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Car Accident Disc Injuries

MRI visual showing a herniated disc, a bulging disc, and a normal disc.

Spine injuries from car accidents could leave you with long-lasting pain and suffering if they’re not handled appropriately. Several types of spinal injuries can cause trauma to the intervertebral discs within your spine.  Some of these injuries include disc herniations, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.

Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae (bones) that surround your spinal cord. These bones are stacked on top of one another, separated by intervertebral discs. These discs act as a shock absorber for your spine and are made of a tough outer layer and a soft inner gel-like layer. When the outer layer of one of your discs tear, the soft center will leak out and push out into your nerves.

Herniated Disc and Car accidents

When you’re in a car accident, your discs are the ones that will help absorb the trauma from the impact. After a car accident, it is common to have tears on the outside of your discs, leading the inner layer to push out of its center. This type of injury is called a herniated disc, which can compress the nerves that can cause you to feel pain and numbness among other neurological symptoms. Since your spine is home to various nerves, an issue of this kind could harm your entire nervous system. When not cared for properly, this issue could cause permanent damage to your nerves.

Symptoms of a herniated disc include:

Spinal Stenosis

Another issue that you could be at risk for after a car accident is Spinal Stenosis. This type of injury is caused by any narrowing in the spaces within your spine. More often, we can see spinal stenosis occur in the neck and lower back. Like herniated discs, this injury will put pressure on the spinal cord, leading to various nerve issues. You might not notice any symptoms right after your car accident, but 1-2 days later, spinal stenosis could be the cause of the pain and tingling in your back and neck.


Depending on the force of your car accident, you could be facing an injury called spondylolisthesis. This injury is caused by stress that forces one of your vertebrae onto the bone under it. Many people with this issue might not even know they have it because they believe it could be common lower back pain. Your spondylolisthesis could worsen when you don’t receive care.

Receiving chiropractic care after a car accident is crucial and can be the cure for long-term spinal damage. It is crucial to be accurately diagnosed with advanced imaging ordered if the above conditions and symptoms persist after a car accident. Such imaging can includes x-rays or MRI.  This can prevent worsening any condition when you take proper care of your body after a car accident! 



Seattle Chiropractic Spine and Injury Center

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