Neck pain as a result of a car accident can typically last anywhere between a few hours and several months depending on the cause and severity of your injury. In some circumstances, neck pain caused by a serious accident may even be permanent, requiring treatment or ongoing management to relieve it.
Several different types of neck and back injuries can occur after car accidents and each of these injuries can result in neck pain. Continue reading to learn about each of these injuries and what steps you should take if you experience neck pain following a car accident.
Whiplash, Sprains, & Strains
One of the most common injuries that can result after a car accident is whiplash. The most common type of automobile accident that leads to whiplash is a rear-end collision, especially those that occur at high speeds. Whiplash occurs when a person’s head rapidly moves backward and then, just as suddenly, moves forward until it is touching the person’s chest. This sudden neck snap strains the muscles in your neck and causes your neck’s tendons and ligaments to stretch and tear.
Neck pain from whiplash usually begins within 24 hours after an accident. However, some people do not experience pain from whiplash until several days after the accident. The neck pain from whiplash typically lasts several weeks. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most people recover fully from whiplash within three months.
In addition to general neck pain and stiffness, you may also experience these symptoms with a whiplash injury:
- Blurred vision
- Headaches (especially at the base of your skull)
- Trouble concentrating
- Inability to sleep
- Ringing in your ears
Victims can treat mild cases of whiplash at home with over-the-counter pain medications, ice, and rest. However, if it becomes painful to move your head, the pain spreads to your arms or shoulders, the pain goes away and then comes back, or your arms become weak or numb you should seek medical attention immediatly.
Slipped or Herniated Disc Injury
Another injury that often results in neck pain after a car accident is a slipped or herniated disc. This type of injury occurs when one of the discs that protects the bones in your spine slips out of place. Because the discs are no longer supporting the bones in your neck or back, you will experience pain and discomfort.
With treatment such as physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medication, pain from a slipped disc will often fade away within six weeks. However, in some situations, surgery may be necessary to ease your pain. In addition to pain, symptoms of a slipped disc include:
- Numbness, typically only on one side of the body
- Weakened arm muscles
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Pain that worsens after walking or standing
Slipped disc injuries can be serious if the slipped disk puts pressure on one of your spinal nerves. If this happens, you may experience permanent numbness and you may even lose bowel or bladder control. With more severe injuries, you may require surgery to remove or repair the slipped disk.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for a Neck Injury: Two Important Steps to Take
If you plan to file a claim or lawsuit after a car accident—regardless of how severe you think your injuries are—you must seek medical attention. A doctor’s medical report will serve as evidence of your injury and will provide a basis for your damages.
Once you have seen a doctor, schedule a consultation with an experienced Texas car accident attorney. For assistance with your automobile accident claim, contact The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian today: 713-863-1515.