When you think about the spinal injuries that may occur in a car accident, you might automatically imagine lower back injuries or neck injuries. What you may not realize is that there are many common spinal injuries that could occur, and they may or may not involve the spinal cord.
Since spinal injuries are among the most dangerous, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Those with suspected spinal injuries should try not to move unless it’s necessary to get to a safer location.
Spinal injuries to look for after a crash
Among the most common kinds of spinal injuries are:
- Disc herniations
- Spinal fractures
These may or may not involve the spinal cord, depending on the severity of the injury.
Whiplash may range from a minor injury that causes mild headaches or pain to a severe injury that damages the spinal cord in the cervical region. It’s possible that you may have symptoms such as dizziness, blurry vision, headaches and stiffness. If the spinal cord is involved, you could have signs of paralysis, weakness or autonomic dysfunction below the point of injury.
Disc herniations are also possible. These occur when the vertebrae absorb force in a crash and shift out of place. When the disc shifts, it may compress the spinal cord or other nearby structures. You may have pain or numbness as a result. Surgery could be needed in severe cases.
Spinal fractures are another problem to look out for. Fractures destabilize the spine, so there may be spinal cord involvement as well. Look for signs like pain, muscle weakness, numbness and bladder issues.
All of these issues could range from being mild to acute depending on the factors involved in the crash. It’s always a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as you can following an accident, so you can start receiving treatment to minimize the risk of complications from your injuries. Early treatment may help you improve the chances of recovering, especially if the spinal cord has been impacted by damage to the spine or the force of the collision.