A few of the most common injuries related to car accidents happen in the neck, typically alongside associated head and back injuries. Like any injury coming from a car accident, neck injuries can run the range in regards to intensity-- from small soft tissue injuries to severe nerve and spinal column complications. Keep reading to find out more about typical neck injuries connected to car accidents, bicycle accidents, motocross accidents and bus accidents.
To understand car accident neck injuries, you have to understand something about the anatomy of your spinal column. The neck consists of the leading 7 vertebrae (bones) of the spine. In medical parlance, this is called the cervical spinal column. The bones are determined by the letter C (as in cervical) then the variety of the bone, counting from the top. C3 is the third cervical vertebrae from the top. Listed below the 7 cervical vertebrae, beginning at the bottom of the neck, are 12 thoracic vertebrae to which the ribs in the back connect. They are determined by the letter "T" and the variety of the bone, counting from the top.
If the bones of the spinal column were merely stacked on top of each other, your spine would be inflexible. The discs enable for motion and act like a shock absorber to cushion the bones of the spinal column as you twist, jump and move your spinal column.
Discs are often analogized to jelly donuts. The external part, which is actually called the annulus fibrosis, keeps in the "jelly," which is called the nucleus pulposus. In addition to the discs and bones, the spine includes the surrounding soft tissues-- muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. Let's quickly look at the nerves.
The spinal cord stems at the brain and travels down the spine canal. As it descends, the spinal cord releases smaller nerves that leave the spine in between each vertebra through an opening called the foramen.
The nerves that leave the spinal column in the cervical location travel into the arms and hands. The nerves that leave the spine in the thoracic area primarily go into the chest and stomach. The nerves that leave the back canal in the lumbar spine location travel into the legs and feet. To return to the neck, it consists of the very first 7 vertebrae, C1 through C7, the discs between them-- which are identified by the 2 bones that they are in between, as in C4 - C5-- and the surrounding muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. The leading 2 cervical discs, called the atlas (C1) and the axis (C2), differ from the other vertebrae since they are designed specifically for rotation. These 2 vertebrae permit your neck to turn in a lot of directions, including seeking to the side.
The cervical spine is really versatile, it is likewise at danger for injury from strong, abrupt motions, such as whiplash-type injuries. This high risk of harm is due to the minimal muscle support in the cervical area, and due to the fact that this part of the spine has to support the weight of the head.
Let's look at the most typical kinds of terrible car accident neck injuries.
Neck sprain. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that link bones together and assist to support joints. When those ligaments are stretched or torn in the neck, the outcome is a neck sprain, which can trigger discomfort and tightness.
Neck stress. There are also muscles in the neck. When those muscles are stretched or torn, a neck pressure results. Sometimes, these are called "pulled muscles." They typically take place when the muscles are unexpectedly and strongly contracted or when they extend abnormally far.
Neck sprains and neck strains are sometimes called "hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries" or "whiplash.".
Cervical Radiculopathy (pinched nerve). Cervical nerves leave the spine in the cervical spinal column location and travel down into the arm. Along the way, the nerves supply sensation (feeling) to a part of the skin of the shoulder and arm and supply electrical signals to certain muscles to move part of the arm or hand. When a nerve is irritated or pinched, by either a bone spur or a piece of a herniated (ruptured) disc, it causes the nerve to not work correctly. The outcome can be weak point in the muscles the nerve goes to, numbness in the skin where the nerve goes, or pain in the area where the nerve takes a trip. These radiating symptoms are called cervical radiculopathy.
Herniated Disc. When neck motion puts excessive pressure on a disc, a herniated disc might result. In some cases these are called "slipped discs" or "burst discs." In this injury, the annulus is torn and part of the nucleus pulposus squeezes out of the center of the disc. In the jelly donut analogy, the jelly comes out of the donut. If the tear is on the side of the disc next to the back canal, the nucleus pulposus can press against the spinal nerves. This pressure can trigger discomfort, numbness and weak point along the nerve. There is also proof that the chemicals launched from the burst disc may irritate the nerve root, causing a few of the symptoms of a herniated disc, particularly pain.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries
After a car accident, it's not always obvious that you've injured your neck. That can be owing to the rise of pain-masking adrenaline and endorphins that lots of people experience after an accident, however likewise because damage to the neck can manifest in other locations of the body, such as your hands and arms. Typical signs of neck injuries include:.
- discomfort in your neck.
- pain in your arms, shoulders or hands.
- reduced range of motion in your neck.
- tingling, weakness and slower reflexes in your arms and hands, and.
- muscle spasms in your neck.