The human body often cannot withstand the extreme forces a car crash exerts. Many parts of the body can sustain injuries in a car accident, including the neck. The neck is one of the most common areas injured due to the back and forth whipping motion of the head and neck. The head, skull, brain, back and spinal cord could also suffer injuries. If you experience neck pain of any kind after an auto accident, go to a doctor for an exam immediately. Neck pain can indicate a serious personal injury.
Injuries That May Cause Neck Pain
Neck pain is a serious symptom that deserves attention from a medical professional. You could have an injury to the neck and/or spinal cord if you experience neck pain, stiffness, immobility, tenderness or soreness after a car crash. Do not ignore any type of neck pain after an accident. Visit your doctor or go to an emergency room as soon as possible for a checkup. A physical exam and/or x-ray could show a severe personal injury causing the ache or pain.
- A common car accident neck injury is whiplash. This is an injury to the muscles or soft tissues of the neck, such as a torn ligament or damaged tendon. It could also describe nerve damage. Whiplash can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
- Muscle spasms. Trauma to the head, neck or back could cause stress in the body that leads to painful muscle spasms in the affected area. The muscles in your neck may stiffen or move involuntarily, with feelings similar to a painful cramp.
- A dislocation of the bones in the cervical spine, the seven topmost vertebrae of the spinal cord, could cause moderate to severe neck pain. Dislocation refers to a bone that slips out of place by escaping the ligaments that usually hold it in place.
- Neck fracture. Some car accidents impact the neck severely enough to fracture one or more bones in the neck or cervical spine. A broken neck is a serious injury that may heal over time with treatments, or it could cause a long-term spinal cord injury.
- Spinal cord injuries. You may notice neck pain as a symptom of an injury to the top of the spinal cord. This is the most vulnerable part of the spine, as it controls function and feeling from the neck down. A severe spinal cord injury can have permanent effects. One possibility is quadriplegia – paralysis from the point of injury down.
Most muscle and soft-tissue injuries to the neck are not permanent. With pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, heat, ice, therapy and other treatments, most soft-tissue neck injuries will fully heal. Fractures to the cervical spinal cord or other spine injuries, however, could cause lifelong symptoms. The spinal cord is a critical part of the body. Prompt and proper medical care could help you correct the injury that is giving you neck pain.
What to Do If You Have Neck Pain After a Vehicle Collision
The neck and spine are sensitive parts of the body that, when injured, can have lasting effects on the victim. Take any type of neck pain seriously after getting into a car accident in San Antonio. Do not dismiss even minor pain, tingling or other sensations. Neck injuries such as whiplash may not show serious symptoms right away. Instead, you may notice faint symptoms that worsen over time. Prompt medical treatment for any type of neck injury could be critical in avoiding some of the worst possible effects, such as a herniated disk or paralysis. If a crash does inflict a serious neck or back injury, contact a San Antonio car accident attorney to help you seek fair compensation from the at-fault party.