Most Common Injuries of a Car Accident
A car accidents can be scary and stressful and may leave you with an injury as well as a damaged car. It is especially important to pay attention to how your body feels after the accident because some injuries and pain symptoms from a car crash may take days or even weeks to become apparent. Don’t wait… Within the first 72 hours your body is already starting to lay down the scar tissue that is needed for joint and muscle repair. If left unchecked, these injuries could lead to long term, or even permanent damage such as decreased mobility and arthritis.
Whiplash is one of the most common car-accident injuries. It happens when the car stops or turns suddenly, causing the neck to “whip” back and forth rapidly. Whiplash causes pain and injury to the muscles and tendons in your neck. Symptoms of whiplash after a car accident include neck pain and stiffness, worsening pain with neck movement, loss or range of motion, and headaches at the base of the skull.
While whiplash primarily affects the neck and shoulders, musculoskeletal injuries can happen to muscles, ligaments, tendons or nerves anywhere in your body that were stretched, compressed or bent during an accident. They can be just as painful as a broken bone and can limit your range of motion and ability to do everyday tasks. Be mindful of pain that worsens with activity, inflammation, or redness and swelling because these could all be symptoms of a soft-tissue injury.
There are several spinal injuries that can result from a car accident. When the spinal cord is damaged, you can end up with disc bulges and disc herniations. In more severe cases, spinal injury can lead to loss of movement or sensation in extremities. A herniated disc or a bulging disc can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arms or legs.
There are several spinal injuries that can result from a car accident. When enough pressure is put on the spinal column, a cord compression or damage can result. Spinal cord damage can be the result of pressure on the cord from a disc protrusion or disc bulge which can result in sharp pain with extremity symptoms. In more rare and severe cases, Cauda Equina syndrome , which is essentially an untethering of the cord can have life threatening outcomes. Any pain, especially those resulting in altered sensation, following an accident should be examined.
Concussions can result from your head being thrown back and forth, forcing your delicate brain to hit your skull. Concussions are a serious injury that can occur even if your head doesn’t make physical contact with anything. You may see signs of a concussion right away, such as headache, pressure, temporary loss of consciousness, seeing “stars,” dizziness, or ringing of the ears. Conversely it may take a few hours for symptoms to appear, and often times people overlook the symptoms thinking they are tired. In the days following a car accident be mindful of things like difficulty with concentration, memory, or focus.
The blunt force of a car accident can result in broken bones. The most common bones to break in a car accident are the extremities: hands, arms, feet, and legs. Often after bones have been reset and healed, physical therapy and chiropractic care are needed to restore full range of motion and proper function.