Symptoms and Causes of Neck Pain After Car Accident
Posted in Personal Injury on February 25, 2019
Ignoring neck pain following a motor vehicle collision is a common mistake that can lead to long-term injury and pain.
Often, a victim thinks that a minor “fender bender” or slip and fall couldn’t possibly cause a serious injury. However, where the soft tissue and tender ligaments are concerned within the musculo-skeletal structure of the neck, pain can signal an injury much more serious than one might expect.
It may be a pain to experience pain, but pain has a very important job to do. It is how the body communicates that something is wrong and deserves attention.
When the human neck undergoes an injury that involves twisting, impact or a whiplash motion, serious muscle, disc and tissue injuries can result.
Neck Anatomy and Neck Pain After a Car Accident
- DISCS: These serve as shock absorbers between vertebrae. They have a gelatinous substance within that absorbs impact. Damage to discs can result in chronic, permanent pain because discs do not heal or regenerate. It doesn’t take much to injure a disc. Neck trauma caused from a sudden impact, severe whiplash or serious twist can all cause a tear that will cause the gelatinous liquid to leak. An injury that creates abnormal pressure on a disc can cause it to herniate and protrude between vertebrae, no longer able to absorb impact. Instead, it becomes a constant source of pain.
- LIGAMENTS: These injuries can seem minor. Many torn or over-stretched ligaments are often mistakenly self-treated with hot/cold therapies with the idea that it just takes time to heal. However, a seriously strained ligament can become permanently affected. This can lead to chronic pain that mimics nerve pain, causes numbness and can become a source of arthritis in the future.
- BONES: Bones are found within the neck, vertebrae, can be seriously damaged in what may seem to be a basic case of whiplash. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you only have soft tissue injuries that will eventually heal on their own. You could have damaged the facet joints of your neck when you had that fender bender at the stop sign.
- ARTERIES: These are on either side of the neck. Carotid arteries are vital to circulate blood-flow in and out of the brain. If an artery injury is left untreated, an injury victim could find themselves in a life-threatening situation and have a higher risk of stroke.