If you’ve been involved in a car accident, even a minor one, it’s important to be aware of the potential for developing neck pain afterward. In some cases, this pain can worsen over time and lead to significant discomfort. If you’re experiencing worsening neck pain after a car crash,
Easing Symptoms of Neck Pain
There are five things you can do to help ease the neck pain from a car crash:
- Rest: Take it easy for the first few days following the accident. Avoid any activities that may aggravate your neck pain.
- Ice: Apply ice to the painful area for 20 minutes at a time, several times per day. This can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Heat: After the initial swelling has gone down, applying heat to the area can help loosen tight muscles and relieve pain.
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful in managing neck pain.
- See a doctor: If your pain is severe or doesn’t seem to be improving, make an appointment to see your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and recommend further treatment if necessary.
Neck Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
Whiplash is the most common type of neck injury sustained in a car accident. It occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing the neck muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the neck.
Other potential neck injuries that can occur in a car accident include:
- Muscle strains – Caused by overstretching or tearing of the neck muscles
- Ligament sprains – Caused by overstretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the neck
- Herniated discs- Occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc leaks out and presses on nearby nerves.
- Pinched nerves – Occurs when nerves in the neck are compressed or irritated
- Fractured vertebrae – A break in one of the bones that make up the spine
When To Get Medical Advice For Neck Pain
If you’re experiencing neck pain after a car accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away. Even if your symptoms seem minor, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to neck injuries. Your doctor will be able to properly assess your condition and recommend the best course of treatment.
Medical Treatment for Neck Pain
Depending on the severity of your neck pain, there are several different treatment options that your doctor may recommend. As we’ve already mentioned, for milder cases of neck pain, over-the-counter pain medications and ice or heat therapy may be all that’s needed to find relief.
For more severe cases of neck pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be necessary to address the problem fully.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for neck pain, especially for whiplash injuries. A physical therapist can help stretch and strengthen your neck’s muscles and ligaments. They may also use electrical stimulation or massage to relieve pain.
For more severe cases of neck pain, your doctor may recommend injections of steroids into the affected area. These injections can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat neck pain from a car accident. This is typically only recommended when other treatments have failed to provide relief or when there is nerve damage that needs to be repaired. Surgery options for treating neck pain include:
- Cervical disc replacement: A healthy disc is inserted to replace a damaged one
- Cervical fusion: Two vertebrae are joined together to stabilize the spine
- Laminectomy: A section of the bone over the spinal cord is removed to relieve pressure on the nerves
- Foraminotomy: Narrowed spaces around the nerve roots are widened to ease pressure
Recovery From Neck Surgery
The recovery time following neck surgery will vary depending on the specific procedure that was performed. In general, however, most people will need to take it easy for at least a few weeks after surgery.
This means avoiding any strenuous activity or lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds. Physical therapy may also be necessary to help you regain strength and range of motion in your movement.
Claiming Compensation For Neck Pain After A Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This includes any neck pain and suffering you’ve experienced due to the accident. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that a person who wasn’t at fault ends up incurring expenses and upheaval in their life after the accident; compensation is designed to alleviate the stress that’s caused.
The payment may include consideration of:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you’ve suffered any long-term effects
- How much financial impact the accident has on your life
- The cost of carers and the expense of someone else taking care of your home
- Any loss of earnings (present or future)
- The limitations the accident has caused on your life, for example, if you used to enjoy sport or hiking and can no longer participate.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Don’t forget that many offer a ‘no win-no fee’ basis for their work, so you don’t need to have the money to pay for legal fees for your claim to commence.