When you think about the injuries that could happen in a car accident, do you think about whiplash? Whiplash might seem like it could be a minor injury, but it does have the potential to be serious and result in spinal cord damage.
Most people don’t associate whiplash with long-term effects, because most people will heal within around three months. However, there are some people who will continue to have chronic health problems associated with whiplash, and they may have issues for the rest of their lives due to spinal cord damage.
How does whiplash lead to spinal cord damage?
Whiplash affects the neck. The neck is part of the cervical spine, so if it bends or moves out of place, the spinal cord in that region could be affected. Common signs of whiplash include:
- Tingling in the arms and legs
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Travel anxiety
- A poor or limited range of motion
- Trouble sleeping
These symptoms generally go away as a person heals from whiplash, but some people will have these symptoms for the rest of their lives. In one study, it was shown that up to 50% of patients in the study still had symptoms that stemmed from a whiplash injury.
With whiplash, the neck is stretched with force. This can mean that the spinal cord is overextended and damaged. It may be torn or completely severed in acute cases. The stretching of the neck may also lead to nerve deficits or leading blood vessels.
Spinal cord injuries are often permanent
For most people, injuries to the spinal cord are permanent and will not resolve easily. While minor improvements may be possible for some, these injuries can go on to cause chronic pain and suffering over time.
After an accident or injury to the spinal cord, medical attention is essential. Getting attention soon enough may help you avoid further damage and minimize the consequences of the initial damage to the spinal cord. Then, you may want to look into making a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver for causing the accident and the injuries you’re suffering from.