Dealing with Back Pain after a Rear-End Car Accident
Have you recently been the victim of a rear-end car accident? If so, then you may be in the process of recovering from injuries. Whiplash is, by far, the most common injury among those involved in read-end crashed. This injury can affect both the neck and back, and is caused when the body is thrown forward suddenly and forcefully. Hopefully, you sought medical attention immediately following your accident to ensure that you did not sustain any serious injury. If so, and if you are experiencing back pain of any kind, it is important to know how you can treat your pain at home. Furthermore, you should also know when your pain is bad enough to see a doctor.
Minor Back Pain
Minor back pain is characterized by a dull but continuous pain that radiates along the upper, middle, or lower back. If you were injured in a rear-end car accident, it is most likely that your back pain is centralized in your middle or upper back as opposed to the lower, but this depends on the specifics of your accident as well. This type of pain should not necessarily prevent you from partaking in everyday activities, but it will make doing these activities uncomfortable.
Most minor pain can be treated using homeopathic methods at home. Contrary to popular belief, you should try to continue partaking in your everyday activities as much as you can. Some people think it is a good idea to relax the back by lying down and staying off their feet. However, this can actually lead your body to heal more slowly. To speed up healing, you should remain as active as you normally would be–at least, to the point that you are comfortable doing so.
At times when you do lie down, take the time to place ice pack onto the affected area of the back. This should be done for periods of 15 to 20 minutes at a time and can be repeated as often as four times a day. This is a great way to reduce pain and any swelling that may accompany it; just be sure to place a towel between the ice pack and your skin so as to avoid frostbite. This should be done within the first 48 to 72 hours after your rear end car accident.
After 72 hours, you should switch to applying a heating pad to the affected area. Just keep the pad set on low and do not leave it on the skin for more than 20 minutes at a time. You may also want to consider taking the recommended daily dose of painkillers to ease the pain while your back is healing. In general, minor pain does not require professional treatment unless it persists for more than a week.
Moderate Back Pain
Upper back pain or lower back pain that begins to affect your daily activities is typically characterized as moderate. You may find yourself having to take breaks from your regular activities to sit or lie down as a result of the pain, and the discomfort may continue even after taking painkillers. If you experience this type of pain, you can try some home remedies, but it may eventually be necessary to seek professional treatment.
Aside from alternating between cold and heat applied to the affected area of the back to reduce pain and swelling, you should also do your best to change position every 30 minutes when suffering from moderate pain in your back. Otherwise, keeping your spine in the same position for too long could prolong the healing process and make it even more painful when you do have to move. If it does not hurt to do so, gently massage the area or have somebody else do it for you. This can help to encourage blood flow to the area and gradually reduce pain.
If moderate pain persists after 72 hours, contact your doctor. More than likely, your doctor will begin by prescribing you a stronger painkiller. This will probably be a prescription that you will have to have filled at your local pharmacy. From there, depending on the nature of your pain, you may also have to have some X-rays done to ensure that there are not more serious problems with your back or spine. Your doctor will probably assign you to an exercise and stretching regimen that you can perform at home to help with the pain.
Severe Back Pain
Pain is considered severe when you are in excruciating pain to the point that you feel no choice but to stay essentially bedridden. Store-bought painkillers will not help at this point, and you may find yourself unable to do much of anything. The affected area of the back may even be painful to the touch.
In such situations, you will want to seek help from a doctor right away. The pain is too severe to be treated with at-home remedies, though alternating between heat and cold in the meantime may help to speed up the healing process. More thank likely, your doctor will prescribe an extra strength painkiller to ease the pain right away while he or she tries to figure out the cause of the problem. This will probably involve a comprehensive exam and X-rays. From there, you will probably need to see a chiropractor, who is a licensed doctor who specializes in treating back pain. He or she will be able to best diagnose the problem and may perform certain treatments such as massages and stretching to help the back heal.
Being rear ended is something that nobody ever wants to experience, but these types of collisions are unfortunately among the most common types of car accidents these days. By being aware of the various levels of pain in your back, however, you can know how to treat your symptoms at home. You will also be better informed as to when it may be time to seek help from your doctor or a chiropractor.