Cervical Injuries as a Result of Car Accidents

Cervical Injuries and Car Accidents

Neck pain after an accident can take a toll on your body and your physical ability to participate in daily activities. It can weigh on your emotions, causing fear and anxiety. It can impair your work performance and life enjoyment. It can potentially lead to dependence on pain medications.

Neck injuries are caused by trauma or damage to the structures of the neck, including muscles, soft tissue, and the vertebrae and discs in the cervical spine. The most common symptoms of a neck injury are neck pain, muscle tightness and spasms, headaches, numbness, weakness or tingling in the arms or hands.

Whiplash can happen when you have been in motor vehicle accidents, especially if you have been rear-ended. The occupants experience a sudden, unexpected acceleration, usually followed by rapid deceleration. The driver’s and passengers’ mid-spines absorb the force of that acceleration and transmit it upwards.  The neck releases that energy in a violent forward-and-back motion, causing damage to the soft tissue. Whiplash injuries can leave you with serious and sometimes chronic neck pain. Whiplash can leave you with neck stiffness and pain, injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries), headaches, dizziness, sensations such as burning or numbness or tingling, shoulder or upper back pain.

The spine, which surrounds and protects the spinal cord, is made up of bones (vertebrae) and, in between them, spongy discs that act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to flex. Those discs contain a gel-like fluid that gives them their shock-absorbing qualities. When the outer covering of the disc ruptures and the fluid in the disc pokes out, this is known as a herniated disc.  A herniated disc located in the upper part of the spinal column is a herniated cervical disc.

A cervical disc herniation can be a result of an auto accident.  When a cervical disc herniates, it can press on nerves and/or the spinal cord and can cause neck pain and numbness or tingling in the shoulders and arms. These conditions may continue or may even worsen.

An accident that forces the head to the side can damage the nerves that supply feeling to the arm, known as the brachial plexus.  The resulting pinching, bruising, or stretching of the nerves can result in a painful condition a shooting pain in the neck or shoulder, often accompanied by numbness, tingling, pain or even weakness in the arm or hand.

If you have been in an accident, please call our office to be checked out.  If you suffer from neck pain you could receive medical help and get relief from your injury.  Give our office a call at (818)881-2225. We are located in Tarzana, close to Reseda, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Northridge, Encino and West Hills. Please give our office a call at (818)881-BACK.

Author
Dr. Steve Perry D.C.

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