Traffic congestion is common in the Twin Cities metro area, and as a result, car accidents are a fact of life on area freeways, highways, county roads, and city streets. When car accidents occur, victims are often seriously injured—many with neck injuries. This is true whether the crash was relatively minor or whether it was more serious. Neck injuries can cause chronic pain and may even be debilitating. Victims may be off work for many months while they recover, and some may become permanently disabled as a result of their injuries.
Neck Injuries After a Car Accident Are All Too Common
The neck is made up of the top seven vertebrae of the spine, discs that function as cushions between the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. When a car crash occurs, the force of the impact can cause the neck to violently jerk forward or backward, which can result in a wide range of neck injuries including the following:
- Neck sprains and strains. A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect the bones in the neck are stretched or torn. A neck strain is a little different—it occurs when the muscles or tendons that connect the neck bones are stretched or torn. These conditions can cause pain, muscle spasms, headache, and limit range of motion in the neck.
- Herniated discs. While most common in the lower back, a herniated disc can occur in the neck as well. Discs are the cushions between the vertebrae in the neck and are comprised of a hard outer surface and a jelly-like center. When the outer surface is damaged and the center substance seeps out, it can put pressure on surrounding nerves and nerve roots. Symptoms can include intense pain, numbness or tingling in the arm affected by the damaged nerve, and weakness in the surrounding muscles.
- Bulging disc. A bulging disc is an injury to the disc’s outer surface, and it occurs when the disc is compressed and bulges out. As with a herniated disc, a bulging disc can press against nearby nerves. Symptoms may not develop right away, but when the pressure on the nerves becomes severe, it can cause muscle spasms; pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand; and numbness in the arm, hand, or fingers.
- Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are rapidly jerked backward and forward. This injury is especially common for accident victims involved in rear-end collisions. While similar to a neck strain or sprain, whiplash can be more serious. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and tingling and numbness in the arms. Some people also experience blurred vision, difficulties sleeping, memory and concentration problems, and depression. While some accident victims will make a full recovery, others will suffer from long-term pain in the neck as well as other complications.
- Spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is made up of nerves that send messages back and forth between the brain and various parts of the body, and when the spinal cord is injured or severed, it can cause partial or even complete paralysis. Symptoms can include loss of movement, difficulty breathing, problems with bladder and bowel control, infections, and much more. After a spinal cord injury, the accident victim will most likely need lifelong medical care and assistance with daily needs.
Get the Assistance You Need From the #1 Doctor and Attorney Referral Service in the Twin Cities
After a car accident in the Twin Cities, some neck injuries will be evident right away, while others might take days or months to develop. Even if you don’t think you were hurt after a car accident in the Twin Cities, you should get checked out by a doctor to protect your health as well as your right to compensation from the negligent driver who caused your accident. But in the aftermath of the crash, you may not know where to turn for great medical care—or skilled legal help—in the Twin Cities metro area. That is where our FREE doctor and attorney referral service comes in. Call us today at 763-251-PAIN, and one of our friendly car accident specialists will connect you with the right medical and legal professionals for your specific situation.