Motor vehicle crashes are among the most traumatic events that people have to experience. The force and impact of a collision can be startling to say the least, and after this type of accident, you may consider yourself lucky to walk away with just a few minor scrapes and bruises. What you may not realize is that there could be lingering effects from the crash that do not show up until later on.
One common problem that happens to those who are involved in auto accidents is a neck or back injury. But oftentimes, you might not notice this type of injury right away. This is because of the adrenaline rush people often experience when they are involved in a crash, which masks the pain that is normally associated with the injury.
Common Types of Neck and Back Injuries that are Caused by Auto Accidents
The human body is very resilient, but it is not always equipped to withstand the effects of a traumatic vehicle crash without injury. The inertia from the impact of the crash will often result in a sudden forward and back jerking motion, which can throw a lot of things out of place, particularly in your neck and back. There is a common misconception that moderate to severe injuries like these only happen during high impact crashes when the car is totaled, but these injuries can happen even in seemingly minor collisions, such as a fender bender.
If you are experiencing neck and/or back pain after a car crash, it could be a sign of one of the following injuries:
- Whiplash: The rapid, jerking back and forth movement can result in a soft tissue injury called whiplash. This happens when the head is suddenly thrown back and forth in a motion that resembles the cracking of a whip, and it can cause serious damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and discs in the neck. Whiplash is among the most common types of injuries caused by an auto accident. In particular, this injury happens frequently to the lead driver in a rear-end accident, because they often are caught by surprise and unable to brace for the impact of the crash.
- Herniated Disc: Severe pressure on the back during a vehicle crash can cause a spinal disc to bulge up and get thrown out of place. This can result in extreme pain in the affected area and difficulty with lifting or moving.
- Spinal Stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which often applies extreme pressure to the nerves that are traveling through it. Spinal stenosis happens most often in the neck (cervical stenosis) or in the lower back (lumbar stenosis), and it is characterized by neck or back pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg, leg cramps, and difficulty with walking and balance.
- Fractured Vertebrae: Trauma to the neck and back can result in fracturing of the bones that protect the spinal column, known as the vertebrae. Left untreated, fractured vertebrae can result in more severe and debilitating conditions.
- Spinal Cord Injury: The spinal cord is absolutely essential for the body to function properly, because it is the pathway for messages to transmit from the brain to different parts of the body. Spinal cord injuries can be extremely serious (depending on the severity) and can result in numbness in the affected area, restricted or lost mobility, and in the worst cases, partial or total paralysis.
In addition to neck and back pain, some of the other symptoms that may indicate one of the above injuries after a car accident include:
- Neck or back stiffness
- Limited range of motion
- Limited flexibility
- Muscle tension
- Shoulder pain
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Stabbing or shooting pains
- Difficulty standing or walking correctly
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after a vehicle crash, get medical attention immediately. Do not assume that the symptoms you are experiencing will go away on their own. Even if they seem like minor annoyances now, they could get worse as time goes on if you do not address them.
By getting checked out right away, you will know what you are dealing with and receive the proper treatment to get back on the road to recovery. Once you have taken this important step, get in touch with an attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact an Experienced Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or someone close to you was injured in a car crash in Pensacola or anywhere in the Florida Panhandle, Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett is ready to go to work for you. For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at 1-888-219-4561.