Fender-benders. They happen to the best of us. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek treatment. After the initial “oh, no” and the exchange of information, you should call your doctor. Even if the accident is minor. It’s important you get checked out to ensure you don’t have injuries.
While cuts and bruises are obvious, internal injuries aren’t. Here are common injuries sustained after a car accident, that are easily ignored. But can lead to serious health problems:
You can experience whiplash and other soft tissue injuries after a car accident. Even a minor one. The unexpected jolt when two cars collide and hit each other often results in jerking. And/or twisting of your neck and body. Being hit from behind increases your risk for whiplash. Even if your car is traveling slowly, you can still get a significant whiplash injury.
Whiplash is a sprain that occurs when your neck suddenly “whips” backward and forward. The ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles in your neck stretch above their normal movement pattern. This tears the soft tissue and can damage the discs and nerves in your neck
Whiplash can be serious. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Pain in neck or shoulders
- Muscle spasms
- Can’t move your neck easily
- Stiff neck
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek treatment immediately.
Other soft tissue injuries
It’s not unusual to have other soft tissue injuries. About one-third of people in a car collision, even at very low speed, have soft tissue injuries. Many recover, but others suffer long-term pain.
If you’re stiff, sore, or experience numbness after an accident, you likely have a soft tissue injury. Which means you should make an appointment with Tri-State Orthopedics right away. Untreated injuries may never heal properly. And can cause instability in the joint, leading to other health problems.
Here are the most common soft tissue injuries:
- Sprains: injury to a ligament
- Contusion: a bruise from the pooling of blood under your skin
- Strain: a stretch or tear in a muscle or tendon
Back injuries from vehicle accidents
Injuries to your back from a fender-bender can lead to serious back problems. Herniated discs, compression fractures, and spinal misalignment. Those are three examples of serious musculoskeletal injuries to your back.
A soft tissue injury such as a torn ligament can place stress on your spinal discs. When a disc ruptures, it can put pressure on a nerve, leading to sciatica. Which causes extreme pain down the path of the nerve. A fender-bender can also cause compression fractures, aka cracks in your spine. These can move in and out of place and cause more pain.
Treatment of musculoskeletal injuries after a vehicle accident
Dr. Apurva Dalal at Tri-State Orthopedics performs a complete examination. He measures your range of motion and orders imaging tests. This will help determine the extent of your injuries if you’ve been in a fender-bender. Which will allow him to develop a treatment plan based on your specific injuries.
If he diagnoses whiplash or another soft tissue injury, he may prescribe an anti-inflammatory or a muscle relaxer. This will help you feel more comfortable. So will ice and heat. He’ll likely prescribe physical therapy to help you regain normal range of motion. And relieve your symptoms.
Don’t wait to make an appointment with Tri-State Orthopedics after a fender-bender. Contact us here.