Lower Back Pain after my Car Accident. What to do?

Ever since my roll over about six weeks ago, I’ve have had some minor lower back pain. It’s not a lot, but it’s persistently there. I feel like my back is at about 80% strength. I can still shovel snow, lift objects, etc, but my endurance has been diminished. I especially notice it after some of my longer work days where I’m moving until about 8pm. I thought six weeks would be enough time to see if my back would self correct but it looks like nothing has changed. Any suggestions as to what I should do? I’ve never been to a chiropractor and they scare me a little. A long while ago I went to a physiotherapist for a sprained ankle. Maybe I should look into a massage therapist?

I have no numbness or tingling in my feet or bladder problems. Also I know dopers can’t give me legal medical advice. I’m just curious as to which specialist might be best in this situation.

Start with a GP. My guess is that they’ll give you a weeks worth of muscle relaxants to see if that helps work it out and then go from there.
WAG, if it doesn’t they’ll probably want a CT scan and/or physical therapy.

To to a regular MD or OD - not a chiropractor.
Most back pain resolves itself
MRIs are a tricky thing - they can lead you down the wrong path…

If the doc mentions surgery - make sure you get a 2nd and 3rd opinion from non surgeons.

The Fellow suffered four fractures to spinous and transverse processes when he wrecked four months ago. They’re still terribly painful, but even with a squillion doctors taking care of him and very good insurance coverage, those fractures are being treated with a lot of “wait and see” right now. When I injured my lower back many years ago, it was a long while before I felt 100% again, but core strengthening exercises and good posture definitely helped more than anything else. Even now, maintaining a healthy weight plays a huge role in whether my back hurts. Consider gentle exercises, like walking, swimming, anything that doesn’t jolt or twist the body, and gentle stretching, and maybe avoid shoveling snow or lifting heavy stuff while you heal - 6 weeks isn’t really very long for this sort of injury I think…

If the accident was the other guy’s fault, call his insurance carrier and ask them to authorize a trip to the doctor. Also ask for their bodily injury policy limit (although they might not tell you that). You should be able to go to whatever provider you want. I’d start with your general practitioner if you have one. If not, go to a local clinic. Concentra is good, they handle industrial accidents for a lot of insurance companies and they provide good care. They might refer you for an xray and/or MRI.

If the accident was your fault, then it depends what state you live in. Contact your insurance carrier. If you live in a state like New York, with no-fault medical payments, then they’ll cover your bills up to a pretty high limit. If you live in a state with “normal” bodily injury rules, then they will only pay whatever medpay limits you chose on your policy. A lot of people have 1k, or none at all. Most don’t have more than 5k. This doesn’t go very far.

If you have health insurance, it will pick up whatever is left after the car insurance policy is maxed out. But you will be subject to your deductibles and may have to stick with an in-network provider to get coverage. If you don’t have health insurance, you need to be extra super sure to get your treatment authorized beforehand, and figure out the amount of money you can spend. Because the rest will come out of your pocket.

Definitely see your doctor if you are concerned, but my firm opinion is that activity is the best thing. It can take a long time to recover 100%.

I have a pretty low opinion of most chiropractors. IMO, the best chiro care are essentially the same as massages. The worst are out-and-out whores and thieves.

Realize that if you go to a specialist, there is a tendency for them to recommend whatever is within their specialty. Also, depending on your age, don’t be surprised if imaging reveals some degeneration. Some degeneration happens just from time.

There are many specific stretching and strengthening exercises depending on your specific symptoms. IMO, most people should be able to do them on their own, rather than under the eye of a therapist. It might be worth an evaluation by a physical therapist to prepar a rehab program.

Best of luck.

A licensed massage therapist might be able to help.

One gave me a great exercise to do every day. I have for over a year, and it’s really helped.

Stand with your back to a wall, maybe a foot or foot and a half from the wall. Spread your feet a bit and point your toes out slightly. Put your butt and shoulder blades against the wall. Bend your knees a bit. Important!: Your knees should be above your ankles, not bowed in. Now, keeping your butt and shoulder blades against the wall, roll your hips forward and try to press the small of your back against the wall. It’s OK if you can’t quite get there. Hold for two minutes.

It might really help, and unless it puts you in serious pain, it won’t hurt. If it’s painful, don’t do it.

Physical therapy should help.