Vehicle accidents are not uncommon throughout the state of California. In general, most vehicle accidents result in only minor property damage and relatively minor injuries. However, one of the most common injuries in the aftermath of a vehicle crash is neck pain. Some people are quick to write off neck pain as “no big deal” following a collision. However, neck pain must be taken seriously. Regardless of whether or not a person is experiencing neck pain after a severe crash or a minor crash, the pain could be indicative of a major underlying problem. Here, we want to discuss some of the most common causes of neck pain after a car accident.
Common Causes of Neck Pain After a Car Accident
Muscle spasms. Muscle spasms that occur in the aftermath of a vehicle accident are sometimes minor, and they may resolve on their own. However, this could be a symptom of a much more severe spinal column disc injury.
Neck sprains and strains (whiplash). Whiplash is the most common injury in the aftermath of a vehicle accident, and this involves the muscles in the neck becoming strained due to the rapid back and forth motion the body endures in a vehicle accident. This can affect the soft tissues of the neck, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Spinal disc injuries. When a vehicle accident occurs, the head and neck can be subjected to extreme forces. This can cause the spinal cord to suffer a serious injury. If a spinal disc herniates, ruptures, bulges, or slips, it can lead to intense pain, weakness, numbness, or a burning sensation throughout the body.
Cervical fracture (broken neck). The cervical bones in a person’s neck help protect the spinal cord and stabilize the head and neck. A cervical fracture is a serious injury and will involve one or more of the seven cervical vertebrae in the upper area of our spine. Cervical fractures can lead to a more severe spinal cord injury.
Cervical dislocation. If one or more of the cervical bones are forced out of place, this could lead to a cervical dislocation. This injury can be corrected, but it can also result in a more severe spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are the most severe type of injury that can occur in a vehicle accident. This can lead to partial or complete paralysis, and any suspected spinal cord injuries must be treated immediately.
Seek Medical Care Immediately Following a Crash
It is crucial that any person involved in an accident seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if the incident does not seem severe, and even if there is no pain right after a crash occurs, it is important to let a doctor conduct an evaluation. The signs and symptoms of many accident injuries, particularly those in the neck area, may not appear until hours or days after the collision occurs. Seeking medical care quickly not only ensures the well being of the crash victim, but it also establishes a direct link between the injury and the collision.