Phone: (843) 650-3232  -  3975 Dick Pond Rd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588 

 Phone: (843) 650-3232  -  3975 Dick Pond Rd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

What Happens to the Spine in a Rear-End Auto Accident?

According to the Mayo Clinic, car accidents are responsible for more than 40% of spinal injuries every year. The impact of an auto accident, particularly a rear-end auto accident, puts sudden strain on the muscles and ligaments surrounding the vertebrae in the neck and spine. Whereas the facet joints (where the protruding part of vertebrae meet) and discs between the vertebrae absorb the force of the impact. Common spine-related injuries for rear-end auto accidents include whiplash, compression fractures and herniated discs.

Whiplash


Whiplash is most common with rear-end auto accidents. The initial impact shifts the skull back before snapping it forward in a whip-like movement. Most people who develop whiplash after an accident have symptoms within the first 24 hours following the injury. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the neck, blurred vision, dizziness, ringing in the ears and a headache at the base of the skull.

Compression Fractures

Fractures in the spine following a rear-end car accident are most often in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine (middle and lower back). The reason fractures occur in this part of the spine is because the force of the impact shifts the upper body forward while the seatbelt restrains the waist area from moving away from the seat. This movement can pull the vertebrae apart and quickly compress them with significant force as the upper body is pulled back against the seat again. If there is possible damage to the spine in an accident, it's best not to move the person, if possible. Emergency personnel are trained to extract someone while minimizing additional damage to the spine. Spinal fractures are particularly dangerous because loose pieces of bone can migrate with movement and cause permanent damage to the spinal cord.

Disc Herniation

The same movement described in the compression fracture and whiplash section can also result in disc herniation. Discs provide cushion between each vertebra and the ones next to it. Herniation is when injury or force causes the disc to be compressed to the point that it bulges out from between the vertebrae. Discs can also rupture and result in significant injury to the spine.

While no one plans to have an auto accident, if you happen to be involved in one - particularly if you are rear-ended - it's important to be evaluated for these common spinal injuries. Injuries to the spine can have serious and painful consequences. Even if you are determined to be free of the above injuries, it is always a good idea to have an evaluation with a chiropractor to check for misalignments or other, less-obvious injuries resulting from the accident.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Tuesday

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Wednesday

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Thursday

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Friday

9:00 to 10:00

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Monday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wednesday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday
9:00 to 10:00
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

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