person holding their low back in pain

Feeling low back pain after car accident

Lower back pain after a car accident is a common injury, due to the tender nature of this area in your body—a motor vehicle accident (MVA) impact can strain and tear the low back muscles and lead to tightness, pain, and even muscle spasms. If you’ve ever pulled your lower back lifting something heavy, you know this is an uncomfortable feeling that can make it difficult to sit at your desk or even sleep. Thankfully, a knowledgeable kinesiologist can create a custom treatment plan to strengthen and heal your lower back, supplemented with gentle at-home exercises.

We asked our wonderful Registered Kinesiologist at RRC, Sarah Nichols, to weigh in and explain how to treat low back pain after a car accident in-clinic and at home.  

Low back pain after a car accident

Low back pain can be dangerous because if your spine is affected, you could also suffer from neck pain. 

Types of low back pain after a car accident

  • Joint injuries: high impact from a motor vehicle accident can put too much pressure on your joints and injure them, leading to inflammation, low back pain, and tightness. 
  • Spinal disk injury: the stress of an accident can damage your spinal disks, shifting them out of place, or causing a tear. Any spinal disk injury can cause pain, and some can even cause nerve pain leading to other issues. 
  • Lumbar spine strains and sprains: if your joints and spinal disks are not affected, your muscles and ligaments might be, also leading to low back pain.

Because low back pain can have this many causes, our kinesiologists work closely with you to identify the underlying root so we can treat both the cause and the symptoms. If not addressed, the pain can linger for months or even years, some patients note.

Low back pain treatment

At RCC we use a multidisciplinary approach to treating all injuries including low back pain (LBP). We offer kinesiology treatment to help strengthen the involved musculature, improve range of motion and flexibility and reduce overall pain, as well as manual osteopathic treatment to help realign the structure, improve blood flow to and from the tissues and reduce nerve irritation.

Should you suffer from chronic LBP we also offer a multidisciplinary chronic pain management program. Our Chronic Pain Management Program is an interprofessional, time limited, goal-oriented approach to self-management of chronic pain.  The program aims to enable clients with chronic pain resulting from MVAs to enhance their ability to function in all aspects of their lives.

Low back pain at-home exercises

Kinesiology treatment for LBP may happen in a variety of settings including your home, outdoors (weather permitting), the pool or our private rehabilitation studio. The frequency of sessions depends on the individual but it is recommended to meet with your kinesiologist 1-3 times/per week and engage in at-home exercises for 15-20 minutes daily. Each person will require a different treatment program length depending on the severity of their injuries, time post-accident, pre-existing and/or secondary injuries. We usually begin with an 8-week program and will reassess at the end of this term to determine if more treatment is required. 

Equipment is not necessary for LBP rehabilitation but can be beneficial. I recommend that my patients obtain a resistance band set, a small set of dumbbells ranging from 2-8 lb, a foam roller and an exercise mat. This will allow for a variety of exercises to be performed at home, and also give the option of bringing the equipment with you if you are travelling. 

5 Low Back Pain Exercises That Require No Equipment:

Please consult a healthcare professional that is familiar with your medical history prior to engaging in any of these exercises. 

  1. Lazy Push-up: Lay on your stomach with your arms bent by your side, so that your hands are under your shoulders, palms facing down. Gently push up keeping your palms, forearms and elbows on the ground, hold 1 second and slowly lower back down to the ground. 
kinesiologist demonstrating lazy push up exercise to help with low back pain after car accident
kinesiologist demonstrating lazy push up exercise to help with low back pain after car accident
  1. Cat/Cow: On your hands and knees slowly tuck your chin down, roll your back up and tuck your pelvis under, then slowly transition by pushing your pelvis back, pulling your spine towards the ground and looking up towards the ceiling. Use a 3-second count while transitioning between the cat and cow pose.
kinesiologist demonstrating cat and cow exercise to help with low back pain after car accident
kinesiologist demonstrating cat and cow exercise to help with low back pain after car accident
  1. Knees to Chest: Lay on your back and pull one or both knees towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds or until you feel a release in tension. A modification for this is a Figure-4 Stretch. For this, bend both knees and place one ankle (left) on the opposite knee (right), then lift your foot (right) off the ground and bring it towards your chest, pulling your thigh (right) further towards your chest. If these are difficult and you cannot reach them without lifting your head off the ground you can use a towel, small blanket or band to aid you in pulling your leg(s) towards your chest.
  1. Lower Back Rotation: Lay on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the ground. Slowly allow both knees to rotate to one side, dropping towards the ground, use a 3-second count to reach this position. Then slowly rotate to the other side.
  1. Glute Bridge: Lay on your back with your knees bent, hip-width apart. Tuck your pelvis under and tighten your abdominal muscles. Using the back ⅔ of your feet push your hips and pelvis off the ground and squeeze your glutes together. Hold for 1 second and slowly lower.
kinesiologist demonstrating a glute bridge exercise to help with low back pain after car accident
kinesiologist demonstrating a glute bridge exercise to help with low back pain after car accident

Is low back pain treatment after a car accident covered by insurance?

You may be eligible for compensation or settlement from insurance after your car accident. 

If you are experiencing low back pain following a car accident, please get in touch with a clinic professional as soon as possible. Leaving the pain unattended may lead to complications. To contact us to set up a meeting, you can call us, email, or fill out the contact form. 

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