Being in a car accident is an unsettling experience. Both fender benders and serious collisions can cause injuries that require ongoing and specialized medical attention. Knowing some common car accident injuries can help you decide where to be treated depending on your situation.
Aside from minor cuts and bruises, back and spinal cord injuries are at the top of the list. These include lumbar spine or disc injury, fractures, or herniated discs, and they can result in tension or loss of sensation. To accurately diagnose the source of your pain, you will typically need to get an MRI and undergo a series of tests.
Neck and shoulder injuries are also widely reported, with whiplash being the most common within this category. Whiplash is characterized by tightness, pain, and muscle spasms in the shoulders or upper back, pain associated with neck movement, and burning or tingling in the affected area. The seat belt can also strain the shoulders, resulting in muscle tears.
A knee injury that is frequently seen after car crashes is known as “dashboard knee,” which occurs when your bent knee slams into something like the dashboard. This injury can involve ACL tears, cartilage damage, or chondromalacia of the patella – pain and irritation of the underside of the kneecap.
It’s important to seek out the right type of care for your injuries. Emergency rooms are the place to start for immediate medical attention, but they are not your best option for specialized care. For instance, common advice for whiplash injuries is to apply ice packs, take anti-inflammatory medication, and consult your doctor if symptoms persist beyond two weeks. However, this advice is likely responsible for some of the 30% of whiplash victims who have recurring symptoms, or the 10% or more who become disabled.
Proper therapeutic intervention within the initial two weeks following an accident greatly reduces the chance of long-term symptoms. The specialties most likely needed to treat damaged spines and herniated discs, shoulder and neck injuries, or musculature and ligament damage are orthopaedic practitioners and chiropractors.
Find a Specialist
Consulting with your primary doctor is a good starting point for receiving the right kind of medical care. They can evaluate your initial symptoms, suggest possible treatment options, and recommend specialists. Though being in a car accident is a frightening experience, it’s good to remember that being informed and seeking medical treatment right away can help ensure that you won’t suffer long-term effects. After that you may wish to contact a lawyer that is a car accident specialist to assist you in filing a personal injury claim.