Neck pain after a car accident is common. For most people, it only lasts for a few hours or days.
But for some, the crash can result in serious injury. Seek medical attention and reach out to our law firm if you are experiencing severe neck pain after a wreck.
Neck Injury Symptoms
Motor vehicle accidents put immense force on our bodies. Our necks are flexible but can sustain serious damage due to whiplash. Common symptoms of an injury to the neck and spine may include:
- Reduced ability to move your head/stiffness
- Muscle tightness or spasms
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Pain caused by holding your head in a certain position for a long period of time
Severe pain that persists for several days, spreads throughout the arms and legs, and/or creates numbness, weakness or tingling should never be ignored. These signs are the body’s way of saying something is very wrong.
Diagnosing Neck Injuries
Most injuries to the neck involve soft tissues such as discs, muscles, and ligaments. In severe cases, the spinal cord, which runs from the top of the neck to the mid-back, may be pinched or damaged.
X-rays can detect any fractures or issues in the neck bones themselves. The treating physician will most likely order an MRI or CT scan. These imaging tools can reveal issues like bulging discs, herniated discs, edemas, annular tears, syringomyelia, and facet joint injuries.
A doctor may also conduct manual motor tests (heel stand, toe stand, etc.), electromyography (EMG) or a nerve conduction study (NGS) to test for muscle or nerve weakness.
Treating Neck Pain and Sprains
Depending on the type of injury, doctors may recommend different types of treatment options.
Good posture and keeping your spine properly aligned may help prevent pain. Your doctor may recommend adjustments to how you stand, sit or sleep. Losing weight has also been found to promote spinal health.
Exercise has been found to reduce neck pain. A physical therapist can help you strengthen and stretch your back, shoulders, legs, and stomach muscles, as well as proper walking and lifting techniques. It is important to follow a physical therapist’s instructions as they can help you heal faster.
Anti-inflammatory medication, topical creams, and muscle relaxers can be prescribed to help manage pain and spasms.
Epidural Steroid Injection
In this procedure, injections are administered to relieve pain caused by a pinched nerve in the neck or inflamed nerves in the cervical spine. Injuries such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis can compress nerves, causing inflammation and pain. The injections reduce or eliminate these symptoms while the injury heals.
A new technique to help heal neck damage is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. It harnesses the body’s natural ability to heal itself using its own platelets. Plasma is what carries red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets and is made of mostly water and proteins. Platelets are cells that cause blood clots and other healing functions. PRP therapy injects a concentrated amount of a patient’s own platelets into the injured area to stimulate healing, potentially reducing pain and the need for pain medication.
Nerve Radiofrequency Ablation
Even if steroid joint injections are successful, pain may still reoccur. An ablation procedure may be recommended. First, a nerve block test is performed to determine which nerves need to be treated. The nerves are then numbed and burned to provide more lasting pain relief.
Spine Fusion Surgery
If all other treatment options fail, surgery may be recommended. This usually happens in cases due to inflamed facet joints, disc deterioration or spinal instability.
Get the Legal and Medical Help You Need
Maybe you felt fine after the crash for a few days or weeks. But now the pain has become severe and is interfering with your life. Regardless of how long it took for the pain to appear, you deserve legal justice.
It is important to talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Don't try to tough it out. Make your first call to a doctor and your second call to the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates.
Our legal team can help you get the care and compensation you need.