The neck is a vulnerable area of the body when it comes to automobile accident injuries. The neck contains the same anatomical structure of the neck.
It is composed of the spinal cord surrounded by vertebrae and cushioned and separated by discs. The neck, however, is more susceptible to injury as the head sits fully on top, weighing roughly eight pounds, with no additional structure surrounding to offer support.
The neck, while having a wider range of motion than the back, has some of its own limits that can cause an increase susceptibility to be injured. If it is bent in a position that forces it to support the full weight of the head without having the support of the back structure under it, injury can occur. This happens most frequently in car accidents.
There are numerous injuries to the neck that can occur from a car accident. Cervical nerve pinch is one of them. The nerves in the spinal cord run from the neck down the arms and into the hands. These nerves also contribute to the feeling you have within the skin of the shoulder region down into the arm.
During a car accident, those same nerves can become pinched by discs that have shifted, inflammation, or even bone spurs from broken bones. This can cause numbness, tingling, and pain felt down the arm into the fingers.
It is not uncommon during an automobile accident for the neck to be forced into positions where it is bent either too far backward or forward. This can cause strain or even torn muscles as they are stretched past their limits. Soft tissue or ligament injuries can also occur from these abrupt movements. Neck strain is where there is torn muscle whereas neck sprains come from soft tissue injury.
Another unfortunate but common injury from a car accident is herniation of one of the discs within the neck. These discs are positioned in between the vertebrae of the neck, just like in the back. The violent motion from car accidents can cause the vertebrae to move and the discs to become displaced from between them. Rupture of these discs may also occur.
It is not always easy for you to pinpoint the source of the injury after an automobile accident as pain may not always present directly at the site of injury. Radiating pain down the arms and into the hands, numbness in shoulders, weakening of the muscles, headache, or even decreased reflexes can all be indicative of a neck injury