How to Prevent Back Pain and Neck Pain After a Car Accident

I’ve been a personal injury lawyer in New York for many years and learned the secret of how to prevent back pain, lower back pain, and neck pain from ever occurring after a car accident or any accident.

I’ve told several orthopedic surgeons about my theory and all have said, “that makes sense”. But I’ve never seen a doctor in a hospital ER or private doctor tell their patient what to do.

The secret is how to prevent the cause of back pain and neck pain, within hours after an accident, before the pain starts. Later, it is too late.

Unfortunately, doctors at the hospital will tell you to take ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin to relieve the pain but it’s not enough because you need to prevent the pain, not relieve it. If you take ibuprofen, you may be doomed to a life of lower back pain and/or neck pain.

I’ll tell you what to do to correct the mistake you’ll be told by a doctor at the hospital. All you have to do is keep reading.

Note: This is not a treatment to relieve back pain or neck pain that is already existing for more than a few hours. But, for many people, it will prevent back pain or neck pain from ever occurring after an accident.

How I Know You Can Prevent Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain After a Car Accident

How do I know the secret of how to prevent lower back pain and neck pain after a car accident works?

Because I told many clients what to do when they called me from the accident scene or right after a car accident and their back pain or neck pain completely disappeared although some were left with other injuries.

I had my own back pain from a car accident and know what’s like so I’m happy to have lost the possibility of representing a lot of clients who would have had back or neck pain from a car accident.

I’ll explain below what happened to them.

What Causes Back Pain With Radiculopathy After an Accident?

Immediately after a car accident or any accident that causes trauma to your lower back or neck, you may or may not experience pain. If you do experience pain, it will likely be somewhat minor and will start getting worse during the next few hours.

You may even decide not to go to a hospital which could be a mistake. It’s important for your personal injury case to be examined but when you see a doctor at the hospital ER, you can ask the important question I tell you about below.

Because you may not experience pain after the accident, you may not even know you were injured. Not yet! But after you go to sleep and wake up the next morning, you’ll experience pain, a lot of pain.

I know because I had my own back pain from a car accident when I was hit in the rear by a drunk driver. I had minor pain after the car accident which became worse the next morning. Several years later, the pain became excruciating with radiculopathy pain that radiated or traveled down both legs.

My back pain was caused by pain shooting down my legs with the most severe pain at the point in my lower back where it was coming from.

For people who are fortunate enough to not know what radiculopathy is, I will first provide a short description of what causes radiculopathy and what it is.

What Causes Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is caused by a bulging disc or herniated disc that pinches a nerve root in the spine. It is most commonly a bulging disc or herniated disc in the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back), although it could be in the thoracic spine.

I have only seen a couple of clients with a thoracic spine injury and I have never had a client with radiculopathy in the thoracic spine.

Watch two really good short videos about the cervical spine and lumbar spine and find more information about neck and back spine injury.

cross section of spine showing nerve alongside disc

You can see the yellow nerve running through this cross-section of the spinal column. The discs are like donuts in between the bony structures.

What Are Symptoms of Radiculopathy

Symptoms of radiculopathy include severe pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.

When radiculopathy goes down both legs, the pain can be so excruciating that you can’t stand straight, walk, or even sit or lay down without severe pain.

What is the Real Cause of Back Pain and Neck Pain After an Accident?

So what is the real cause of back or neck pain?

  1. Trauma occurs to the neck or back.
  2. The trauma causes severe inflammation during the first 48 hours after an accident.
  3. Inflammation and swelling cause one or more discs to bulge or herniate.
  4. One or more of the bulging or herniated discs press against a nerve pinching it and causing radiculopathy.
  5. You end up with life-long severe pain.

What a Doctor Will Tell You to Do for Your Back or Neck Pain After an Accident

After a car accident or another kind of accident, you may go to a hospital ER. If you complain about back or neck pain, a doctor will tell you to take ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil. This is the mistake you don’t want to make!

Ibuprofen is the generic form of the brands Advil and Motrin. Ibuprofen is an NSAID or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. NSAIDs are used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

The problem is that while ibuprofen does help to relieve back pain and neck pain, it is not strong enough to prevent the much more severe inflammation that is caused within the first two days after an accident. Ibuprofen will lessen the swelling but not enough.

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How Can You Prevent Back or Neck Pain From Occurring After a Car Accident?

