Vehicle occupants are at risk for injuries in a car crash, and safety innovations are often aimed toward providing improved protection for the head and chest.
Ironically, seat belts and airbags meant to safeguard these areas of the body can transfer the force of an impact on your spine. Here are four spine-related injuries that are common even in low-impact crashes.
You may have experienced whiplash yourself, or know someone who has. It is the frequent result of a rear-end collision. If another vehicle strikes yours from behind, the impact will cause your head to snap backward and forward, resulting in injury to the cervical area of your neck. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and stiffness. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy.
2. Herniated disc
One or more of the spinal discs between the vertebrae can easily shift because they absorb considerable force during an accident. The shift may compress nerves, and you may suffer numbness or radiating pain. Depending on the location and severity of the herniated disc, surgery is a consideration, but some injuries of this type only require conservative care.
This is a condition that occurs when a stress fracture in a bone causes a vertebra to shift. As with a herniated disc, the displacement could compress the nerves nearby, which can result in pain, numbness and walking problems. Treatment options include physical therapy and surgery.
4. Spinal fracture
Even when wearing a seatbelt, a spinal fracture may occur during a car crash. This is because while the seatbelt keeps the lower part of your body relatively still, the upper part will experience movement. The opposing forces can cause a compression fracture of your spine, resulting in a variety of medical issues, including muscle weakness and bladder problems. Some spinal fractures require surgery, while immobilization treats others.
If you sustain a spinal injury as the victim of a car crash, you need not face the aftermath alone. Explore your legal options. While you focus on a successful rehabilitation and recovery, you have a right to expect full and fair compensation to cover your medical expenses and more.