What Are The most common car accident injuries?
Car accidents can cause numerous types of personal injuries, some that are serious.
Car accident injuries in Raleigh can cause expensive medical bills, time in the hospital, missed time from work, injuries that last for years, and even require surgery.
Here are the most common injuries one experiences after a car accident:
Most common car accident injury #1: Whiplash
- The neck and head are very exposed in a car accident. During the force of an impact, the head and neck are whipped forwards and backward like a whip. causing hyperflexion and hyperextension injuries to the ligaments and muscles in the neck.
- Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, tingling in the arms, and muscle spasms in the neck and upper back.
Some Expert Tips To Help Prevent and Treat Whiplash:
Make sure your headrest is even with the back of your head in your vehicle. Improper placement of a headrest can lead to greater bodily injury.
Use ice heavily on your neck for the first 72 hours. Ice decreases inflammation and increases healing time. Seek treatments, like chiropractic and physical therapy, as soon as possible. The mobilization of neck joints and strengthening of the muscles in the neck decreases pain and increases healing time, as well as long-term outcomes.
Most common car accident injury 2: Headaches
- Headaches are common injuries experienced after a car accident. Headaches typically result from trauma to the head and neck during a car accident. There are several different types of headaches we see as practitioners after a car accident.
- Post-traumatic headaches - this type of headache is caused by injury and trauma to the head and neck, usually from whiplash to the neck joints, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. The pain can be described as throbbing, deep, constant, and sometimes does not appear for several days or even weeks after the car accident.
- Headaches as the result of a concussion - headaches after an accident can occur after a concussion. The jarring of the brain can cause an inflammatory process in the head which causes headaches. There may be a loss of consciousness with the concussion, or not. Symptoms of a post-concussive headache may include loss of memory, dizziness, anxiety, speech disturbance, headaches, balance problems, ringing in the ears, depression, anxiety, and confusion.
If you’ve experienced a concussion and headaches after a car accident makes sure to seek immediate medical attention. See a Neurologist or Neuropsychologist immediately.
Most common car accident injury 3: Back injuries
- Mid and low back injuries are very common after a car accident. Injuries to the mid and lower back can cause muscle spasms and contractions which may last for several months after a car accident. Muscles and ligaments can overstretch around the vertebrae in the back, which can create instability of the vertebrae for quite some time after the accident. Some people may have pre-existing spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis, bulging discs, or arthritis which will become aggravated by an acute injury such as a car accident.
- If you’ve injured your back after a car accident uses ice for 72 hours on and off for 15 minutes at a time. Rest your back if you have a job that requires physical activity. Consider taking a few days off work to rest your back. Seek chiropractic care and physical therapy very soon in order to bring down your back pain, increase your strength and mobility in your back.
Most common car accident injury #4: Herniated discs
- Herniated discs happen from the powerful and fast impact that happens during a car accident. The gravitational forces generated during accident travel through the spine which causes the spinal disc to rupture or herniate. Symptoms of a herniated disc can include shooting sharp pain into the arms or legs, numbness into the arms or legs, pain radiating from the neck or lower back into the arms or legs, sharp burning pain in the neck or back, muscle spasms, and headaches. Herniated discs can take six months to a year to fully heal and in severe cases may require surgical intervention.
- If you think you have signs and symptoms of a herniated disc after a car accident seeks immediate medical attention. MRIs are the best imaging tools to diagnose a herniated disc in your spine. Ask your healthcare provider for advice on getting an MRI to document a herniated disc after a car accident.
Most common car accident injury #5: Shoulder and knee injuries
- Shoulder and knee injuries can happen in an instant during a car accident. The arms are restricted by the limited space within the car and can be thrown into the adjacent doors or front consoles. If you’re experiencing unresolved shoulder pain after a car accident, or weakness or inability to raise your arms, you may have experienced a significant shoulder injury. It’s not uncommon to tear ligaments of the rotator cuff or labrum after a car accident.
- Injuries to the knee can occur when the feet are planted down hard on the floor of the car during a car accident or when the knee strikes the front console of the car. Keep an eye out for swelling, bruising, pain when walking, weakness, and instability in the legs after a car accident, as this may be a sign of a more serious injury to the knee.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you’ve experienced an injury to your knees or shoulders after a car accident. Swelling, weakness, pain, instability in the knees and shoulders can be a sign of a more serious knee or shoulder injury.
- X-rays and CT scans may show fractures, dislocations, or bony pathologies in the shoulders and knees. Talk with your medical providers about obtaining an MRI of the shoulder or knee to determine if you may have experienced a torn or ruptured ligament or labrum.
In summary, car accident injuries can cause bodily injury which can take months or sometimes years to fully resolve. Working with medical providers experienced in treating these injuries is an important part of one’s optimal treatment and recovery.
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.