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Common spinal injuries that can result from car accidents

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Car accidents put occupants’ bodies under significant force. This can cause severe injuries to the spine. Understanding the most likely injuries can help you be mindful of your condition so that you know when to seek medical attention.

There are a few common spinal injuries that could result from your accident.


Whiplash is the most frequent spinal injury from car crashes, with an estimated 3 million new cases occurring each year. It occurs when the head is suddenly forced backward and then forward, straining the tendons and ligaments in the neck. This can pinch nerves, discs or vertebrae and cause intense pain, reduced mobility and headaches. Proper treatment can help you prevent long-term effects.

Herniated discs

The force of a collision can cause vertebral discs between the spinal bones to rupture or herniate. This presses on nerves, causing numbness, weakness and sharp pain. Herniated discs often need physical therapy, pain management or even surgery to repair.

Spinal cord injuries

Major impact crashes may fracture, dislocate or compress the vertebrae. Bone fragments can then pinch and damage the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries cause paralysis below the injury site, along with loss of sensation and bowel and bladder control. These catastrophic injuries often require immediate emergency surgery and extensive rehab.

Preventing distraction and paying attention while driving is crucial for avoiding accidents that can inflict these serious spinal trauma injuries. Properly adjusting headrests, wearing seat belts and driving defensively also help minimize injury risks. Seek medical care promptly after an accident to assess and treat any spinal damage.

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