Car accidents can results in numerous injuries to a person, including a variety of neck injuries, which can range from mild to very serious. The most common type of neck injury is whiplash. Other types of injuries are neck sprain, neck strain, cervical radiculopathy and herniated disc.
Whiplash includes pain in the neck, shoulders, head or base of the skull, and commonly occurs after a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash results from a violent backward motion (hyperextention) and forward motion (hyperflexion). Other than neck pain, symptoms of whiplash include sleep problems, poor concentration and memory, blurry vision, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, weakness, difficulty swallowing, irritability, pain in the arms or legs, headache, low back pain, nausea and vertigo.
A neck sprain is a common injury following a car accident, and occurs when the ligaments (bands of tough tissue that connect bones together) in the neck are sprained after being stretched or torn, causing pain and stiffness.
This type of injury occurs when the muscles in the neck are strained or torn. In a car accident, this type of injury is common when the muscles are suddenly and powerfully contracted or when they stretch unusually far.
Cervical radiculopathy is commonly known as a pinched nerve. When a nerve is irritated or pinched, either from a bone spur or a fragment of a herniated (ruptured) disc, it adversely affects proper nerve function. This results in weakness in the muscles that the nerve travels to, numbness in the skin or pain in the area where the nerve goes to.
Sudden motion of the neck, resulting from a car accident, can put an undue amount of pressure on the discs in the cervical portion of the neck. This can lead to a herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped disc or ruptured disc.