Car accidents can be frightening and traumatic events, often resulting in various injuries. Among the most common injuries sustained in rear-end collisions are those to the neck and back.
These injuries can have lasting effects on a person’s overall well-being. You need to understand the nature of neck and back injuries so you can seek the right kind of medical attention after an accident.
Whiplash is a particularly common neck injury that occurs when a vehicle is rear-ended. This injury happens when the force of the impact causes the head to jerk forward and then snap back suddenly. The neck’s soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, can become strained or torn during this rapid movement. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches and limited range of motion.
In a rear-end collision, the force exerted on the body can cause damage to the spine’s discs. A herniated disc occurs when the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc pushes through its tougher exterior. This can lead to pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the back and extremities. When a disc becomes herniated, it can compress nearby nerves, causing significant discomfort and potential long-term complications.
These fractures occur when the vertebrae in the spine compress due to the force of the collision. Symptoms can include severe back pain, loss of height and changes in posture. In some cases, these fractures may require surgery or long-term treatment to alleviate the pain and stabilize the spine.
Strains and sprains
The sudden jolt of a rear-end collision can also cause strains and sprains in the neck and back. Strains involve the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons, while sprains affect ligaments. These injuries can lead to pain, swelling and restricted movement. While strains and sprains are often less severe than other neck and back injuries, they still require appropriate care and rehabilitation to ensure a full recovery.
According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 3,890,000 rear-end collisions in 2021, accounting for 41.7% of all collisions with other vehicles. Rear-ends are very common and potentially very devastating, so be sure to always take appropriate action afterward.