a brave face, only for the discomfort to surface later on. Plus, some injuries, such as whiplash or muscle sprains, may not manifest symptoms right away but gradually worsen over time.

Everyone’s body responds differently to trauma. What might cause immediate pain for one person could take longer to show up in another individual. So, it is crucial not to dismiss any post-accident discomfort and seek medical attention promptly if needed.

How Long Can It Take to Feel Neck and Back Pain After a Car Accident?

There is no set timeline for when the symptoms may appear. It can happen immediately or even days or weeks after your accident. It is crucial to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience any discomfort or pain following an accident.

Keep in mind that early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in your recovery process.

Stay well-informed about the potential signs of neck and back injuries after an accident. This could be critical for your overall well-being in the long run. Your health matters, so never hesitate to reach out for professional help if needed.

Should You Seek Medical Treatment if You Do Not Feel Pain?

One of the most common mistakes people make after an accident is not seeking treatment. Some injuries may take time to manifest symptoms, so seeking medical treatment as a precautionary measure is highly recommended. By getting evaluated by a healthcare professional promptly, you can ensure any underlying issues are identified and treated early on.

This can also help prevent potential complications down the road. Your health should always come first, so do not hesitate to seek medical attention following an accident, regardless of whether or not you initially feel pain.

Common Neck and Back Injuries from Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in various neck and back injuries. Proper treatment and recovery depend on promptly identifying these injuries.

Slipped or Herniated Disc

Slipped or herniated discs can occur after a car accident, leading to pain and discomfort. The impact from the collision can cause the disc to move out of place, pressing on nerves.

These back injuries can cause symptoms like sharp pain, numbness, or weakness in the back or neck. It is essential to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Whiplash occurs when the head jerks forward and backward suddenly, straining the neck muscles and ligaments. Whiplash symptoms may include the following:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems

If you experience these symptoms after an accident, seek medical attention promptly.

Neck Sprain or Strain

Neck sprains or strains occur when the neck muscles or ligaments are stretched or torn due to sudden impact. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve from a car accident can cause shooting pain, tingling, or numbness. This condition occurs when surrounding tissues put pressure on a nerve. It is crucial to seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms after an accident to prevent further complications and ensure proper treatment.

Neck Fracture or Compression

In some cases, car accidents can result in serious back and neck injuries like fractures or compression. These injuries may not always show immediate symptoms but can lead to severe pain and long-term complications if left untreated. It is crucial to seek medical attention if you suspect such an injury post-accident.

Symptoms That Could Indicate a Neck or Back Injury

Experiencing pain, stiffness, or restricted movement after a car accident? Do not ignore these symptoms! They could indicate a serious underlying issue that needs medical attention.

Do not ignore any discomfort or changes in your body following trauma. Your health should always be a top priority. Stay safe and take care of yourself!


Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you are experiencing any new or worsening pain, it could indicate an injury.

Neck and back pain can be debilitating after a car accident. Pain may start as a dull ache and intensify over time. The pain can be sharp or throbbing, making it difficult to carry out daily activities without discomfort.


Stiffness in the neck or back can be a sign of an underlying injury that needs attention. Even if you do not feel immediate pain after a car accident, symptoms like stiffness can develop over time.

Restricted Movement

Restricted movement is a key indicator that something may be wrong with your neck or back after a car accident. If you experience difficulty moving your head or body, seek medical attention promptly. Ignoring restricted movement could lead to further complications and prolonged pain.


Numbness is a sensation of loss of feeling or sensation in a particular part of the body. It can manifest as a tingling, prickling, or “pins and needles” feeling, or it may feel like a lack of sensation altogether.

Some people describe it as a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the affected area. Numbness can also be accompanied by weakness or difficulty moving the affected body part.

Numbness in the neck or back after a car accident can be a sign of nerve damage or compression. This symptom should never be ignored, as it could indicate a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.


There is no definitive way to determine if a headache is the result of an accident, as headaches can have various causes. However, if you experience headaches after a car accident and did not have them before, it could be a sign of an underlying neck or back injury.

These headaches may range from mild to severe. If you experience persistent headaches following a collision, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and treatment.

Other Sensations

After a car accident, pay attention to any other unusual sensations you may experience. These can include the following:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Shooting pains in your neck or back

Do not dismiss these feelings. They could indicate underlying injuries that need medical attention.


Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or a sensation that the room is spinning. It can also be described as feeling faint or like you may pass out. Dizziness can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, blurred vision, and difficulty maintaining balance.

Dizziness after a car accident could indicate a neck or back injury.


Nausea is an unpleasant feeling of queasiness and discomfort in the stomach that often comes before vomiting. It can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, or a general feeling of unease.

Some people describe nausea as a sensation of wanting to vomit, while others may feel like their stomach is churning or their throat is tight. Nausea can also cause loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating.

Nausea can indicate a back or neck injury after an accident if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities

If you experience nausea along with any of these symptoms after an accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms can feel like sudden, involuntary contractions or twitches in a specific muscle or group of muscles. They may also feel like a tightening or cramping sensation in the affected area.

Some people describe muscle spasms as painful, while others may only feel mild discomfort. The intensity and duration of muscle spasms can vary greatly, from a brief twitch to a prolonged spasm lasting several minutes.

If you experience muscle spasms after an accident, they might be caused by the trauma or injuries sustained during the accident. There are some signs that your muscle spasms may be related to your accident.

Timing is a significant factor to consider. If you did not have any history of muscle spasms before the accident and they start occurring shortly after the accident, it is likely that they are a result of the trauma.

Where are your spasms located? Muscle spasms can occur in any part of the body, but if they are concentrated in the areas where you were injured during the accident, it is a strong indication that they are related to your injuries.

What type of injury did you receive? Certain types of injuries are more likely to cause muscle spasms than others. For example, whiplash from a car accident can cause muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders.

Problems With Memory

Memory problems can also signal a neck or back injury after a car accident. If you find yourself struggling to remember things or experiencing brain fog, it could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition.

How Do You Prove an Injury With Delayed Symptoms?

Delayed symptoms can make proving car accident injuries challenging. Medical records, imaging tests, and expert opinions play a crucial role in establishing the link between the accident and your neck or back pain. Documenting symptoms as they appear is vital for building a strong case for compensation.

What to Do if You Are Experiencing Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident

If you start experiencing delayed symptoms after a car accident, pay attention to them. Follow these steps to address it.

See a Doctor

It is crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. Medical professionals can properly diagnose your injuries and provide the necessary treatment to prevent further complications. Your health should always be a top priority in these situations.

Follow Through With Treatment

Once you have seen a doctor and received a diagnosis, following through with the recommended treatment plan is crucial for your spine health. This plan may include physical therapy, medication, or other interventions to help alleviate your symptoms and promote healing.

Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney in Virginia Beach

A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contacting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can make all the difference in your case.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in navigating the complexities of your personal injury claim. The attorney can help with the following and more:

  • Gathering evidence to support your case
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Representing you in court if necessary

By enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney, you can focus on healing while your lawyer handles the legal aspects of your case.

It is important to take care of yourself both physically and legally after a car accident to ensure that you receive proper treatment and compensation for any injuries sustained.

Attorneys You Can Trust in Virginia Beach

Delayed neck and back pain after a car accident can happen. Stay vigilant about symptoms that could indicate a problem. Injuries can manifest days or even weeks after the initial trauma.

Preston, Wilson & Crandley, PLC has faithfully served clients since 1955. We use our experience to give your case the attention it deserves so you can achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today and put our experience to work for you.