Neck injuries are the most common injuries in a car accident. They are usually caused by the whiplash back-and-forth action where the head and neck whip forward and then back. This whiplash action is caused by the deceleration forces of the accident.
Car accident neck injuries vary greatly in severity -- from minor soft tissue injuries to serious nerve and spine injuries.
Let's look at the most common types of traumatic car accident neck injuries.
Neck sprain. Ligaments are tissue that connects bones and stabilizes joints. Neck sprains happen when these ligaments are stretched or torn, which can cause pain and stiffness.
Neck strain. The neck has many muscles that are necessary to control and stabilize the head. Neck strains happened when these muscles are stretched or torn. Sometimes, these are called "pulled muscles," or “hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries” or “whiplash”. They often occur when the muscles are suddenly and powerfully contracted or when they stretch unusually far.
Herniated Disc. Whiplash and deceleration movements of the neck put pressure on the discs between the vertebrae, which can cause the discs to bulge or herniate. Sometimes these are called "slipped discs" or "ruptured discs."
If the bulge is on the side of the disc next to the spinal canal, the bulge can press against the nerves in the spine. This pressure can cause pain, numbness and weakness along the nerve.
Cervical Radiculopathy (pinched nerve). The spine is full of nerves that run from the spine throughout the body. Nerves in the neck (cervical spine) travel down into the arms. When a nerve is irritated or pinched in the neck, by either a bone spur or a herniated disc, it can cause numbness, tingling and radiating pain into the arms. These radiating symptoms are called cervical radiculopathy.
Neck injuries are not always apparent immediately after an accident. Adrenaline and endorphins that many people experience after an accident can mask the pain of serious neck injuries. After a car accident, watch for these common symptoms of neck injuries:
- pain in your neck
- pain in your shoulders, arms or hands
- reduced range of motion in your neck
- numbness, weakness and slower reflexes in your arms and hands, and
- muscle spasms in your neck.
We help people who have been suffered neck injuries in car accidents. We offer a free consultation so that you may discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney. Contact us online or call our St. Louis office at 314-862-6865 to schedule your free initial consultation. When you meet with us, ask about:
- Evening and weekend appointments
- Home and hospital visits
- No attorneys fees unless you collect