On average in the United States, there are six million auto accidents every year. These can affect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians and can result in a huge number of physical and psychological injuries.
Neck and back injuries are particularly common after a car accident. It is important that you take time to recover from these properly to prevent long-term damage.
So what are some of these injuries and how can they affect you? Read on to find out more about some of the most common neck and back injuries after a car accident.
The lumbar region of your spine is located towards the base of it. So if you are experiencing any lower back pain, this is probably to do with lumbar damage. Excessive force against the back often results in injuries to this area.
If your back absorbed a lot of force during your accident, this may have caused it to stretch too much. This may result in a sprain, which can make moving around very difficult.
Sprains don’t show up on medical imaging or tests. However, a doctor will be able to diagnose them based on your symptoms.
You should recover over time, provided you get plenty of rest. Ice packs can help manage the pain of sprains, while certain physiotherapy exercises will help strengthen your back again.
Stenosis is another name for the abnormal narrowing of a channel in your body. This can occur anywhere in your body.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the bone channel of your spine starts to narrow. This can put pressure on the nerves and spinal cord that sit within the spinal canal itself.
This can happen naturally as you age. However, during an accident, a ruptured disc or bone fragment can work its way into the spinal canal. This causes premature spinal stenosis.
In order to resolve this, you may have to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal canal. It is very important to treat spinal stenosis as soon as possible in order to prevent permanent damage to the spinal nerves or cord.
Your spine is made up of vertebrae, and between each of these is a cushioning disc. These usually lie in line with your spine.
However, during an accident, they can be knocked out of place. When this happens, their soft inner lining may start to come out through the tougher casing. This is known as disc herniation.
While it sounds painful, disc herniation itself doesn’t actually hurt. However, if the inner material of your discs makes contact with the nerves surrounding it, this can be very painful.
Herniated discs don’t usually require surgery. In fact, they can heal on their own using a combination of rest and physiotherapy exercises. In the meantime, a doctor may prescribe pain relief medication or recommend using ice or heat packs.
Thoracic Spine Injuries
Your thoracic spine covers the middle and upper part of your back. In the middle of your back, your vertebrae are much narrower, and this can make them more vulnerable to auto accident injuries.
Because of this, fractures are particularly common in the thoracic section of your spine.
Obviously, unlike other fractures, you cannot put a plaster cast on your spine to keep it in position while it heals. In some cases, a doctor may provide a back brace instead, to limit your movement.
They will also recommend that you limit your activity and provide pain relief medication. Medications that help stabilize bone density can help to speed up the healing process.
Depending on how well your spine heals after a fracture, you may also need further corrective surgery.
Neck Sprains or Whiplash
During an accident, your neck is very exposed. This is because, unlike the rest of your body, it isn’t held in position by a seatbelt, so it has little to no protection.
Because of this, whiplash, or neck sprain, is an extremely common neck injury after a car accident. This is especially true if someone rear-ends your car.
Whiplash occurs when your neck has to move in a sudden and uncontrolled way, often as the result of force. When this happens, it can damage the bones, discs, ligaments, nerves, and muscles in the neck. This often depends on the direction of movement during an accident.
Recovering from whiplash can take a while depending on the extent of the damage, but generally, this takes a few weeks. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication and a treatment plan to help rebuild strength in your neck.
Unfortunately for some people, neck sprains can result in chronic, long-term neck pain. People who are older or have pre-existing back and neck conditions are more likely to suffer long-term complications from whiplash. If you find that your pain doesn’t improve or go away after a month, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor.
Get Help With Your Neck and Back Injuries Today
If you have been involved in an auto accident, then it’s quite possible that you have suffered neck or back injuries.
As you can see, recovering from these requires a lot of careful rest. This may mean that you have to take time off work.
To get support recovering from your injuries, you may want to make a claim with your auto insurance or sue a liable party. In that case, you need an experienced auto accident lawyer on your side.
Fortunately, we’re here to help! Get in touch today to organize a free consultation with one of our experts.