Written by Andrew Sarski on February 9, 2011
Types of Neck Injuries
There are several different types of neck injuries, including whiplash, neck sprain, neck strain, a pinched nerve, and a herniated disc. Whiplash is the most common neck injury, typically occurring due to sudden impact or movement, causing the head to be thrown forward and back, flexing the head and neck beyond normal range of motion. A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect the bones together and help stabilize joints in the neck are stretched or torn, causing severe pain and stiffness. A neck strain, also sometimes called a “pulled muscle,” involves damage to the muscles in the neck, typically characterized by stretching or tearing. A pinched nerve occurs when the nerves which travel down the spinal cord and out to the arms are irritated or pinched. This is most often the result of damage from a fragmented herniated disc or a bone spur, and can affect the function of the nerve. These nerves supply feeling to the skin and send electrical signals out to the rest of the body to control muscle movement. A pinched nerve may result in a weakness in the muscles, numbness in the skin, or pain in the area to which that particular nerve travels. A herniated disc typically occurs when abnormal neck movement puts too much pressure on a disc, causing the disc to rupture. Herniated discs can cause serious injury including pain, numbness and weakness along the nerve, as well as irritation of the nerve root.
Diagnosis and Treatment of a Neck Injury
Individuals who may have suffered from a neck injury should seek immediate medical attention, in order to determine the severity of the injury and the necessary course of treatment. Neck injuries are typically diagnosed by a physical examination, during which a physician will determine how difficult it is for the victim to move his neck, and will also test the nerves, the reflexes, the strength of the muscles in the arms and hands, and test for signs of nerve irritation. Some neck injuries may require an x-ray, MRI, CAT scan, and other tests to determine the extent of the injury. Once the cause and severity of the neck injury is determined, a physician can prescribe a treatment method, which may include medications to relieve pain and relax muscles, a neck brace to support the neck while it heals, physical therapy to prevent further injury, and sometimes even surgery in cases of severe neck injury.
Symptoms and Complications with Neck Injuries
Common symptoms associated with a neck injury include pain in the neck, headache, pain in the shoulder, arms or hands, numbness, weakness or slow reflexes in the arms or hands, and muscle spasms or inhibited range of motion in the neck. The neck is an extremely fragile part of the body and serious neck injury can result in major complications, including chronic pain and difficulty walking and standing correctly. In severe cases of neck injury involving the spinal cord, the victim may even suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis. The degree of damage to the neck will determine the form and extent of treatment necessary. Neck injuries typically result in extensive and costly treatment, and may sometimes be so severe that the victim is unable to return to work or participate in everyday activities like driving and even using the stairs comfortably.
Accident Neck Injury Legal Help
The first step to take following an accident is to seek medical treatment. The second step is to consult an accident attorney for legal guidance. Neck injuries resulting from an accident can lead to life-long complications and expensive medical bills, neither of which are the victim’s fault. If you or a loved one has suffered from a neck injury as a result of an accident, contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Accident victims are extremely vulnerable and are often taken advantage of during their time of need. In fact, your insurance company or the company insuring the negligent party may even deny your claim or offer a settlement far below what you are entitled to, to ensure that the company can pay out as little in damages as possible. This leaves victims injured, possibly without a vital source of income, and now solely responsible for a pile of medical bills. The only way to fight a rejected insurance claim is to hire an experienced accident attorney to represent your case. Accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you receive a fair settlement or damages for your injuries.