If you are like most people, the possibility of a neck injury probably never crossed your mind when you entered a car or a truck. Then you were injured in an accident.
There are several types of neck injuries, also called injuries to the cervical spine. The two biggest causes of spinal injuries are falls and vehicular incidents. Between 2010 and 2015, 38 percent of spinal cord injuries were due to vehicular accidents.
How Accidents Cause Neck Injuries
If you are in a car or truck accident, your neck injuries might be mild or severe. In most cases, damage affects soft tissue. However, it can also involve muscles, ligaments, tendons, facet joints and your spinal cord.
Sudden impact from a vehicle that strikes yours can cause serious neck sprains. Some neck injuries irritate nerve roots or affect the spinal cord. A herniated disc is one byproduct. The end result is damage to your nervous system that could be difficult to diagnose and that might result in disability or death.
Whiplash often occurs to occupants of a vehicle that has been rear ended. It happens when vehicle impact causes your head to be thrown into hyperextension, then propelled forward quickly. In addition to causing sprains and strains, this sudden movement also damages discs or joints, causing irritation to nerve roots or your spinal cord. Since symptoms might not appear right away, you need to watch out for physical ailments for a few days after an accident. Making sure your head restraint is directly behind your head can help lower the risk of whiplash.
Any type of significant vehicle impact can also cause a neck fracture, a break in one of your cervical bones. Sometimes it causes dislocation, where the bone moves away from its normal location and creates spinal instability. With a severe injury, you might also suffer ruptured ligaments. Injury sometimes occurs when you strike the dashboard or other hard surface inside the vehicle.
An injury to the spinal cord itself can be the result of a dislocation, fracture, or other type of neck injury. The most serious injuries involve damage to the third or a higher cervical vertebra.
How to Get Relief
While a majority of people in minor accidents recover quickly, others experience symptoms of injuries for years or even for the remainder of one’s life. Getting checked out by a doctor is a necessary action.
Traditionally, if you have a minor or moderate sprain or strain, ice the area, rest, and taking an anti-inflammatory drug may do the trick. This particular approach can be helpful with muscular-type injuries.
However, advancements in medicine in the past thirty years have seen tremendous strides towards pain relief for so-called “soft-tissue” injuries. Treatments like facet block injections, radiofrequency ablation/rhizolysis, platelet rich plasma injections, and A2M injections have the potential to provide significant—and, in some cases, complete—pain relief. Still, some injuries, such as disc herniation and spinal structure fractures, continue to require more invasive spinal neurosurgery. Herniated disc treatment typically includes medication, physical therapy, and/or surgery. If you have a fracture or a dislocation, you are likely to wear a stabilizing collar or undergo surgery.
Treatment options for whiplash can be fairly simple and start with conservative care remedies. Often, a prescription for pain or a muscle relaxant and wearing a collar to keep your neck stable can alleviate pain symptoms. Applying ice or heat and undergoing physical therapy that includes range-of-motion exercises at home are important. Good posture and relaxation techniques can lead to a quicker recovery.
However, if the pain persists, it is important to consult with a professional to determine if advanced breakthroughs can ameliorate your pain symptoms. The Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill is not only on the cutting edge of law, they strive to stay up-to-date on medical advances for spinal injury as well to ensure clients receive the best care available.
If you are injured in a car or truck accident as the result of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you could be entitled to compensation to cover your costs. In addition to seeing prompt medical attention, contact the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill if you have experienced in neck, back, and spinal injury claims today to discuss your options.