Motor vehicle accidents sometimes seem inevitable for anyone who shares the roadways with other drivers. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of car crashes each year.
According to the World Health Organization, the number of people who suffer spinal cord injuries worldwide is between 250,000 and 500,000 annually, and the majority result from car crashes.
Symptoms of neck or back injury
Your spine is largely responsible for your stability and mobility, and damage to your back or neck can have serious consequences. If you have experienced an accident recently and you suffer from one of the following symptoms, you may have an undiagnosed spinal cord injury:
- Burning sensation, pain or numbness
- Inability to walk
- Inability to move your extremities
- Muscle spasms
- Trouble breathing
Long-term effects of spinal cord damage
While the symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on the severity of the trauma, some damage is irreversible and could lead to life-long problems. A few chronic issues may include:
- Mild to severe long-lasting pain
- Difficulty standing, walking or balancing
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
When to seek treatment
Any injury to the head, neck or back may indicate spinal damage, and you should seek medical care immediately. Because of your adrenaline response to a dangerous situation like a crash, you may not feel pain immediately following a car accident. However, you should allow emergency medical technicians to evaluate you at the scene, and follow up with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
If you wait too long to address your neck or back pain, it will become difficult to prove that the accident is the cause of your suffering, which can weaken a personal injury claim after the fact.