Car accident injuries range from relatively minor to life-threatening and can include everything from outer physical injuries to internal organ injuries. Some of the most common injuries in car accidents affect the neck and spine. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), whiplash is the most commonly reported injury from car accidents. This is due to an unsupported head and neck area suddenly whipping forward after the torso has already done so. The following are the five most common injuries to the neck and spine in car accidents.
1. Neck Sprain
Neck sprain results from muscles being stretched or ripped. This can also be called hyperextension, but is more commonly referred to as a whiplash injury. A pulled muscle occurs when the muscles are stretched farther than they can handle, or when they contract abruptly and strongly. The main symptom of this type of injury is a sharp or aching pain in the neck. The victim may have a difficult time moving their neck without pain.
2. Pinched Nerve in the Neck
A pinched nerve is also known medically as cervical radiculopathy. A cervical nerve travels into the arm from the neck and spinal area and it supplies feeling to the arm and shoulder along the way. When the nerve is pinched, it doesn’t work properly and causes weakness and numbness in the surrounding area. There may also be radiating pain through the travel area of the nerve.
3. Herniated Disc
When violent neck motion exerts pressure on a disc, it may cause a herniated disc. Other terms for this condition include a slipped or ruptured disc. When this happens, part of the spinal structure is torn and a jelly-like substance called nucleus pulposus is pushed out of the center. This substance can then put pressure on nerves in the spinal structure, which results in numbness, pain and weakness.
Neck injuries need to be fully diagnosed by a neck pain doctor Gaithersburg MD relies on to find out the exact condition. Some general symptoms of neck injuries include the following:
4. Spinal Pain
Spinal pain is a common back injury stemming from car accidents. The source of back pain can be hard to isolate and is best diagnosed through x-rays and seeing a chiropractor. Severe back pain can seriously inhibit a person’s lifestyle and professional treatment should always be sought for ongoing and crippling back pain.
5. Spinal Numbness or Loss of Muscle Control
More serious spinal injuries can result in numbness in different parts of the body. Muscles and nerves throughout the body are connected to the spinal cord and require a healthy one to function properly. Victims may experience a loss of feeling, especially in the extremities, and involuntary muscle relaxing or contracting.
After An Accident
It’s very common for victims of a car accident not to feel any specific pain or injury right away. The surge of adrenaline and endorphins after a traumatic incident works to mask pain. This is why victims of a serious car accident are often taken to the hospital even when they insist that they are fine. Back and neck injuries especially are notorious for appearing in the days following the accident.
Anyone injured in a car accident should consider consulting a car accident lawyer for assistance. Medical complications for back and neck injuries can be ongoing and it’s important to arrange for appropriate compensation as soon as possible.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pain and Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into neck and spine injuries in auto accidents.