More than 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the United States every year. While some injuries may be obvious immediately after an accident, there are several injuries caused by auto accidents that you might not notice right away.
A whiplash injury is one of the most common injuries caused by an auto accident when an individual’s car is hit from behind. In a whiplash injury, the head jerks backward and then forward with such force that it overextends the normal range of motion of the neck.
Whiplash Injury Warning Signs
A whiplash injury can range from moderate to severe, but there are some warning signs that typically appear within a day of the auto accident.
Neck Pain and Stiff Neck
After the initial impact of the car accident, your body releases endorphins that increase your heart rate and help you get through the stress of assessing the damage to your car, exchanging insurance information, filing a police report and deciding what to do next. Once the initial stress of the situation has dissipated, the most common early warning sign that you may have a whiplash injury is neck pain or a stiff neck. Muscles tighten up as your body attempts to protect the injury and prevent future injuries. Many people feel stiffness or pain in their shoulders or upper back as well.
Most headaches resulting from a whiplash injury begin at the base of the skull and shoot pain up the back of the head or toward the ears. A whiplash headache can manifest itself in both a sharp pain and a dull headache.
Dizziness or Blurred Vision
Another common warning sign of a whiplash injury is dizziness or vertigo caused by nerve damage to the neck. Many victims of dizziness after a car accident explain that it seems like the room is spinning. This dizziness can last from a few minutes to several days if left untreated.
Sleepiness or Extreme Fatigue
In stressful siturations, our adrenal glands release cortozol – giving us the “boost” of energy we need to make quick decisions and remain alert to answer questions. However, when we return to a safe place, our muscles relax and need to recharge. If we’ve experienced an injury, our bodies need to harness what little energy is left to begin the healing process. This can leave you feeling extremely tired or sleepy.
After a car accident, once you finally settle down for some much-needed sleep, the pain and stiffness in your neck can make it hard to sleep.
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs after an car accident or if you think you’re suffering from whiplash, it’s important to seek treatment. Motorists insured in the state of Florida have personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance policy as required by the state. Insured motorists can seek treatment for their injuries without it impacting their monthly premiums.
1. Both giraffes and humans have seven vertebrae in their necks.
2. As babies, we have 33 vertebrae but as adults we end up with 26. What happens to the 9remaining bones? Four of them will fuse to make our tailbone and five fuse to make the back of the pelvis.
3. The spinal column has 3 very important functions – it supports the body’s weight, provides flexibility for movement, protects nerve roots and fibres and forms a protective surrounding for the spinal cord – the main pathway of communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
4. The first set of vertebrae (the cervical vertebrae found in the neck) are also called the Atlas. Atlas is a character from Greek mythology who, after losing a fight, was turned to stone and had to carry the weight of the Earth and the Heavens on his shoulders. The cervical vertebrae were also given this name as they carry the weight of the head.
5. The biggest cause of disability in the working population is attributed to spinal disorders.
6. The spine contains over 120 muscles, 220 ligaments and over 100 joints.
7. One quarter of the spine’s length is made up from cartilage.
8. Since cartilage discs expand in the absence of gravity, astronauts returning from space may be 1.5 to 2 inches taller than when they left. Gravity’s effect on cartilage is also the cause of humans shrinking between a quarter of an inch and five inches every decade after the age of 40. It also means we are generally taller in the morning than at night because of the daily effect of gravity on the body.
9. Four out of five adults will experience some type of back pain during their lifetime. Back pain is considered the second most common location of pain experienced – headaches are considered the first.
10. The spine is so flexible it can bend far enough to form two thirds of a circle.
11. The most common cause of spinal cord injuries is vehicle accidents.
12. Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain experienced. This is because the lower back twists and bends more than any other part of the back and it also bears the weight of the upper body.
13. Sometimes back pain can be caused by other ailments in the body. Pain experienced in the middle of the back, which becomes worse after eating, may be a sign you have a stomach ulcer. And if you experience an intermittent back pain that reaches your groin, it could indicate you have kidney stones.
14. The spine is extremely strong – it can bear the pressure of hundreds of kilograms.