Cervical spinal cord injuries are those that impact the neck area of the spine. The 7 vertebrae in the neck connect the head to the body but are the smallest of all the vertebral bones. This means the chances of suffering a cervical spinal cord injury is higher amongst all spinal injuries, and car accidents cause nearly half of all neck injuries.
Neck Injuries and Strains
It is estimated that each year in the U.S. there are more than 1 million whiplash injuries. These cervical spinal cord injuries usually affect the lower neck vertebral bones and soft tissues surrounding them.
Immediate signs of cervical spinal cord injuries include headache, stiffness, restriction of motion, and pain. Severe cervical spinal injuries can cause tingling in the arms or hands, numbness, or paralysis as in cases of spinal fractures.
Misunderstood Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
Cervical spinal cord injuries resulting in heavy strain on the neck are commonly known as whiplash. These neck injuries and their effects are largely misunderstood and often overlooked.
Insurance companies have historically classified whiplash and cervical cord injuries involving strains as a fabricated injury or a minor/lesser injury. The logic used was that minor vehicle damage means minor physical injuries.
The reality is that whiplash and other neck injuries can occur both at low speeds and in minor crashes. The disproportionate masses of the head and body to your relatively thin neck cause it to “whip” out of its normal range of motion during most car accidents, regardless of vehicle damage.
Levels of strain vary widely in neck injuries, but it is important for victims of spinal injuries and car accidents to know that even mild strains can leave the neck more prone to serious cervical spinal cord injuries should another trauma to the neck occur. This is especially true if the whiplash is never diagnosed, or misdiagnosed.
Women and children are more susceptible to strained neck injuries, and symptoms of milder strains and neck injuries can be delayed. Therefore, victims should always see a doctor to help them identify symptoms, and to diagnose and properly treat cervical spinal cord injuries as soon as possible.
If you have suffered a cervical spinal cord injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, consider consulting a personal injury attorney to discuss your options for pursuing a personal injury claim.