After a car accident, victims are encouraged to visit a doctor, even if they don’t show any symptoms or were just involved in a small fender bender. Why? Because the impact of a crash can cause long-lasting and serious injuries throughout the body.
A majority of these injuries involve the spinal cord and back. In fact, statistics from car crashes show that half of all victims of rear-impact car accidents and 75% of side-impact car accidents experience lower back pain. When you are visiting a doctor after a car accident, do not be surprised if they specifically ask questions about your back pain and even recommend a chiropractor in the area.
Why is this the case? Why do so many auto accidents result in back injuries?
Whiplash and the Spinal Cord
While you are driving your car at a particular speed, your body is moving along at the same pace. So, if you’re driving at 35 mph, your body is going 35 mph, too.
In a crash, the vehicle slams to a pretty immediate stop, and your body is no different.
Unfortunately, we cannot prepare our bodies for a crash in an instant. It takes a moment for our bodies to stop moving at the rate that we were driving. Victims are thrust forward, then thrown back once they make contact with their seatbelt, the steering wheel, or even the front of their car.
This jerking motion is called whiplash, and it has a big effect on the neck and spine. The neck and head, for example, may whip back into the headrest. The entire spinal column will be whipped back until it hits the seat.
This impact, depending on the speed of the car, the type of car that you are driving, and the positioning of the body, can throw different parts of the spine out of place. High impacts can also cause fractures to bones, and sprains and strains to surrounding muscles.
The symptoms of whiplash do not always appear immediately. Reach out to a doctor if you begin to experience the following symptoms, even if they are delayed:
- Pain in the neck or back area
- Bruising or inflammation
Disc Can Shift
The neck and spinal cord are all attached, and they’re more fragile than you might think.
In between each vertebrae (backbone) is a spinal disc. These discs are soft in the center, and the impact of an auto accident may cause them to move or shift. If a disc shifts so far out that it applies pressure to the surrounding nerves, you may experience pain throughout the body.
Like many back injuries, injuries to spinal discs do not manifest immediately. If disc injuries are left untreated, they may become more serious and require more serious treatments later in life.
The Spinal Cord Is Connected to The Rest of the Body
Back injuries are just one symptom of auto accidents, but they can be the center of other aches and pains. The spinal cord contains nerves and pathways that are connected to the rest of the body, including the arms and legs. Sometimes, pain in the leg can be traced back to a pinched nerve or herniated disc.
Because of all this, it is crucial to visit a medical professional immediately after a car accident, even if you are not feeling any serious symptoms. Most types of Florida auto accident insurance will only cover you if you visit a doctor in a timely manner. The more you know about your auto accident injuries, the faster you can receive treatment and compensation from your insurance or other drivers who may have caused the accident.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.