Any time someone is involved in an auto collision, there is a risk that they could be badly hurt and suffer a neck injury. Neck pain, to a degree, is normal after a crash because of the forces involved. Most people will develop symptoms of whiplash or strain when they’ve been in a significant collision, regardless of the angle of the crash.
That being said, there are times when a pain in the neck shouldn’t be ignored and could be a larger issue than you think.
Is it whiplash or something more serious?
Whiplash happens when the ligaments and tendons in the neck are hyperextended. Usually, it takes time for whiplash to start to cause swelling and other symptoms, so you may not notice the pain or fatigue of the neck until 24 or 48 hours after a crash. It can happen quickly, though, so time itself is not a good measure of how serious a spinal injury is.
If the pain in your neck is sharp and stabbing, comes with numbness or tingling or just feels unusual, it’s important to consider that something more nefarious could be going on. It’s possible that you could have a broken bone or that the disc is out of place and pressing on your spinal cord.
Neck injuries require emergency treatment
Because of the risks you face if the tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones in the neck are unstable, you should seek emergency treatment any time you think that you have a neck injury.
After a crash, that means going to the hospital with the emergency medical technicians or paramedics, getting a full examination and allowing tests to be performed to identify if your spinal cord or column is injured.
Early assistance may reduce the impact of a serious neck injury
Getting help early could make it possible to get beneficial medications or treatments that help reduce the likelihood of longer-term pain and dysfunction. Don’t worry about the expenses related to this care. Put your health first, and then you can later make a claim against the at-fault driver for your medical care.