You can’t prevent the trauma, but you can prevent #2 above, the inflammation and swelling. If you can prevent inflammation and swelling, you can prevent permanent back and neck pain.

All you have to do is:

  1. Take an anti-inflammatory that is more powerful than ibuprofen to prevent inflammation and swelling.
  2. Take a powerful anti-inflammatory for 1-2 two days beginning immediately after the trauma.

Not only can you prevent life-long pain you’ll also prevent the back and neck pain you could have had in the days and weeks after your accident. You’ll never know because you won’t have any pain.

How Soon After an Accident Do I Have to Take an Anti-Inflammatory?

Within the First Hours After Trauma From an Accident

Inflammation begins occurring within the first hour or two after trauma from an injury. The worst of the inflammation will last 1-3 days but can last a couple of weeks.

Definitely Before the First Night After Trauma From an Accident

What I have found that works is to begin taking a powerful anti-inflammatory as soon as possible after the trauma but definitely before going to sleep on the first night after the trauma.

My belief is that significant inflammation occurs during the first night after the trauma. I have seen countless clients who experienced no pain on the day of the accident, only to wake up the next day with severe back or neck pain.

Everyone has heard people say they were being sued for a car accident and they knew the lawsuit was BS because the other driver was injured at the scene. But that happens because

  1. The person may have been in shock and didn’t feel anything yet or
  2. The person didn’t feel pain yet because inflammation had not yet started.

How Long After an Accident Do I Have to Take an Anti-Inflammatory?

I would take a powerful anti-inflammatory for 1-2 two days beginning immediately after the accident.

If there is no pain on the day after the accident, I would stop taking an anti-inflammatory.

If there is pain on the day after the accident, I would continue taking an anti-inflammatory for another day or two.

 

So, What Should You Take to Prevent Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain After a Car Accident?

What I found strong enough to prevent the swelling from occurring after most accidents is naproxen sodium (brand name is Aleve) which is available over the counter without a prescription everywhere. Also strong enough are the prescription drugs Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra.

WARNING: If you have an ulcer or internal bleeding, you should not take naproxen sodium or Aleve because it could kill you. Internal bleeding could be caused by an accident and you would not know about it. That’s why you should only take naproxen sodium or Aleve after discussing it with a doctor. In fact, you shouldn’t take any NSAID without discussing it with a doctor.

Tip: When you’re in the hospital ER, ask the doctor if it’s ok for you to take naproxen sodium or Aleve.

If a doctor says it’s ok for you to take naproxen sodium or Aleve, buy it as soon as you leave the hospital.

I would begin taking one 220 mg naproxen sodium or Aleve as soon as possible after an accident and at least before going to sleep.

I would take one or two (depending upon the severity of the accident or pain) 220 mg naproxen sodium or Aleve every 8-12 hours for two days and then stop. Taking naproxen sodium or Aleve for too long can cause stomach problems that will send you to a gastroenterologist.

Naproxen sodium or Aleve is supposedly similar to Advil. Drugs.com says, “As far as effectiveness goes, a dose of 440mg Aleve is approximately equivalent to a dose of 400mg Advil. One of the most important differences is the length of time Aleve and Advil act for.”

I wish I knew about Aleve when I had my car accident. I only started taking Aleve when my back pain became so severe I was considering getting surgery.

My cousin who was a gastroenterologist told me he would rather see me take 4 Advil than 2 Aleve because he said Aleve caused a lot of problems for his patients. But I found that just 1/2 Aleve was far better for my back pain than 4 Advil. He also agreed with me that it was less of a problem because I was taking omeprazole for heartburn and reflux.

How I Know Aleve Can Prevent Permanent Back Pain and Neck Pain After a Car Accident

I have had many calls from people at the accident scene or right after their car accident who told me they had neck or back pain. I told them to go to the hospital and ask the doctor in the ER if they could take Aleve or naproxen sodium.

All of these people told me a few days later that their neck or back pain was gone. Some of these people didn’t have other injuries and they never became a client of mine.

However, many of these people also had other injuries such as a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder or a torn meniscus in the knee and they became clients of mine. All of these clients told me a few days later that their neck or back pain was gone. Although their back pain or neck pain completely disappeared they were left with other injuries.

Now you know the secret of how to prevent lower back pain and neck pain after a car accident or any accident.

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Attorney Franckel is a well-known personal injury lawyer, Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10  Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and other awards. See Mr. Franckel’s bio.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

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Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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