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What to do About Post-Accident Neck Pain

 What to do About Post-Accident Neck Pain

Neck pain after a car accident can occur immediately or in the hours or days following a collision. The impact of an accident can cause damage, making it crucial to seek treatment as soon as possible.

At Tulsa Accident Care Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we have a multidisciplinary team of physicians and nurse practitioners standing ready to diagnose and help you recover from any car accident injuries. Neck injuries are common in car accidents.

In this blog, our providers explain the most common types of neck injuries resulting from car accidents and review some of the available treatment options.

What causes neck pain after a car accident?

Most often, neck pain following a car crash occurs when the impact jerks the head forward and backward or from one side to the other. When your body is restrained by a seat belt, the force is concentrated in the neck. 

Additionally, it’s natural for people to brace themselves for the impact by tensing their muscles, which can increase the risk of neck strain. 

Common neck injuries from a car accident

Your neck is a delicate and complex structure that contains many parts. In your neck are seven small bones called cervical vertebrae, and these vertebrae reside in the top part of your spinal column.

Intervertebral discs separate the vertebrae to provide cushioning, and facet joints connect the vertebrae to allow you to pivot your head. And your musculoskeletal system helps protect your spinal cord while supporting your neck and skull.

As you can see, there are a lot of delicate and moving parts, any of which can get injured in a car accident. Let’s discuss some common auto accident neck injuries in detail.

Nerve impingement

A pinched nerve can be caused by a variety of neck injuries. Bones, discs, tendons, or other tissues can move out of place and compress surrounding nerves, which can result in severe pain, tingling, and numbness. A muscle strain, sprain, or disc damage is frequently linked with pinched nerves.

Muscle and tendon stiffness

A car accident can also cause stiffness in the neck due to an injury to the muscles or tendons. It may be painful to move your head or keep your neck in the same position for an extended period of time.

Herniated and slipped discs

Your cervical spine's intervertebral discs have a soft interior and a tougher exterior. A car accident could cause the softer interior of one of the discs to push through the harder exterior, which is called herniation. Or, a disc could slip out of place. In either case, a nearby nerve could get compressed, which could cause pain or other symptoms.

Facet joint injury

Facet joints allow you to move your head and neck freely. Following a collision, your facet joints could become inflamed or irritated, causing pain.

Neck strain or sprain

A strain damages the tendons, which connect your bones to your muscles. A sprains results from a torn ligament, which is the tissue that connects bones to other bones. As a result, you may experience limited mobility, muscle spasms, or pain, especially when trying to move your head or upper neck.

Muscle spasms

Spasms are common symptoms of a car accident neck injury. However, tingling in the shoulders is also common. Cramping usually occurs as a result of your muscles tensing up or being overstretched. Swelling and inflammation occur as a result, which can affect the nerves surrounding the muscles.

Your body tries to protect injured muscles by contracting and immobilizing the affected area. Your muscles may tighten and relax in rapid succession, causing severe pain. Because inflammation takes time to build up, spasms are often delayed symptom.

Treating neck pain

First, your provider discusses your symptoms and performs a thorough evaluation. Once your provider reaches a diagnosis, they create a customized treatment plan. Depending on your situation, your provider may recommend any of the following:

The most important thing to do is see the Tulsa Accident Care Center providers as soon as possible after a car accident. The sooner you're seen, the quicker you can get relief, start on the road to healing, and help prevent the development of complications.

To get the care you need, call 918-372-3694 or book an appointment online with Tulsa Accident Care Center today.

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