May 116 2023
Neck pain from a car accident often results in a stiff neck, similar to when your neck feels tight or uncomfortable. Neck pain, may begin right away or emerge in the hours or days following the incident.
Even if you've had a stiff neck before, a car crash can cause more severe damage, so it's crucial to seek prompt medical care.
Feeling pain after a car accident? A traumatic injury such as a spinal fracture, herniated disc, or whiplash may be to blame and require immediate medical attention.
In this article, we'll explain the causes of neck pain after a car accident, the affected areas in your neck, common symptoms, when to be concerned, risk factors, and types of neck injuries. We'll also discuss diagnosis, treatment options, and where to get help in New York.
Causes of Neck Pain from a Car Accident
During a car accident, your neck can experience sudden forward-backward jerking or forceful side-to-side movements due to the impact. Seat belts can restrain your body, but your neck often takes the brunt of the force.
Debris from inside or outside the vehicle can also hit your neck. Tensing up muscles before an accident can increase the risk of strain and damage to various neck tissues, including ligaments, muscles, discs, nerves, joints, tendons, or bones.
Areas of the Neck Affected
The neck is a delicate structure consisting of seven small bones called cervical vertebrae, surrounded by intervertebral discs and connected by facet joints.
These components allow your head to pivot. The neck is part of your spinal column, divided into two segments: the subaxial spine and the craniocervical junction. Injuries commonly involve cervical discs, strained or torn cervical ligaments, or other small tissues in the neck area.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries
After any vehicle accident, symptoms can range from mild to severe and may not appear immediately. Common symptoms of neck injuries after a car accident include:
Difficulty turning your neck after a car accident
Stiffness or heaviness in your neck caused by stretching in the neck muscles, joints, nerves, intervertebral discs, and ligaments.
Pain looking up or down
Throbbing painful headaches
Dizziness or nausea possibly vertigo
Sharp shooting pain
Neck or skull tenderness
Chills or fever sensation
Numbness in your back or shoulders
Extreme fatigue or lethargy
Trouble falling asleep
Mood swings irritability
Swelling and become inflammation
Numbness or tingling in your arms
Blurred vision or ringing in the ears
When to Take Neck Pain After a Car Accident Seriously
Feeling mild pain, stiffness, nausea, and excruciating pain after a car accident that you thought was just a mild fender bender? If you experience severe neck pain that persists for several days after an accident, it's crucial to consult an orthopedic specialist promptly. Many personal injury insurance plans (No-Fault), require immediate diagnosis and treatment after an accident to prevent further injury.
Common Neck Injury Risk Factors
Several factors can contribute to or worsen a neck injury, including:
Previous neck injury or trauma
Repetitive neck movements in your job
Poor posture or ergonomics
History of neck problems
Types of Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
Car accidents, even minor ones, can cause various neck injuries, such as:
Cervical Spondylolisthesis: A collision can force vertebrae out of alignment, compressing nerves or the spinal cord and causing pain in your head or shoulders.
Slipped or Herniated Disc: The discs in your cervical spine can slip or rupture during a collision, leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the neck or arms.
Neck Sprain or Strain: Strains affect muscles, tendons, or tissues, while sprains involve torn ligaments, both causing pain and reduced mobility.
Pinched Nerve: Many neck injuries can lead to pinched nerves, causing severe pain and tingling.
Stiff Muscles and Tendons: Neck pain often leads to stiffness and discomfort.
Facet Joint Injury: These joints can become inflamed or irritated after a collision, resulting in pain.
Neck Fracture or Compression: A fractured cervical spine is a severe injury requiring immediate medical care.
Cuts and Lacerations: Debris can cause cuts that may damage neck tendons and ligaments.
Muscle Spasms: Muscle cramps can occur due to muscle tension and inflammation.
Most Common Neck Injury: Whiplash
Whiplash is the most common neck injury after a car accident. It results from sudden hyperextension and hyperflexion of the cervical vertebrae, causing ligament sprains. Immediate treatment is recommended, as whiplash can lead to long-lasting symptoms.
Diagnosis Of Neck Pain After A Car Accident
Feeling Neck Pain After A Car Accident? It's probably a not-so-good sign to see a physician for evaluation If your feeling any pai in the neck after a car accident.
An Orthopedic Specialist They may use X-rays, CT scans, or MRI to check for traumatic cervical spinal cord damage. Depending on the severity, they may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. Immediate care is necessary to prevent chronic neck pain.
Treatment Options For Neck Pain After A Car Accident
Treatment for neck pain may include:
Applying ice and moist heat
Pain relievers like acetaminophen or NSAIDs
Short-term use of a cervical collar / neck brace
Epidural steroid injections
Surgery for severe car accident injuries
Seeing an Orthopedist or a Chiropractor After a Car Accident
Dealing with a car accident can be physically and emotionally challenging. The team at NYPMD New York Orthopedics can help you recover and regain your normal life.
If you're experiencing neck pain after an auto accident in New York, schedule an appointment with NYPMD New York Orthopedics for expert care. or Call 888-982-4846 for a New York personal injury doctor near me.
Injurymap, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
By BruceBlaus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44921287