What You Need to Know About Neck & Back Sprains & Strains
Car accident victims commonly suffer from strains and sprains of the muscles and ligaments in the regions of the neck and back. These injuries are often called soft tissue injuries and whiplash.
Sprains Caused by Car Accidents
A sprain is the result of a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are thick cartilaginous bands that attach bone to bone. A sprain is an injury that affects these ligaments. Bruising, swelling and pain often characterize strains. The pain can be serious.
Strains Caused by Car Accidents
A strain is an injury that affects the muscles or tendons. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Pain and muscle spasm can occur with a strain, which is the result of a quick tear or pull of the muscle or tendons. Swelling and bruising can also often appear at the location of a strain.
Whiplash Caused by Car Accidents
It is very common to experience sprains and strains in the neck and back, especially from a rear-end collision. In a rear-end car accident collision, the victim is first loaded into the seat as the car is pushed forward underneath the victim while the head has been ‘left behind’, stretching the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the neck. Then, right as the car starts to slow down in its forward momentum, the victim springs forward out of the seat only to be stopped at the chest by the seat belt, allowing the head to hyper-extend forward. This type of injury is often called “whiplash”.
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This movement stretches, strains and injures the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the neck and back. The pain and swelling associated with these sprains and strains may not be felt right away. Oftentimes car accident victims experience the worst pain two, three or sometimes four days after the accident.
The injured muscles often start to spasm periodically making what feels like tight knots around the injured area. When a muscle, ligament or tendon is damaged, bleeding may occur, which later appears as blue, purple, green and yellow bruising.
Diagnosis of Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by a Dallas Car Accident
If a car accident victim gets seen by a medical doctor at an emergency room, x-rays will usually be taken. This is to make sure that no bones have been broken, displaced or fractured.
A physical examination by a doctor can frequently diagnose sprains and strains. If a patient is diagnosed with a sprain or strain, ice initially and later warmth on the afflicted areas, plenty of rest, immobilization and over-the-counter and prescription pain killers and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen may be recommended by a doctor or other medical provider.
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Sprains, strains and whiplash often take a long time to heal. In serious cases physical therapy is necessary to strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as to help them overcome their injured state.
The damaged areas often form scar tissue. Physical therapy and other medical modalities can minimize scar tissue and help to keep it flexible and strong.
If the scar tissue is not kept flexible and strong by assisted healing modalities, it can cause pain, tightness in a lack of mobility in the neck, upper neck area (cervical), mid-back area (thoracic) and lower back area (lumbar). Studies have shown that chiropractic care and adjustments and physical therapy exercises can help heal the damaged areas, reduce swelling, encourage healing, increase flexibility and aid in keeping the area mobile.
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In the case of soft tissue back and neck injuries caused by many automobile accidents, medical doctors can also prescribe muscle relaxers (also called muscle relaxants) to reduce spasms and cramping and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and promote blood flow. Pain killers are also often prescribed. Minor sprains and strains can heal themselves within a couple of weeks, while more severe sprains and strains may take several months to heal.
If you or a loved one in the Dallas or North Texas area have experienced whiplash, sprains, strains or any other kind of injury as the result of another person’s negligence causing a car accident, you have the right to be compensated for your damages which includes your pain and suffering as well as the cost of your medical treatment and lost wages. The Dallas County car accident personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane always gives a FREE initial consultations and case consultations.
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