Car accidents are a significant cause of neck injuries, with more than 80,000 car crashes resulting in neck injuries in the United States every year.
And unfortunately, auto accident victims with neck injuries don't receive the medical care they need or are mistreated, leading to long-term pain, suffering, and sometimes disability.
If you are suffering from a neck injury after a motor vehicle accident, you should seek medical treatment right away from a doctor specializing in neck injuries.
Untreated neck injuries can lead to systemic injuries and long-term challenges, so it is crucial to speak with a medical professional.
And to make the fastest possible recovery, people must know what types of specific neck injuries they may be suffering from.
In the article below, we will go over a few common types of neck injuries after accidents.
Table of Contents
- What Type of Car Accidents Cause Neck Injuries?
- What Happens To Your Neck During a Car Accident?
- Symptoms of Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
- Types Of Neck Injuries After Auto Accidents
- Treatment and Recovery for Neck Injuries
- Choose Florida Spine and Injury
What Type of Car Accidents Cause Neck Injuries?
The most common types of accident that causes neck injuries are rear-end collisions.
Rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash and neck sprains.
The force of the collision causes your head to be thrown forward and backward, causing a whip-like movement.
That movement frequently results in severe injuries, including spinal cord injuries, damage to the bones of the spine, cervical spine injuries, cervical disc and tears, sprains and strains of the ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other soft tissue injuries.
What Happens To Your Neck During a Car Accident?
Even though your neck is very fragile and vulnerable to injury, it's not well protected during auto accidents.
Your body is held in place by your seat belt, but your head and neck are left unrestrained during impact.
This causes your neck to jerk back and forth, jerk to one side, or get hit by flying debris.
These rapid movements can cause injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and nerves in the cervical spine.
And if you sense an accident before it happens, your neck muscles will tense in anticipation.
Because they are tensed, they'll have less give, which can cause increased muscle strain during impact.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
There are a few neck injury symptoms to look out for after a car accident.
Sometimes you feel pain immediately.
But sometimes, symptoms aren't apparent for hours or even weeks.
This often leads accident victims to mistake the symptoms for something else.
These delayed neck injuries are dangerous because victims often leave them untreated because they don't realize they have a neck injury.
You should immediately seek the help of a physician after an accident, no matter how you feel.
Your best hope of recovery is by working with a doctor who specializes in cases of car accidents and neck injuries.
Seek medical help if you experience the following at any point after your accident:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Pain radiating to the shoulders, arms, and hands
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers
Types of Neck Injuries After Auto Accidents
Car crashes can cause a range of neck problems and injuries. Some are minor injuries while others can result in a lifetime of treatment and recovery.
Here are a few of the most common neck injuries:
- Whiplash: Whiplash injuries occur when your head and neck are jerked forward and backward in a sudden motion. A whiplash injury causes strains, tears, and damage to ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other connective tissues in the neck. Symptoms of whiplash may present immediately after the crash, or they may not appear until hours later. With early treatment, your recovery time can be shortened. But if whiplash injuries are left untreated, they can cause chronic pain, long-term headaches, or memory issues.
- Soft Tissue Damage: Car crashes can tear, sprain, or strain the soft tissues in your neck. The soft tissues are the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your neck. Soft tissue damage usually causes pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. A muscle strain can also cause limited movement of the neck and muscle spasms.
- Slipped Discs or Herniated Discs: High-impact collisions can cause the discs in your cervical spine to slip out of place from between vertebrae. This can compress nerves in the spinal cord. Pinched nerves cause pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers.
- Facet Joint Injuries: Your facet joints in your cervical spine aid in head and neck stabilization and mobility. The impact of a car collision can inflame and irritate your facet joints. It can also damage surrounding ligaments, affecting the movement and range of motion of the joints.
- Neck Fractures: A neck fracture is a severe injury that can cause significant pain. Most people know immediately if they have a fracture following a car accident. If you suspect you have a fracture, do not move without medical assistance. Improper movement could injure your spinal cord and cause paralysis.
- Lacerations and Cuts: Debris, glass, or objects in your car may fly up during the accident and hit your neck, causing cuts, abrasions, lacerations, and bruising. These are usually minor injuries that won't require significant medical treatment. Still, deep cuts or lacerations have the potential to damage ligaments and tendons in the neck.
Treatment and Recovery for Neck Injuries
The treatment you receive for your neck injury will depend on the type and severity of your injury.
Many injury treatments start with rest and cold and heat therapy.
A car accident doctor may also prescribe pain relievers, neck braces, or physical therapy to help the whiplash recovery process.
Keep in mind that pain medications should only be a temporary fix because they only mask symptoms without treating the underlying cause.
They also come with a laundry list of side effects.
More severe neck injuries like herniated discs or neck fractures may require more intensive treatment and longer recovery periods.
Sometimes surgical intervention to repair the damage is unavoidable with these injuries.
Severe neck injuries that involve damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis and often cannot be cured.
Treatment for these injuries is usually focused on helping the injured person learn to live with their disabilities.
Choose Florida Spine and Injury
After a car crash and neck injury, it's vital to seek chiropractic care.
At Florida Spine and Injury, our chiropractors are trained and have experience working with neck injuries so they can get their patients the medical attention they need.
Florida Spine and Injury provides personalized chiropractic treatment plans to each patient based on their accident and accident injuries.
They can also refer you to a personal injury attorney to help you take care of your financial recovery and deal with the insurance companies.
If you have recently been involved in an auto accident, call Florida Spine and Injury today to schedule a Free Consultation with one of their accident injury chiropractors.