Auto Accidents and Spinal Injuries

by | Jul 22, 2022 | Auto Accidents

cop helping woman with spinal injury from auto accident out of carThe human body is not made to absorb the impact of an auto accident.  Even a low speed collision can cause significant spinal injury.  According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, motor vehicle accidents, mostly cars, are a rising trend in spinal cord injury causes.  The consequences of spinal cord injuries can be devastating for victims.  Those with spinal cord injuries may suffer from chronic pain, surgeries, rehabilitation, medical bills, loss of wages or ability to earn, and sometimes permanent disability or death.  The following spinal injuries can result from a serious auto accident.


diagram of whiplash during auto accidentThis is the most common injury suffered when someone is rear-ended.  The neck suddenly and forcibly snaps back and forth in a rapid manner, resulting in trauma to the cervical spine.  Muscles, discs, tendons, and nerves can be damaged.  Common symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, loss of motion in the neck, headaches, dizziness, and tingling or numbness in the arms.

Herniated Discs

A herniated, or ruptured, disc can be the result of spinal trauma due to a car accident.  Discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae.  When a disc cracks and the soft gel-like center leaks out, pressure is placed on the surrounding nerves and they become inflamed.  A common symptom of herniated disc is sharp pain that radiates down the arm or leg, depending on the location of the injured disc.  Other symptoms include muscle weakness near affected nerves, burning pain, and tingling or numbness in the arms or legs.

Fractured Vertebrae

The trauma from an auto accident can result in a fracture anywhere along the spine.  Head-on collisions may cause flexion-distraction fractures.  Pieces of bone fragments may damage the spinal cord and lead to paralysis.  Vertebral compression fractures can cause wedge shaped breaks that collapse the front of the vertebrae while the back remains in place.  Symptoms of vertebral fractures include sudden onset of back pain, loss of mobility, decreased height, and stooped posture.  The pain may worsen when standing or walking and seem better when lying down.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Auto accidents are the second leading cause of TBI.  Impact from the accident can cause the brain to strike the internal hard bones of the skull.  Common traumatic brain injuries include concussion, brain contusion, and skull fracture.  Symptoms include headache, vomiting, dizziness, balance problems, and vision problems.  Long term effects of TBI include speech difficulties, problems processing information, and difficulty performing routine tasks.

Does your back or neck hurt following an auto accident?

woman with spinal injury being examined by doctorGet prompt medical attention if your back or neck has been injured in an accident.  It’s not uncommon to feel alright initially, and then begin to feel pain a few hours later.  Even an injury that seems minor can have a significant impact on daily life and ability to work.  Many spinal injuries require only short term care, but serious injuries may require a long recovery with surgery and physical therapy.

Consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help negotiate a settlement on your behalf.  A spinal injury case can cover economic and non-economic damages.  South Carolina auto accident attorney Venus Poe will fight for your interests and help you deal with insurance companies.  Contact her offices in Greenville or Fountain Inn, South Carolina for a free consultation. 

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