Understanding Nerve Pain After Car Accidents: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

You’ve recently been in a car accident and have a couple of cuts and bruises — but you are also experiencing numbness and tingling in your arms. 

You ask yourself, “Isn’t this normal? Won’t this annoying tingling just go away on its own?”                 

Unfortunately, no. 

Numbness and tingling are not normal, and they do not just go away on their own. In fact, your symptoms can get worse. 

Besides cuts, bruises, and broken bones, car accidents can also cause nerve damage. Just as other internal injuries may not appear, nerve damage may not be evident immediately after a crash. However, nerve damage is nothing to ignore. 

Keep reading because this article will discuss different types of nerve pain you may experience following a car accident and the signs and symptoms to be aware of.

nerve pain after car accident

Table of Contents

Can You Get Nerve Damage From a Car Crash?

Yes! Many types of car wrecks and injuries can lead to nerve pain. 

To determine if you are experiencing nerve pain after a car accident, you must see a doctor following an auto accident, regardless of how minor you think your nerve injuries are. Scrapes and bruises are easy to see, but other car accident injuries are more difficult to detect and may take time to appear

Have you ever experienced a car accident? The type of treatment you receive after a car accident may determine how long you feel pain following the accident. 

We understand the complexities of car accident injuries at Cascade Spine and Injury Center. In our state-of-the-art facility, we treat accident injuries using modern techniques and equipment.

To schedule an evaluation, contact us today.

car wreck nerve pain

Common Car Accident Injuries That Can Cause Nerve Pain

Nearly any car collision can cause nerve pain and damage, regardless of whether it is a minor fender bender or a high-speed T-bone. 

Following are some of the most common injuries that result in nerve pain after a car accident:

  • Whiplash — Whiplash occurs when the head suddenly jolts forward and back, resulting in neck trauma. In addition to affecting your neck muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues, whiplash can damage your nerves.
  • Spine Impact — When your back or spine is impacted, your nerves may become pinched or compressed. This may result in pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness. 
  • Herniated Disc — A herniated disc is caused by damage to the rubbery disc between the vertebrae. It can cause weakness, tingling, numbness, pain, or paralysis by pinching or otherwise affecting a spinal cord nerve. 
  • Secondary Nerve Injury — After a car wreck, nerves throughout the body can be damaged due to broken bones, internal injuries, and other common injuries. An impact may sever them in an open wound or stretch or squeeze them.

3 Types of Nerve Pain After a Car Accident

#1: Radiculopathy

In the spine, nerve roots branch out and travel throughout the body. When these nerves are damaged, radiculopathy occurs. 

Radiculopathy can be one of three types: 

  1. Cervical — This is an inflammatory condition of the cervical spine (neck) that results in neurological dysfunction.
  2. Thoracic — This occurs when a nerve in your middle spine is compressed.
  3. Lumbar — This is inflammation of a nerve root in the lower back that can cause pain or irritation in the lower back and legs. A condition like this usually involves the sciatic nerve, also called sciatica.

The part of your back where your damaged nerve is located determines which type of radiculopathy you have.

Causes and Symptoms

Damaged nerves in the spine can cause pain and numbness in parts of the body along the nerve’s path, such as the leg and neck.  

In addition, because of the extreme forces they exert on the spine, car accidents frequently cause radiculopathy.  

Other common causes of radiculopathy include: 

  • Arthritis
  • Herniated discs
  • Spondylosis; and
  • Bone spurs

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatment is one of the most effective ways to relieve cervical radiculopathy pain.

After determining what type of radiculopathy it is, your chiropractor will determine the best course of action. 

Chiropractors can offer manual manipulation to adjust the spine to increase mobility. They can also decompress the nerve with exercises and traction by adjusting the area above and below to reduce tension.

These treatments will improve the range of motion while keeping the injured area from moving too much so it can heal faster.

#2: Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This can be due to inflammation or tight muscles and can lead to more diffuse symptoms in the arm (maybe the whole arm or the whole hand).

Causes and Symptoms

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include …

  • Weakness
  • Numbness; and
  • Pain

… usually in the hands and feet. 

Additionally, peripheral neuropathy can affect: 

  • Digestion
  • Urination; and 
  • Circulation

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a variety of factors, including: 

  • Diabetes
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Infections
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Inherited causes; and 
  • Toxins

The pain associated with peripheral neuropathy is often described as: 

  • Stabbing
  • Burning; or 
  • Tingling

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractors have a great deal to offer patients with neuropathy. 

