Frequently Asked Questions - What Injuries Can You Get From Being Rear ended?
A rear end accident is the most common type of accident to occur. They mainly involve a driver who is not paying sufficient attention to the road or the traffic in front of them or did not leave a safe enough distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. If you cause a rear end accident, chances are that you will receive a citation for careless driving. This can also result in points on your license.
You do not have to be hit very hard at all to sustain injuries from a rear end accident. Sometimes, vehicles traveling as slow as 5mph can cause significant bodily injury. Everyone is different and no two accidents are the same. One person can be rear ended at 40mph and not sustain any injuries or someone can be hit at 5mp and suffer significant injuries. If you are rear ended and are injured in any way, your best option is to consult with a medical doctor right away. If you leave your injuries unattended, you could make the injury worse or do permanent damage.
There are numerous injuries you can sustain from a rear end accident. The most common is whiplash. Another name for whiplash is neck sprain or strain. It is caused by your head jerking forward and then backwards very quickly. Your neck will be very sore and you may not be able to turn your head as you used to prior to the accident. Whiplash injuries can be treated by chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, hot and cold packs, water therapy and an array of other proven techniques. Some of the symptoms of whiplash are neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain. If your doctor suspects a whiplash injury, they will more than likely refer you for an MRI of the cervical spine.
Another very common injury from a rear end accident can be bulging of the spinal discs or a total disc herniation. You can have a disc bulge or herniation in your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. The spinal discs are made of fibrocartilage and are situated between each bony vertebral body making it possible for you to move and twist your body. If these discs are damaged or ruptured, you will be in a lot of pain. A disc bulge is where the annulus inside your discs are pressing on the spinal column and the nerves. A disc herniation is where the entire disc is ruptured. This can cause pain to the upper and lower extremities, sending shock waves through your body causing your arms or legs to go numb. This is known as radiculitis. If you are treating with a medical provider for your injuries, they may recommend you undergo epidural steroid injections to help numb the spine and relieve the pain. If the injections fail to relive the pain, your doctor may recommend you undergo surgery to repair the discs. In the last few years, doctors have changed the way they operate on your spine. Instead of cutting open your back and manually repairing the discs, they can now make a very small incision and insert a laser to burn away the portion of disc material that is pressing on the nerves. Usually this is done as an outpatient procedure and is completed in only a few hours. Normally, you are able to go home after a short period of observation and there is no hospitalization required.
If you hit your head hard enough on the steering wheel or the back of your head rest, you could end up with a concussion. The symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, loss of consciousness, confusion, forgetfulness, dizziness, nausea, delayed speech or response and tiredness. If you believe you or someone else has a concussion, it is extremely important to seek emergency medical treatment right away as it can become life threatening if not treated appropriately. A doctor will perform several tests and if you are diagnosed with a concussion, the best treatment is lots of rest and to refrain from any physical activities. It can take several weeks to recover from a concussion. Once all of your symptoms have resolved, your doctor will inform you when it is safe to resume your normal daily activities. If you have a headache for more than 24 hours, you should consult your physician right away as this could be a sign of internal damage or something much worse.
Another very common injury from a rear end accident is a knee injury. As your vehicle is pushed forward, your entire body moves and sometimes your knee will hit the lower portion of your dash board. These types of knee injuries vary from a small bruise, a complete tear of the ligaments or an actual fracture. An MRI will be able to determine the extent of damage to the knee. If you are experiencing any type of knee injury, your doctor will advise you to not bear any weight on the leg until you are healed and no longer experiencing any pain. If the MRI reveals a tear or fracture, some injuries will heal on their own, however; you may end up having to have knee surgery. If you undergo surgery to the knee, you will be required to remain non-weight bearing on that leg until your doctor advises you otherwise.
Broken bones can also be sustained from a rear end accident. If you suspect you have a broken bone, it’s always best to seek emergency medical treatment at your closest emergency room. They will order CT scans or MRI’s to determine if there is a break or fracture. If you have a broken or fractured bone, you will probably be placed into a cast or at least a sling and will be advised to get plenty of rest and refrain from any activities that will aggravate the injury. Most bones heal on their own over time, but if the bone does not set on its own, your doctor will recommend surgical intervention.