Low-Impact Car Accidents Can Cause Serious Cervical Spine Injuries
People can injure their necks even in low impact car accidents. Neck injuries can be hard to identify because symptoms do not necessarily manifest themselves for a few days or even weeks after a car accident.
Given the shock and trauma associated with being involved in a motor vehicle accident, an accurate self-assessment of the severity of your injury can be challenging. Even serious cervical spine injuries might not immediately result in significant pain. If you obtain immediate medical diagnosis and treatment, medical records will provide objective evidence of your injuries. You will also have a better chance of a positive prognosis for a serious injury if you obtain prompt medical attention.
Whiplash is a Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Neck pain may be an indication of whiplash, which is a common injury experienced in auto accidents. Whiplash can result from the sudden jolt of a collision that causes to your neck to move suddenly and puts stress on your neck muscles and vertebra. Some accident victims do not realize that an untreated neck injury from a car accident often turns into debilitating arthritis leading to serious pain and permanent disability. Some studies show that almost half of all whiplash victims develop arthritis within a few years of their auto accident.
If you start to feel neck pain within a week of an automobile accident, you should make an appointment with a doctor immediately. Common symptoms of whiplash include chronic neck pain or even a general soreness of the neck that lasts for a few days. If you are having difficulty moving your head backward and forward or side to side, you might be experiencing whiplash. Symptoms of whiplash could last months or even years after an accident. Accident victims might need to see several doctors and specialists while missing time off work and obtaining ongoing treatment and rehabilitative therapy. The costs of the medical treatment for serious whiplash type injuries can create a significant financial strain.
The Symptoms and Prognosis of Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
The cervical area of the spine involves the top area of the spinal cord, and comprises of seven neck vertebrae (C-1 to C-7). Cervical spinal cord injuries are often more serious than other spinal cord injuries due to their close proximity to the brain. These injuries also affect a great area of the body. In many cases, when the cervical area sustains a serious injury, the injury victim could suffer tetraplegia/quadriplegia. When someone suffers from tetraplegia/quadriplegia, they suffer limited or no feeling below their shoulders or neck.
Cervical spinal cord injuries may involve the partial loss of or permanent loss of sensory function, and several other associated medical issues. Spinal cord injuries located higher along the spine will produce more serious injuries. Moreover, high cervical spinal cord injuries are often fatal.
To properly diagnose and determine the severity of spinal cord injuries, physicians perform several diagnostic tests. For example, a doctor will check the injury victim’s sensation and strength in their legs and arms. Treating physicians will also use imaging assessment tools to find spine abnormalities and fractures.
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