Before beginning your treatment, your chiropractor might recommend imaging, such as x-rays or an MRI. 

They will then examine the …

  • Spine
  • Joints; and 
  • Connective tissue

… to localize the affected area.

Once treatment begins, you can expect …

  • Manipulation
  • Adjustments
  • Massage
  • Stretching; or
  • Other recommended treatment

…  to correct your peripheral neuropathy.  

Chiropractic care for neuropathy can relieve neuropathy pain and increase the range of motion in your joints. It will also relieve pressure on peripheral nerves so they can heal without causing further problems in other parts of your body.

nerve pain from car accident

#3: Impingements

An impingement, also called a “pinched nerve” or “compressed nerve,” is a nerve that is pinched.

Even though an impingement is considered one of the less severe forms of nerve damage a car accident can inflict, it is still painful and uncomfortable. 

The pinch occurs when surrounding tissues such as …

  • Bone
  • Tendon
  • Cartilage; or 
  • Muscles

… apply too much pressure on a nerve.

Causes and Symptoms

Many parts of the body can be affected by pinched nerves. Nerve roots may be compressed by a herniated disk in the lower spine, for example. You may feel pain radiating down the back of your leg. 

You can also experience pain and numbness in your hand and fingers if you have a pinched nerve in your wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome).

Additionally, pinched nerves are common after auto accidents. Injuries caused by accidents, such as a herniated disc or whiplash, can result in a pinched nerve. 

Pinched nerves are common, but their symptoms can be debilitating. 

There may be …

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness; or 
  • Weakness 

… due to this pressure.

Chiropractic Treatment

When a nerve is pinched, it can be excruciating. And if it’s not treated correctly, that pain can spread and cause more harm. 

Car accidents are a leading cause of nerve impingement. When a person’s body is stressed during a vehicle accident, it can lead to pinched nerves. 

During treatment for nerve impingement, chiropractors use their hands and other tools to push your joints and other structures back into place. In addition to relieving inflammation, they can free up any pinched nerves by aligning your spine.

Call us today if you have pain following a car accident and suspect the nerves are involved

The professionals at Cascade Spine and Injury Center will … 

  • Assess you
  • Diagnose you; and 
  • Develop a treatment plan

… so you can feel like yourself again.


Understanding the Timeline of Nerve Pain Symptoms and Healing

Does Nerve Pain From a Car Accident Happen Immediately?

The short answer is “sometimes.” Typically, it takes 24 to 48 hours or longer following a car accident for inflammation to peak; this is why nerve damage may not always be apparent immediately. 

However, it’s essential to be aware that even if you are unaware of nerve damage does not mean it doesn’t exist. 

In the days following your accident, it is imperative to see a doctor. Ideally, you will be seen within a few hours. 

Your doctor should run tests to determine the extent of your nerve damage and provide you with treatment options. Your medical history will be reviewed to diagnose your chronic pain or numbness. 

Doctors may also conduct tests such as:

  • Assessing your skin’s sensitivity and reactions
  • Taking multiple pulse measurements on your body
  • Using a tuning fork to check your sensation
  • Obtaining diagnostic tests such as nerve conduction testing

How Long Does It Take Nerves To Heal After a Car Accident?

A nerve can take a long time to heal when it is damaged. Depending on the severity of the damage and the type of nerve involved, the length of time will vary.

For example, motor nerves, which control muscle movement, heal more slowly than sensory nerves, which transmit information about: 

  • Touch
  • Temperature; and
  • Pain
car accident nerve pain

Contact Cascade Spine and Injury Center To Start Getting Relief From Nerve Pain Resulting From a Car Accident

Following a car accident, it can be difficult for you to determine whether you have sustained any injuries if you do not experience pain or symptoms right away; however, no matter how minor the accident may have been, you should seek medical attention immediately if there is a chance you’ve been injured. 

You can recover from auto injuries with the help of a chiropractor, and the team at Cascade Spine and Injury Center is the best. 

We treat all types of auto injuries safely and effectively, regardless of whether they are whiplash or neck pain.

Dr. McClaren specializes in chiropractic care that reduces pain and improves the quality of life. 

He delivers favorable results with superior quality and safe, advanced treatments and equipment.

You do not have to live with the symptoms of your car accident. Cascade Spine and Injury Center can help you through your recovery process. 

For your convenience, we provide the following services:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Rehabilitation therapy 

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.

Leave a Comment