Yes, a car accident can cause a pinched nerve in the neck or back, which can result in numbness or pain radiating through a surprisingly large area. If you have tingling or numbness after an accident, or pain that doesn’t seem to have a clear physical cause, there’s a good chance it could be related to a pinched nerve.
The medical name for this is radiculopathy, referring to how the feeling of pain “radiates” along the nerve. Usually, the sensation covers a larger area, perhaps running down the neck or down the legs, even though the nerve is only under pressure at one specific point.
What exactly is a pinched nerve?
The term “pinched nerve” is a bit of a misnomer. The truth is, most pinched nerves aren’t really “pinched” by anything. Instead, they’re under some kind of pressure. That pressure could be come from inflammation (swelling) related to a neck or back injury. Or, it could be caused by a more serious issue like a bulging disc or herniated disk. In all of these situations, the bulging or inflamed tissue is essentially pushing on the nerve, creating the tingling or burning/painful sensation you feel. (In rarer cases, a bone spur could do the same thing.)
These car accident injuries are almost always associated with the neck or back. Remember that your spine acts as a central highway for the nerves. Any kind of injury to the neck or back is much more likely to pinch a nerve than an injury elsewhere in the body.
When this happens because of an injury to the lower back, it is known as lumbar neuropathy and is likely to cause sciatica. When it involved an injury to the neck, it is known as cervical neuropathy which is a common but uncomfortable effect of whiplash.
What should I expect if I’m suffering from a pinched nerve after an accident?
Generally, you should expect one or several of the following things:
- The cause of your nerve pain likely involves an injury to the neck or back, even if you’re not aware of any such injury.
- It is unlikely that the nerve pain will go away on its own. Even if it does, it’s likely to return—possibly worse—in the future.
- In most cases, a pinched nerve can be treated, and you may be able to get rid of the pain for good if you see a doctor. The treatment may be surgical or non-surgical, depending on what’s causing it.
And remember: you should not have to pay for this treatment yourself. If you were not at fault in the accident, you have a right to an insurance claim to cover your costs.
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If you’re dealing with nerve pain after an accident, we can help. We offer access to some of the most respected car accident lawyers in Georgia—and we offer a FREE consultation. Don’t suffer a day longer. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.