Auto accidents are never fun, but they can go from being a minor inconvenience to a major hassle if you suffer from an injury during the accident. In fact, vehicle accidents often cause neck and head injuries, which can have long-lasting and far-reaching complications if not identified and properly treated. Look for some of the signs of these common neck injuries if you were recently involved in an accident.
The most common of all auto accident-related neck injuries is whiplash. This injury is the result of a sudden hyperextension of the neck (your head goes backward), followed by an equally sudden hyperflexion of the neck (your head goes forward) causing significant damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscles in the neck. While this injury can be broken down into as many as four different phases, the time that elapses from start to finish is usually less than half a second.
Many people do not take whiplash very seriously, or believe that they did not suffer from this type of injury because they don’t immediately feel it following an accident. However, some whiplash injuries can take several months or even years to manifest fully, and it’s important to seek treatment as soon as you notice a problem.
Disc or Vertebrae Injuries
The force on your body during an accident is often absorbed in your back and neck, which means that the discs and vertebrae inside your spine can become compressed, crushed, or herniated. All these things can lead to back, neck, shoulder, and leg pain and can make everyday activities difficult.
Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Brain injuries are also common following auto accidents because of the forces on the brain—even at low speeds. Your brain is surrounded by fluid that keeps your soft brain in balance inside your much harder skull. During an accident the force cause the brain to bounce forward and backward against the skull, which can lead to bleeding, bruising, and other damage. In mild cases this can cause a concussion, in more severe instances a loss of consciousness, and in the most severe situations it can lead to permanent damage to some of the cognitive functions of the brain. In addition, these head injuries can cause confusion, sleep disturbance, forgetfulness, and even emotional instability.
If you notice symptoms such as neck pain, fatigue, headache, and upper back or shoulder pain, changes in sleep patterns or cognitive abilities, memory issues, difficulty concentrating, or even pain that manifests in other areas of the body such as the lower back, it might be related to an accident.
Even if it’s been several weeks, months, or years since your auto accident, talk to a chiropractor today to find out what solutions are available to treat these injuries and help reduce the long-term pain.