What to Know if You’ve Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you have a stiff or sore neck or back after a motor vehicle accident (MVA), you may have sustained a spinal injury or a whiplash injury.
These injuries can have a serious impact on your health, leading to months or even years of chronic pain.
Symptoms may be delayed – these injuries may not be fully apparent for the first day or week following an accident.
Neck pain and back pain occurs when the force of a motor vehicle accident knocks or whips the musculoskeletal system out of proper alignment. For example, a whiplash injury may occur when the force of a rear-impact accident abruptly “whips” the cervical spine backwards and forwards. Not only does this abrupt movement knock the spine out of alignment, but it also strains the neck muscles, causing further stiffness, soreness and pain.
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Headache may be caused by injury to an upper cervical disc, facet joint or higher joints called the atlanto-occipital or atlanto-axial joints. Cervicogenic headache can also make migraines worse.
Low back pain is common after whiplash and may be caused by injury to the discs, facet joints of the low back or sacroiliac (SI) joints. The resulting pain from these injuries can manifest in several ways.
Arm pain and heaviness may be caused by nerve compression from a herniated disc. Arm pain can also “referred” from other parts of the neck, meaning the pain is felt at a place away from the injured areas but not resulting from pressure on a nerve.
Other symptoms that indicate a spinal injury include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, depression, sleep disturbance, blurry vision, tingling sensations, or ringing in the ears.
Correctly diagnosing whiplash will involve careful consultation with a specialist, including history taking, physical exam, imaging studies (X-Ray, CT, and MRI), and diagnostic spinal injection procedures when indicated.
Whiplash is typically not a life threatening injury, but it can lead to a prolonged period of partial disability. Whiplash is also often ignored or mistreated – the injuries to the bones, discs, and ligaments of your spine may be microscopic and therefore not easily detectable with X-Ray, CT, or MRI imaging.
Talk to a Specialist about Whiplash after an Accident
The most common motor vehicle accident injury in the Denver metro area is whiplash. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or other mishap and you fear a whiplash injury, it’s important to undergo a medical examination. Delaying treatment could lead to long-term chronic injury and depression. SpineOne offers same day appointments with board certified physicians to help you understand your injury and options for treatment.