Neck injuries and associated pain complaints are quite common in car accidents. Depending on the type of car accident you are in you may experience rotational injury or back and forth injury – typically called whiplash.
In rear end car accident or head on collisions, the force of the sudden impact typically causes your neck to move forcefully front to back or back to front. Upon impact, the rapid acceleration or deceleration of your neck can cause various injuries to your neck itself. This is especially true where you are wearing your seatbelt as the seatbelt acts to restrain the lower body’s movement without such restriction to the head. These neck injuries can include damage to the spinal structure by damaging the spine, discs, ligaments, nerves or other tissues.
In other accidents such as t-bone accidents, sideswipes, or rollovers, the forces exerted on the neck may be side to side or rotational. These accidents may lead to even greater injury of the neck as the neck is build for front to back movement, not side to side.
Greater risk of injury may occur based on the position of the neck at impact (looking down, looking to the side, etc.) or even seat location (reclining seat or distance between seat and steering wheel or airbag).
THE CERVICAL SPINE
The spine is separated into three areas – cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. The cervical spine refers to the portion of the spine which includes your neck. It is made up of seven (7) vertebrae. Each vertebral level of the cervical spine is numbered in sequential order starting with C1. C1 is the first and highest vertebrae located just below the skull. C7 is the lowest and last cervical level just above your scapula or shoulders. These seven vertebrae make up the entire cervical spine.
Between each of the vertebrae from C1 to C7 are spinal discs that act as shock absorbers. They are numbered based on the vertebral discs they are between. For example, the C1-C2 disc refers to the spinal disc between the C1 and C2 vertebrae. The spinal discs are made up of a gel-like cushion center called a nucleus and think outer layer called the annulus. You can analogize these spinal discs to jelly donuts where the jelly is the nucleus, and the outer donut is the nucleus.
The cervical spine acts also as superhighway for nerves that go down your arms. Disruption of these nerves can cause abnormal feelings into your arms, hands, or even fingers. The disruption pain may feel like a burning sensation, pins and needles, numbness, or weakness.
HOW IS WHIPLASH DIAGNOSED?
Whiplash can typically be diagnosed by medical providers based on your symptoms. However, should you experience significant enough symptoms, or out of an abundance of caution, your medical provider may refer you for diagnostic testing. Diagnostic testing can include CT scans or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida, a timely CT or MRI of your neck can help correlate your injury to the accident.
TYPES OF NECK INJURIES FROM CAR ACCIDENTS
Car accidents frequently cause neck Injuries. Sometimes, these injuries result in a few days of stiffness. Other times, these injuries can result in severe pain, weakness, burning sensation, numbness, bowel incontinence, or even paralysis. Injuries to the neck may be permanent
Some of those injuries include:
Bulging Disc – bulging discs result where a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed into the tough outer layer of the disc called the annulus.
Herniated Disc – herniated discs result where a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed out of the annulus through a tear in the annulus.
Extruded Disc – extruded discs is a type of herniation where the disc nucleus is not only pushed out of the annulus through a tear in the annulus, but extends either above or below the disc level.
Nerve Irritation – nerve irritation can often result from herniated discs as the result of the disc nucleus placing pressure on one or more nerves. It is typical for cervical nerve irritation to cause pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness down the arms extremities.
Fractured Vertebrae – Fractured vertebraes can be classified by fracture pattern, such as flexion, extension, or rotation. The severity of fracture can vary along with necessary treatment. Compression fractures are typically stable and need only be monitored. Burst fractures may require immediate surgical intervention.
Paralysis – Paralysis can occur in a number of ways but are many times are the result of Spinal Cord Injury.
Headaches – These headaches are trauma related and frequently start at the base of the skull
WHAT TYPE OF TREATMENT DO I NEED FOR WHIPLASH INJURY?
The answer to this question depends on the severity of injury you sustained. Some injuries simply require rest. Some injuries may result in the need for conservative care while others may require immediate or delayed surgical intervention.
However, treatment for whiplash injury may include:
• Ice or Heat Packs
• Chiropractic Care or other Conservative Treatment
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory medications
• Physical Therapy
• Epidural Steroid Injections
• Nerve Blocks
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
As soon as you can. If you live in Florida and were injured in a car accident, Florida law requires you seek treatment within fourteen (14) days of the crash in order to utilize valuable insurance benefits. Failing to treat within this fourteen-day period will likely result in your insurance company denying any payment for needed medical care.
Additionally, the sooner you treat for your injury(ies) the easier it may be to correlate your injury to the accident. This will help you, and your attorney, establish that it was your accident that caused your injury rather than some other event. Seeking immediate medical care also helps address your injuries and begin the treatment process.
NECK INJURY ATTORNEY
Neck injuries from car accidents are serious. If you or a loved one has suffered a whiplash or neck injury due to a car accident, it is important to seek immediate medical care. Neck injuries can have long lasting ramifications. Before you speak with the insurance companies, consider contacting an experienced neck injury attorney.
If you or a loved one has suffered a whiplash or neck injury, contact Presser Law, P.A. Attorney Justin Presser has over 13 years of experience with neck pain injuries and would be honored to speak with you. Contact us today for your free case review and discuss your claim.
GET YOUR FREE CAR ACCIDENT, INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH CASE REVIEW WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been injured in a car accident or recently lost a loved on, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights. For over 10 years, Justin Presser has represented car accident and injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and he would be honored to help you as well.
About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser
Justin H. Presser is an award-winning lawyer and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more. With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas: Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park; Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota; Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.
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