Many people suffer from minor neck pain. Sitting positions at work, physical strain, and other things can cause neck pain. However, this discomfort often goes away with time or rest.
Severe neck injuries are different. If the pain is intense or persists, it could be more severe.
Neck pain after an accident could be a sign of spinal cord damage. A severe neck injury could cause:
- Shooting pain in your arms or legs
- Pain that is intense or doesn’t get better
- Weakness in your arms or legs
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents are common causes of severe neck injuries. If you have neck pain after an accident, get medical help immediately. You might have life-threatening injuries that need prompt help.
See a doctor immediately if you have any of the above symptoms. If your pain does not improve after being prescribed home treatment, contact your doctor for a follow-up.
Diagnosing a Neck Injury
After an accident, your doctor will check for pain and damage. That often includes tests like:
- CT scan
- Blood tests
A doctor will work to determine the cause of your pain. From there, you can know what’s going on and what treatment you’ll need. This will help you when seeking compensation for your treatment costs.
Get the strong arm
Types of Serious Neck Injuries
Trauma to the head, neck, or shoulders can cause injuries like:
- Herniated discs: Spinal discs can tear, bulge, or leak after a sudden accident.
- Pinched nerves: Tissue or bones can push against nerves during an accident, causing much pain.
- Neck fractures: Broken necks are rare, but they can happen. A fractured neck or spine needs immediate treatment.
- Spinal cord injuries: Damage to any part of your spinal cord can cause paralysis and other severe changes in your body.
Whiplash injuries are also common during a car accident. Whiplash occurs when your head is suddenly forced backward and forward. Although whiplash often improves with time and rest, it can be more serious.
Whiplash can also mask more severe neck injuries from an accident. You might assume your pain is nothing big. However, the pain and symptoms might intensify over time.
It’s always best to see a doctor after an accident, even if you feel okay. Don’t discount neck pain, especially after an accident. Even minor pain could be a sign of something serious.
Treating Neck Injuries: A Range of Physical Therapies and Medical Interventions
While getting immediate medical care after a neck injury is crucial, ongoing treatment is just as important. Your medical professional will likely recommend a combination of at-home care and physical therapies to help alleviate your symptoms and promote healing.
Physical Examination and Ongoing Care
A physical examination may reveal whether you’re suffering from a muscle strain, neck sprain, or damage to your cervical spine, which comprises the upper part of your spine located in your neck. In case of a neck strain or whiplash, your neck muscles and ligaments stretch beyond their typical range due to a sudden movement, like in car or sports injuries.
After the examination, your doctor will recommend appropriate treatments, including physical therapies like neck stretching exercises and muscle strengthening routines. These will help reduce neck stiffness and restore mobility.
If your neck sprain or strain results in extreme pain, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or muscle relaxants.
At-Home Care: Ice Packs, Heating Pads, and Soft Collars
Beyond prescribed medication and physical therapy, some home treatments can also assist in your recovery. Ice packs can reduce swelling and alleviate severe pain in the initial days following your injury. After an extended period of time, usually about 48 hours, you may switch to a heating pad to help relax your neck muscles and increase blood flow, promoting healing.
Your medical professional might recommend a soft collar, particularly if the injury involves the cervical spine, to help support your neck and limit movement while the soft tissues heal. Using this under a professional’s guidance is essential, as extended usage can sometimes weaken neck muscles.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
While these treatments can help manage the pain and aid recovery from minor injuries, severe neck injuries may warrant emergency medical intervention. If your symptoms intensify, you experience neurological symptoms like tingling or numbness in your extremities, or your neck pain persists for an extended period, seek immediate medical assistance.
Remember, each person’s neck injury and healing process are unique. Regular follow-ups with your medical professional will ensure that your recovery is on track and that any potential complications are addressed promptly. You can optimally manage your neck injury and work toward full recovery by combining immediate medical intervention, ongoing care, and a range of physical therapies.
Your Legal Rights After a Neck Injury
If someone else caused your accident, you might deserve financial compensation. Causing an accident violates the tort law under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-1-1. You have a right to seek money from the person who caused your neck injury.
You will need to build a personal injury claim to show that:
- The other party breached its legal duty to you
- The breached duty caused your accident
- You suffered a neck injury and other damages because of the accident
A severe neck injury could mean you deserve a significant financial recovery. Neck injuries can be debilitating or permanent. They might prevent you from working or living as you could before.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer about your compensation rights after a neck injury. Don’t wait to get started. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33, you only have two years to take action.
What to Do After a Neck Injury
You have rights if someone else was at fault for your neck injury. You can help protect your rights and build an injury claim through the following steps:
- Report your accident to the police or the property owner where you fell.
- Take pictures of the accident scene and any visible injuries.
- See a doctor as soon as possible for all pain and injuries.
- Contact your doctor again if your injuries change or worsen.
- Save all medical bills and other documentation of your damages.
- Call a personal injury lawyer to ensure you know your rights.
Neck injuries can worsen with time. After an accident, your body often runs on adrenaline that suppresses pain. Over time, you might start to feel the full effects of the accident.
Avoid talking about your injuries with anyone but your lawyer. Also, wait until you’ve completed all treatment before filing a claim. If your neck pain worsens, don’t ignore it; talk to a lawyer and see a doctor immediately.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have seen firsthand the toll a neck injury can take. We’re here for you and your family after an accident you didn’t cause. Contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation.
We have been helping accident victims for over 20 years and don’t collect a fee unless we win your case. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.