What if you car accident was minor? You suffered just a few bruises or a mild concussion. Even still, you should see a qualified doctor as soon as possible. The bruises could indicate a more serious medical situation, like internal bleeding. A seemingly mild head injury could actually presage an urgent crisis, like bleeding or swelling in the brain.
If you experience a spinal injury in a crash, you probably won’t need to be reminded to see a doctor. (The acute pain will take care of that.) However, not all spine-related medical problems cause obvious, clear signals. And symptoms also evolve over time, because of the fluid medical situation and changing perceptions of pain in the brain. If left unchecked or undiagnosed, a spinal injury may worsen over time. Treatment options depend on the type and severity of the insult.
A Quick Catalogue of Common Spinal Injuries After a Car Crash
Being rear-ended often causes whiplash affecting the neck, or cervical spine. The pain and reduced range of motion in the neck often improve with self-help methods. For minor incidents, it may be enough to ice the area for 15 minutes at a time and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Advil or Motrin. Your doctor might also prescribe a neck brace, massage, or physical therapy to relieve symptoms. However, whiplash symptoms can last for months or even years and lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost productivity.
Spinal compression fractures are also common associated with car accidents. If first responders suspect a spinal injury, they will transport you to the emergency room for care. Sometimes, however, a spinal fracture only becomes apparent hours or even days later. Treatment options include conservative actions, including rest, external bracing and medication. If these don’t work, you might be a candidate for spinal fusion surgery.
Car crashes also frequently cause herniated disks. Again, if and when possible, doctors generally prefer conservative treatment at first. They will likely tell you to rest, avoid painful positions and take prescribed painkillers or muscle relaxers as directed. You might need physical therapy or, in rare cases, surgery.
Even a mild spinal injury can become very serious over time if it is not addressed and treated properly—and the medical and rehab costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more, not even including lost work time. If you have been in an auto accident, see your doctor first and call the Kelly Law Team at 602-283-4122. We can help you obtain fair and thorough compensation for your damages.