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Car accidents are aggressive and forceful. They impact sudden movement for the occupants and when the movement is stopped, a lot of pressure is exerted on the neck and back. It is no surprise that a car accident can cause serious back problems, but what is the exact cause of lower back spasms after a crash? Learn more here.

Lower Back Spasms

A muscle spasm is a subcategory of physical injuries that occurs when the body is subjected to physical trauma or dehydration. These involuntary contractions of muscles can also be the main injury in an accident.

For a car accident to cause lower back spasms, the accident had to suddenly and unexpectedly make the muscles in your back expand. The overstretching of muscle during a car accident will often lead to muscle spasms immediately while at the scene of the accident or over some time.

Internal Causes of Lower Back Spasms

Injuries that lead to muscle spasms occur when the body is forced into motion while in a car accident. Seatbelts are great safety measures as they hinder body movement and thus limiting injuries but they can also lead to other types of injuries.

While the body’s movement might be limited by a seatbelt, the movement still continues internally. Your organs will move until they reach a stopping point. This will exert pressure on the spine and could lead to pulled lower back muscles which can manifest as lower back spasms.

The different injuries resulting from car accidents that lead to lower back spasms can be classified into:

  • Disc injuries where the disc itself is injured or intervertebral disc suffers the injury.
  • Face joint injuries that are experienced on the bony protrusions on the spinal column and are often the cause of neck spasms. 
  • Spinal fractures and muscular injuries are the more common causes of lower back pain. They are especially brutal if you tense up your body in anticipation of the accident.

Treatment of Lower Back Spasms

Depending on the magnitude of pain, back injuries resulting from car accidents can be treated. Medication is often offered as a pain management solution. However, physiotherapy offers a more permanent solution.

There are a vast number of institutions offering physical therapy for people that have been in auto accidents. To find one, all you have to do is look up your location, ‘Physical therapy near me’ for instance, and you will find numerous options for you to choose from.

Managing Lower Back Spasms

It is difficult to determine how long lower back spasms will last as every car accident is different and thus the consequences are not mirrored. A car accident can also cause whiplash. While whiplash is not a medical term, it is used to refer to a back injury that is pretty similar to the crack of a whip.

The neck and head jerk forward, then violently backwards when the car you are traveling in crashes onto something. As a result of the sudden movement, whiplash has been known to cause strain on muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and other tissues in a person’s back. The more common symptoms are short term and they include muscle spasms, sleep disturbance, dizziness, jaw pain, and back pain fatigue. 


Keep reading our blog for more tips and tricks on pain management, as you continue to see a physical therapist.