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What can a car accident do to your spine?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2021 | Car Accidents, Injuries |

When another vehicle collides with one in which you are an occupant, it can exert tremendous forces on your body. The body can absorb a certain amount of force, but if the impact of the collision exceeds this, it can result in injuries that are sometimes serious.

If you have an injury to your spine, it is a matter of particular concern. Spine injuries affect not only the musculoskeletal system but potentially the central nervous system as well, which may result in lifelong complications. Here are some common spinal injuries to occur in car accidents.

Vertebral fractures

What you may know as your backbone is actually the spinal column, which consists of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord, and because there are many different bones in the spinal column, the articulation allows you to move. With sufficient force, the vertebrae are as susceptible to fracture as any other bone in the body.

According to Spine Universe, vertebral fractures from car accidents are not as common as they once were due to increased safety equipment in vehicles. Nevertheless, they can still occur in the most severe collisions.

Herniated disks

Vertebral disks are rubbery structures found between the bones of your spinal column. They provide cushioning and shock absorption to your vertebrae. A disk consists of a tough, flexible exterior surrounding a softer center. The trauma of a car accident can cause the exterior of the disk to tear, allowing the soft interior to leak out.

Vertebral fractures and herniated disks can put pressure on the spinal cord itself. This can result in symptoms of weakness, numbness or tingling in the limbs. Whether the symptoms occur in your legs or arms depends on the level of the spine where the injury occurred. Car accidents can also cause injuries to the spinal cord itself, which may result in paralysis.


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