4 Types of Neck and Back Injuries that Car Accidents Can Cause


Neck and back injuries can be very painful and frustrating since they can take quite a long time to heal in some instances. You can injure your back or neck in several different ways, but they happen in car accidents frequently. That’s because a car can slam into you from the rear or the side, which can jolt your neck, back, and other body parts.

You might have to pursue a car accident lawsuit if what happened was another driver’s fault. Let’s go over four of the most frequent neck and back injuries that can occur and what you can physically expect when they do.

Spinal Cord Injuries

If you’re looking at the different car accident neck and back injuries that can occur, spinal cord injuries can be among the most dangerous and excruciating. There are some different ones, such as a disk that presses against the spinal cord.

You also might have a situation where the vertebra or disk fragment presses against the spinal column. Disks can rupture and fragment into the spinal column as well.

When this happens, you might feel acute pain. You probably will not feel it right after the accident, but you will once the adrenaline begins to wear off.

Pain might not be all that occurs, though. You also might experience paralysis, either total or partial. Your limbs might tingle, and you may notice either numbness or a loss of your coordination.

You should absolutely speak to a doctor about these issues. They will have some recommendations as far as treating you based on X-rays and MRIs. Sometimes you can experience some relief from a surgical option, or the doctor might be able to give you an injection to aid you with the pain instead.

Disk Damage

A car accident can also damage the intervertebral disks that rest between your vertebrae. These disks are essential. They let your back stay limber and flexible, but they also cushion the spaces in between each spinal column segment.

There are two specific disk injuries that can happen a lot. A bulging disk is one of them. The outside layer of the disk is what does this. If another body part exerts pressure on it, that’s when it starts to throb, and you’ll notice such an injury very quickly.

Herniated disks can happen too, and they are a little bit different. What’s happening there is the delicate gelatinous material inside the disk starts pushing its way into the outer layers.

In a nutshell, you’re going to have pain from any of these types of injuries, but you might also experience any of the symptoms we described for more general spinal cord problems. You might have paralysis, tingling limbs, or numbness.

A doctor might operate in these instances to relieve the pressure on the disk, but they have to be very careful if they do. If they cause further damage, you might not be able to walk again. Most doctors consider surgery in these instances to be a last resort, and they often suggest something less invasive.

Fractured Vertebrae

Most fully-grown adults have 24 vertebrae in their spines. They are bones that support the body and give your back its structure. They also offer protection for the spinal cord, which runs all the way through them.

Car crashes often have bending and twisting actions, and the body must go where the force acting on it leads. If you’re in a high-speed collision, the vertebrae can fracture.

What frequently happens in such instances is that bone chips protrude into your spinal canal. The vertebrae can even shift so that it’s out of position in extreme cases. This can compress the spinal cord.

Like the other injuries we’ve described, you’ll have to get imaging to reveal what’s happening in there.

Unless you have a compound fracture, meaning that a bone protrudes from the skin, you’ll never see on the surface the damage that’s happened inside your back. Surgical options sometimes exist, and a doctor might offer an injection for the pain in some instances.

Muscle Strains

A muscle strain is relatively minor as compared to these other injuries we’ve described. You can strain muscles in your neck or back if a car hits your vehicle. What might shock you is that you can injure your back or neck in this way, even in what seems at the time like a minor fender bender.

If you hear the term whiplash, that’s often what a doctor or another medical professional is describing. It’s what usually happens when your body jerks violently. Your head and neck whipping abruptly backward and forward is the culprit.

You might tear the muscles in your back or neck. When that happens, you’re looking at weeks or months of recovery time, but most doctors do not consider these injuries to be as serious as vertebrae fractures.

You can probably get over these injuries with rest, ice packs, over-the-counter pain meds, etc. You might have to miss some work while you’re on the shelf with this type of damage.

You might have to deal with acute or chronic pain if you get in a car wreck that causes a neck or back injury. Ideally, you will get over the damage in time, and it will not impact your life for more than a few weeks or a couple of months.

If the injury is more severe, that’s when you’ll want to pursue a lawsuit if another driver caused what happened. You’ll need a lawyer who can prove what happened based on the physical evidence.

Neck and back injuries can be some of the most annoying that there are, as they can linger. All you can do is hope that with the best that medical science has to offer these days, you can both alleviate the pain and start on the path toward a full recovery. It goes to show you, though, how dangerous cars can accidents can be.

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