It is very common to have neck pain after a car accident. However, the symptoms do not always present the same way. Sometimes the pain happens immediately. Other times it may be a few days or weeks before pain sets in. In both instances, the dynamics of the injury itself are similar. This article is meant to help victims of accidents understand a typical course of treatment. This article must not be misconstrued as medical advice. Whenever you have neck pain after a car accident, the first thing you should do is speak to the police. The second is getting the proper medical care. Even if you are not feeling pain at the time of the crash you should get checked out. Even the slightest of symptoms can turn into something life-altering.
Initial Treatment When You Have Neck Pain After a Car Accident
Complaints of neck pain after a car accident in the emergency room are often treated the same way. The complaints will cause them to run some test, whether it be an x-ray or a CT scan (computerized tomography). It is important to note that in the emergency room, they are looking for just that, emergencies. This means that injuries which can be very serious can be overlooked because they are not life-threatening emergencies at first. In addition, tests like x-rays are not effective in diagnosing some of the most common neck injuries. Injuries like disc bulges and herniations usually take more sophisticated testing.
Following the emergency room, it is likely that you will get a recommendation to rest and see a physician. The physician you see can be the difference between the proper care, and failure to diagnose a serious problem. Most emergency rooms will recommend that you see your general practitioner. Unless your doctor is a specialist, this can be a mistake. In general, it is best to see an orthopedic doctor, a neurologist or a neurosurgeon.
Treatment with a Specialist
A specialist may send you for magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRI) when you have neck pain after a car accident. It is also likely that you will receive some kind of physical therapy program. The purpose of the MRI is to try to understand whether you have an injury to one of your discs. Injuries to your discs can worsen over time, cause pain, numbness down your arms or legs, and weakness. Rehabilitation programs are designed to help with these symptoms. Rehabilitation can consist of physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture. You could also receive pain medication in the form of pills, medical patches or injections. All of these are typical treatments for those who present with neck pain after the car accident.
If you are still experiencing painful symptoms, it’s best to consult with a spine surgeon. The decision to have spinal surgery because of neck pain after a car accident is a very significant decision. As most surgeons will tell you, any kind of spinal surgery should be your last resort. A spinal surgeon can tell you the risks and benefits of surgery. During the consultation you will weigh many factors. The most common are the severity of your symptoms and how long you have had your symptoms. You will also consider your age and general health. Finally you must consider the likelihood of the surgery helping you in the future. Make sure that you get the best advice and medical care when you feel neck pain after a car accident. In order to do so, be as honest as possible with your doctors about your symptoms and follow their orders. Advice is just a phone call away, please contact the Platta Law Firm with any questions.