The Most Common Neck and Back Injuries Sustained in a Truck Accident
After a car accident, many victims sustain injuries and pain around the neck and back. However, commercial vehicle or semi-truck accidents are more serious, with neck, spine, and back issues being more severe.
The body parts that are particularly prone in a car-truck accident are the neck and back. While our necks are very flexible to allow different motions, that flexibility also makes them somewhat unstable and easily prone to injury. And since the back and neck are not designed to cushion the shock of a huge impact, a sudden collision can cause damage to the joints, nerves, and tissues. If the spine is affected, the victim may suffer lifelong pain, injuries, and even impairment.
Accident victims suffer from various common neck and back injuries. We’re going to discuss some of them and the necessary steps to take if you think you’ve sustained injury.
Whiplash and Facet Joint Injuries
A common injury in rear-end vehicle accidents is whiplash, a type of neck strain or sprain. The force or impact of a collision makes a person’s head jerk back and forth, resulting in damages to bone structures and soft tissues around the neck. Serious accidents with extremely forceful back and forth movement can cause damage to vertebrae joints, resulting in lifelong chronic inflammation.
With medical treatment, whiplash usually goes away within a few weeks. However, in severe cases where it has resulted in chronic neck pain, advanced medical attention may be required, which may increase medical expenses. Your physician may recommend pain medication and physical therapy.
Whiplash symptoms can include:
- Stiffness and pain around your neck, especially when you move this area
- Arm, upper back, or shoulder pain
Spinal Fractures or Dislocations
Serious car-truck collisions can also cause spine ligament and vertebrae damage. Spinal fracturing is the breaking or shattering that occurs in this part of your body when exposed to intense pressure. These fractures can then put pressure on spinal discs and nerves, resulting in further problems.
A spinal dislocation occurs when vertebrae bones slip out of place due to tearing or stretching of the surrounding ligaments. Just like spinal fractures, these dislocations are potentially nerve-damaging and can cause other chronic problems.
It’s worth noting that you can sustain both fractures and dislocations at the same time. However, they can be treated with quality medical attention, such as back bracing, physical therapy, pain medication, and rest. But if these treatments do not work, your physician may suggest surgery. No matter the case, spinal fractures or dislocations are costly to treat, they limit your ability to do what you do daily and make you lose wages.
If your spine is dislocated or fractured, you may feel:
- Muscle spasms
- Back and neck pain
- Tingling and numbness
- Loss of bowel control
- Fatigue and weakness
- Paralysis, in some situations
Bulging or Herniated Discs
An accident produces an intense force that can damage spinal discs. These discs are cushions located between the spine’s vertebrae, and they can tear or shift, putting pressure on the nerves around them. This is known as bulging or herniated disc and can be extremely painful, making it challenging to resume daily activities.
Pain medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, and rest are some of the solutions your doctor may recommend to treat bulging or herniated discs. If they fail, he/she may recommend surgery.
How do you know you have a herniated disc? Here are the common symptoms.
- Muscle weakness
- Intense and lasting pain on the arms and legs
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of bladder or bowel control in some cases
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces around the spinal column. This narrowing places pressure on the nerves, making an individual feel pain, numbness, and other symptoms. While spinal stenosis can result from aging, severe trauma from a vehicle accident can also be a cause. And if you already have this condition due to aging, collision trauma can worsen it.
Your doctor may recommend pain medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy to handle spinal stenosis. In serious cases, however, spinal decompression surgery may be needed.
Spinal stenosis symptoms include:
- Problems with the bowel and bladder
- Leg cramping
- Neck or back pain that gets worse with time
- Balance issues
- Numbness or tingling
- Weakness in leg, foot, arm, or hand
Injuries Affecting the Spinal Cord
Serious commercial vehicle-car accidents can result in damages to the spine. Even though spinal cord injuries are not as common as other spinal injuries, they are severe, and the victim can lose mobility permanently and even get paralysis. Apart from requiring lifelong medical attention and making the victim lose his/her wages, injuries affecting the spinal cord can make the individual lose the enjoyment of life.
Once spinal cord damage has occurred, sadly, repairing it isn’t possible. Instead, treatment options focus on pain management and rehabilitation to relieve victims of their symptoms and help them regain as much motor function as possible.
Victims of spinal cord injuries may experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of movement
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Intense pain and stinging
- Involuntary spasms
- Difficulties in breathing or coughing
Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Vehicle Accident
Have you been involved in a truck-car accident? The first and most crucial step is seeking medical attention immediately. Some conditions, especially spinal issues, do not show symptoms immediately. However, they worsen with time. A qualified healthcare expert can evaluate your body thoroughly to determine if you’ve sustained any injuries both externally or internally. The earlier you see a doctor, the better you can prevent potential conditions that can significantly impact your life negatively.