Neck Pain After Car Accident: What to Do If You Have It

Neck Pain After Car Accident: What to Do If You Have It

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from neck pain after a car accident, you know how debilitating it can be. Not only does it make it difficult to move your head and neck, but the pain can also radiate down your spine and into your shoulders.

In some cases, the pain may be so severe that you are unable to do anything else but lie in bed and wait for it to go away. This article will discuss some of the things you can do to ease your neck pain after a car accident.

The most common type of neck injury after a car accident is called whiplash. This occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing the neck to hyperextend. This can damage the neck muscles, facet joints, and ligaments.

What happens to the neck during a car accident?

Most people think of the brain when they think of car accidents, but it’s actually the body that takes the brunt of the force. When a car crashes, it comes to a sudden stop, and the passengers inside continue moving forward at the same speed until they hit something. This is what causes the typical “whiplash” injury to the neck.

During a car accident, neck pain occurs as the force of the impact causes the vertebrae in the neck to compress, and then snap back into place. This can damage the intervertebral discs, as well as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold everything together. In severe cases, it can even fracture vertebrae.

a rescued woman with neck cervical brace

 

Car accident neck injury signs and symptoms

If you have recently been in a car accident and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a neck injury:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain radiating down the cervical spine
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Trouble turning your head
  • Trouble swallowing

Causes of Neck Pain after a Car Accident

There are a number of different factors that can contribute to neck pain after a car accident. These include:

Whiplash

This is the most common type of neck injury after a car accident. It occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing the neck to hyperextend.

Muscles, ligaments, and tendons

These structures can be damaged in a car accident, leading to pain and stiffness.

Intervertebral discs

The discs between the vertebrae can be compressed or herniated in a car accident, leading to pain and inflammation.

Vertebrae

The vertebrae in the neck can be fractured or dislocated in a car accident.

Complications of Neck Pain after a Car Accident

If you are experiencing neck pain after a car accident, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • The pain may not go away on its own. In some cases, the pain may persist for weeks or even become a long-term problem.
  • You may have trouble moving your neck. This can lead to problems with everyday activities, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking.
  • You may experience the symptoms of whiplash such as headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
  • You may need physical therapy or surgery to repair the damage done to your neck in a car accident.

shoulder and lower back pain

How to prevent whiplash after a car accident?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to prevent whiplash after a car accident depends on the individual. However, some tips on how to avoid whiplash:

Wearing a seat belt

This is the most important thing you can do to prevent whiplash in a car accident. The seat belt will help keep your head and neck in place, limiting the amount of movement and preventing the head from snapping backward or forward.

Adjusting your headrest

Make sure your headrest is properly positioned so that it will support your head and neck in the event of a car accident.

Sitting up straight

Slouching can put you at a higher risk for whiplash, so it’s important to sit up straight and keep your head and neck in alignment.

Looking ahead

When you’re driving, it’s important to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. This will help you see potential hazards in time to avoid them.

Slowing down

If you see a car accident ahead, don’t try to speed past it. slowing down will help reduce the chances of you getting in a crash yourself.

a man having a neck pain

What to do for whiplash after a car accident?

If you have been in a car accident and think you may have whiplash, the first thing you should do is to seek medical doctors. They will be able to order tests, such as x-rays or an MRI, to confirm the diagnosis.

Once you have been diagnosed with whiplash, there are a few things you can do to treat it:

  • Rest: It’s important to rest your body after a car accident. This includes taking it easy and avoiding strenuous activity.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Heat: Applying heat to the affected area can help relax the muscles and ease the pain.
  • Massage: Massaging the affected area with muscle relaxants can help improve blood flow and reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve the range of motion and strength in the neck.

When to see a doctor?

If you are experiencing symptoms of neck pain after a car accident, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to order tests, such as x-rays or an MRI, to determine the extent of your injury. They can also prescribe medication to help relieve the pain. Your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as physical therapy.

Don’t wait – see a doctor today if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms!

doctor seeing a patient

Seek Help Immediately

Neck pain after a car accident is a common complaint, and there are a number of different factors that can contribute to it. If you are experiencing chronic pain, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. They can order tests, prescribe medication, and recommend other treatments to help ease your pain and improve your quality of life.

If you are in Texas and need immediate care, don’t hesitate to call RapidCare Emergency Room. We have locations in La Porte and Katy, TX.

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