top of page

Neck Pain After A Car Accident

Updated: May 6

May 116 2023

Neck Pain After An Accident

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.

Whiplash Neck Pain After A Car Accident
Whiplash Neck Pain After A Car Accident

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

  • Muscle spasms

  • Memory problems

  • 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

  • High-speed crash

  • 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:

  1. Cervical Spondylolisthesis: A collision can force vertebrae out of alignment, compressing nerves or the spinal cord and causing pain in your head or shoulders.

  2. 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.

  3. Neck Sprain or Strain: Strains affect muscles, tendons, or tissues, while sprains involve torn ligaments, both causing pain and reduced mobility.

  4. Pinched Nerve: Many neck injuries can lead to pinched nerves, causing severe pain and tingling.

  5. Stiff Muscles and Tendons: Neck pain often leads to stiffness and discomfort.

  6. Facet Joint Injury: These joints can become inflamed or irritated after a collision, resulting in pain.

  7. Neck Fracture or Compression: A fractured cervical spine is a severe injury requiring immediate medical care.

  8. Cuts and Lacerations: Debris can cause cuts that may damage neck tendons and ligaments.

  9. 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:

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  1 (800) 929-0849 for New York personal injury doctor near me.


Injurymap, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

By BruceBlaus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


bottom of page