Auto accidents can lead to multiple types of devastating injuries, from traumatic brain injuries and broken bones to burns and organ damage. Many of these injuries are acute, causing severe pain and requiring immediate medical attention.
Other injuries, however, are not immediately apparent. They may take time to manifest and become an issue. Often – though not always – this is the case with neck and back injuries. Rear-end accidents are a common cause of injury to the back and/or the neck.
If you have been rear-ended and you experience neck or back pain, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. After you get medical attention, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney to discuss how you may be able to recover compensation for the damages caused by the accident.
Why Do My Neck and Back Hurt After Being Hit from Behind?
The backbone (also known as the spinal column) consists of vertebrae, cartilage, and soft tissue such as muscles and ligaments. It is surrounded by nerves that send and receive messages from our brains to our bodies.
Extending from the base of the skull down to the tailbone, this highly complex structure is vulnerable to injury in rear-end collisions. Neck and back injuries in a rear-end accident can range in severity from strains and sprains to spinal cord injury.
Sprains and Strains
The terms strains and sprains are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they refer to different types of injuries.
Although the symptoms of a sprain and strain can be similar, the injured body part they refer to are different:
- Sprains are injuries to tendons or muscles. Tendons and muscles allow us to move our bodies, connecting bones to make it possible to walk, type on our keyboards, chew our food, and much more
- Strains, on the other hand, are injuries to ligaments. Ligaments are a type of soft tissue that connects bones at our joints, providing stability and structure to our skeletal system.
While the severity of either one of these injuries can vary significantly, strains often lead to more complications. For example, you may develop neurological symptoms if you strain your neck or back in a car accident.
Whiplash, one of the most common injuries suffered in rear-end collisions, is a type of neck strain. As advanced as our medical knowledge is today, these injuries are not well understood – largely because of just how complex the spinal column is.
Beyond injuries to ligaments, whiplash can affect the muscles, discs, and nerves in your neck. This may lead to a number of debilitating symptoms, from pain and stiffness to headaches and numbness in your arm.
Read More: How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?
To complicate matters further, symptoms don’t always appear immediately after the accident. It may take hours or even days before the extent of whiplash injury is clear.
Also, it can be difficult to treat. Whiplash victims sometimes deal with chronic pain and limited range of motion for months or even years.
Symptoms of whiplash are not always easy to diagnose immediately following an accident. However, consulting a doctor is nonetheless essential to ensure that your injuries from the accident are well-documented and you receive instructions on caring for your neck and back.
There are 23 discs in the spinal column. These gel-filled structures serve multiple purposes in the proper functioning of the spine, allowing our backs to move, keeping our vertebrae connected, and absorbing shocks to protect the vertebrae.
Victims of auto accidents may suffer herniation of one or more discs in the neck and/or back. Herniation occurs when the exterior of the disc is damaged and the gel-like interior partially escapes the disc, putting pressure on a nearby nerve.
A herniated disc can be extremely painful and debilitating. Although it may heal on its own, disc herniation sometimes requires therapy or even surgery if your condition does not improve.
Spinal Cord Injury
Few injuries in car accidents are more serious than a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is a network of nerves that transmit signals back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. As such, injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis, loss of mobility, loss of sensation, and many other serious outcomes.
Spinal cord injuries can have devastating, long-term effects on victims and their families. You may find it difficult or impossible to work, stay active, maintain a social life, or even take care of yourself.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury because a careless driver rear-ended you, it is important to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to significant compensation for the economic and non-economic damages associated with this catastrophic injury.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
The majority of rear-end collisions are the fault of the driver in the rear. If you were hit from behind and suffered injury to your neck and/or back, Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can seek the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver.
Our attorneys have over 233 years of combined experience pursuing maximum compensation on behalf of those who have been seriously injured in car accidents. We handle all aspects of your claim so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Please call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop at (402) 241-5020 today for a free consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and other areas of Nebraska and Iowa.