December 7, 2022 | Car Accidents
Despite the invention and use of airbags and seat belts, neck and spinal cord injuries are still common after car accidents. According to a 2022 article from the United Spinal Association, nearly four out of every ten spinal cord injuries occur as the result of a car crash.
The spinal cord is just one part of the neck and back. In addition to this vital neurological conduit, the back and neck consist of muscles, tissues, and bones. Any one of these components can sustain injuries in a car accident.
Common Ways You May Hurt Your Back and Neck in a Wreck
Whether another driver hits you head-on or strikes you at an intersection, any type of motor vehicle accident can harm your neck or back. The speeds of the vehicles involved and the safety equipment in use at the time of the crash will determine the severity of your injuries.
Some common ways a collision might injure your neck and back include:
Neck Strains and Ligament Sprains
Ligaments are tissues that connect your bones to each other at your joints, such as your shoulder. Muscles are soft tissues with a variety of functions.
Sprains, which affect ligaments, and strains, which impact muscles, are injuries in which external forces stretch or tear the affected tissue.
Although uncomfortable, these injuries are minor and generally get better on their own. You may need over-the-counter pain medicine or ice to help manage your symptoms.
A bone fracture is a bone that suffers a complete or partial break. Car crashes can result in a fracture to the clavicle, the thin bones that run from the breastbone to the shoulder joints. Although the clavicle is strong, it is not impervious to damage. A broken clavicle can require treatment with ice, pain medication, and a sling.
Of more significant concern are fractures to the bones that comprise the neck. These bones, called cervical vertebrae, house the spinal cord as it descends from the brain and extends to the upper and lower back. Fractures to these bones can also damage the spinal cord.
Bulging and Herniated Spinal Discs
The individual vertebrae of the back and neck are separated from one another and cushioned by fluid-filled sacs called discs. The fluid inside the discs can become concentrated on one side or the other, causing the disc to bulge. Or they may rupture completely and become herniated.
Disc Herniation, a medical book published in 2022, reports that between 5 and 20 people out of every 1,000 experience a herniated disc each year.
While bulging discs do not always cause pain, a herniated disc can be very painful. Recovering from a herniated disc may call for bed rest, medication, and physical therapy.
Injuries To the Spinal Cord
Although the spinal column protects the spinal cord, it is still susceptible to injury. The rapid back-and-forth motions of your body, typical in multiple-vehicle car wrecks, can injure the spinal cord. More severe and violent crashes can cause permanent damage.
When the spinal cord suffers an injury, you may feel tremendous pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in your arms or legs. Severe spinal cord injuries can lead to permanent paralysis.
Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident To Treat Your Injuries
Although some types of injuries appear more frequently in car wrecks, the harm you can sustain in a crash will depend on the specific factors of the accident. If you experience any strange sensations or are just concerned about your well-being after a crash, speaking with a medical professional can help.
Receiving appropriate medical care is essential to minimizing the long-term consequences of a back or neck injury after a car accident.
Contact the Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
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