Although you can sustain a wide range of injuries in an accident, trauma to the head, neck, and back are among the most common injuries from auto accidents and falls. Although two of the most common injuries — concussion and whiplash — can be the result of a direct hit to the head or neck, they’re usually caused by the severe jolting that comes with rapid deceleration or a quick change of direction.
This head injury occurs when your brain shifts or bounces inside your skull, creating chemical changes that alter normal brain function. A concussion may cause a temporary loss consciousness, or it may give rise to symptoms like a headache, neck pain, confusion, or dizziness.
This neck injury occurs when your head is thrown back and forth, resulting in the quick, forceful, and uncontrollable movement of your neck. Whiplash injuries typically cause some amount of trauma to the discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerves in your neck. Common symptoms include decreased range of motion and neck pain that gets worse with movement.
People who’ve been in a minor or moderate collision — or even a minor slip-and-fall accident — may walk away with hidden trauma to their lumbar spine (lower back) or their thoracic spine (mid-to-upper back). Although these injuries are usually seen after a rear-end collision, they can happen in any impact that forcefully jars your body. Back injury symptoms generally appear within 24 hours, but it’s also possible for them to emerge days or even weeks after an incident.
Signs that you’ve sustained back trauma include:
When the nerves, discs, tendons, ligaments, or muscles in your back are damaged in an accident, inflammation can prevent your body from healing afterward. Left untreated, injury and inflammation can lead to chronic back pain that worsens over time.
The best way to avoid injury complications like long-term nerve damage, permanent sciatic nerve pain, or post-concussive syndrome is to find out if you’ve sustained the type of trauma that requires special attention or medical management.
The physicians at WolMed are dedicated to helping injury patients recover completely, providing customized treatment plans designed to address individual needs. They also offer peace of mind by providing medical documentation for personal injury cases, free claims assistance, and free transportation to physical therapy appointments.