One of the worst types of injuries that can result from a car accident is a cervical spine injury. These injuries are often serious and life-altering. Some common cervical spine injuries, including the fracture, subluxation of the neck.
Although the neck is protected by muscles, it can easily get damaged in a high-speed car accident. For instance, in a high-speed car crash, a person can get thrown forward, straight into a stationary object such as an airbag or steering wheel. The impact will cause the neck to snap forward and backward very quickly, which can injure the spinal cord. The cervical spine can also get dislocated (subluxation) or fractured if a person falls to the ground head first.
Cervical spine injuries may also result from the following:
- Motorcycle crash
- High-velocity impacts
- Ejection from a vehicle
Symptoms and Treatment
The individual may experience a spinal shock immediately after the accident, or he/she may not feel anything below the neck. While in most cases this situation is temporary, some people may experience complete paralysis from the neck down for the rest of their lives.
The following are other symptoms of a neck injury:
- Weakness and numbness in the upper extremities
There are numerous medical procedures available for the treatment of spinal injuries of the neck. However, often the first step to deal with neck injuries such as subluxation or fracture is the use of a cervical collar. The cervical collar stabilizes the neck and prevents any further damage.
The next line of treatment in case there is any spinal swelling is decompressing the spinal cord. Steroids may also be given to help the process. However, surgery will be often necessary if there was a fracture to the vertebrae. The surgery would involve fusing the broken parts together. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment and recovery may be very extensive.
Prognosis and Future Outlook
The prognosis depends on the severity of the cervical spine injury. Individuals with a fractured vertebra without any injuries on the spinal cord have a good chance of recovering from the injury. However, some patients may also develop arthritis and may have limited movement of the neck.
Recovery from a spinal cord injury is unpredictable. The recovery from subluxation and fracture is often slow. Some people may regain the use of their limbs, but the weakness and numbness in areas below the neck may persist. Some people may have to bear the pain of lifelong paralysis. These individuals may have a high risk of developing medical problems such as infections, bowel problems, respiratory and heart problems, among others.
Subluxation or fracture of the neck may require prolonged treatment and therapy. If you have suffered a subluxation or fracture of the neck in a car accident, your medical expenses will likely begin to pile up quickly. It is important that you claim compensation for all the losses you have suffered in the accident, including medical expenses and extended time off of work. An experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer at our law firm can help you at every step of your claim process.
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