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3 spinal injuries you could suffer in a car crash

In car crashes, there are external forces that could be severe enough to cause damage to a person’s spine. Although there are some safety precautions in place, such as you seat belt and air bags, there is still a risk that you could suffer damage to your spinal column and spinal cord in a collision.

There are several significant spinal injuries that are more common than others in crashes. These include:

  • Spinal fractures
  • Disc herniation
  • Whiplash

All of these injuries can be significant and cause serious, lasting pain and other consequences.

Dealing with spinal fractures

Spinal fractures happen during car crashes when one part of the spine moves more than another. For example, the lower half of the body may stay in place thanks to the lap belt, but the upper body may move significantly. That movement of varied forces can lead to compression fractures that cause muscle weakness, numbness, bladder issues and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Discovering disc herniations

Disc herniations occur when the vertebrae absorb force from the crash and shift out of place. When this happens, the disc may press on the spinal cord or nearby structures. This may cause severe pain, paralysis or other dangerous, potentially life-threatening, issues.

Understanding whiplash

Most people know that whiplash usually occurs when your head whips forward and back, or side to side, quickly in a car crash. Usually, this condition affects the cervical spine (the neck region). Minor cases may lead to headaches or pain, but severe cases can lead to blurred vision, severe, chronic pain, dizziness and other symptoms that require physical therapy or, in acute cases, surgical intervention.

After a car crash, remember to go to the hospital right away. A medical team there can perform imaging tests to see how severe your injuries are and to determine if you need surgery, medications like anti-inflammatories or other treatments to help you recover. Going to seek medical treatment is a good choice if you’d like to make a personal injury claim later on, so that you have documentation of the injuries you suffered from immediately following the collision. This can help you as you focus on getting compensated for what you’ve been through.

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