If you have ever been in a serious car accident, you likely know the importance of seeking medical treatment right away. However, even slower, low-impact car accidents like rear-end collisions can have a significant impact on your body. Rear-end car accidents are unfortunately quite common and many people can underestimate how serious injuries can still occur. Even during a lower-impact or slower-moving car accident, your body is still jolted unnaturally and this can increase chances of injury to the neck and spine and a trip to the spine doctor is in order.
Common Reasons for Rear-End Collisions
Most rear-end collisions occur when the leading car is stopped or moving at a slower rate of speed. However, the driver following the vehicle can approach the leading car from a variety of different conditions, which can affect the severity of the car accident injuries.
One of the most common reasons for a rear-end accident is when a driver is following too closely to the car in front of them. When drivers do not keep a safe distance from the car ahead of them, there is less time and space to react to any sudden changes or distractions. Additionally, aggressive drivers who intentionally tailgate another car may not have the time and space to react to a need to stop suddenly.
Distracted driving is one of the most unfortunate reasons for rear-end collisions because the driver of the car who caused the accident was likely not paying proper attention to the task at hand. Things like texting, eating, and talking on the phone can distract a driver from what is happening on the road in front of them. Sleepy drivers are also distracted drivers, and tiredness can contribute to a slower reaction time.
Speeding can sometimes cause more serious rear-end collisions because the force of impact is greater if the driver does not have enough time to slow down before colliding with the car in front of them. This can cause injuries to anyone present in both cars involved.
Weather can affect safety on the roads when drivers try to drive normally through serious conditions like heavy rain, fog, and ice. These types of weather conditions can lead to more slippery roads, and reaction times to sudden movements can cause drivers to lose control.
Common Injuries from Rear-End Collisions
While seatbelts and airbags help reduce movement of the body upon impact, often the neck, upper back, and a person’s arms and legs can be jolted unnaturally due to the force of impact. It is important to seek medical treatment from a skilled orthopedic specialist or spine doctor to address any injuries as soon as possible.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries from a rear-end collision because the bodies of the driver and any passengers in the car are jolted and jostled with the sudden movement out of natural alignment. When the head and neck are jerked back and forth suddenly, potentially colliding with the headrest or even steering wheel, soft tissue damage can occur. Symptoms of whiplash may occur right away, but they can also be delayed as the body’s adrenaline reaction slows and swelling begins.
A concussion occurs when the brain is jostled inside the skull, leading to bruising and affecting tissues. When a rear-end collision occurs at slow speeds, you might not think a concussion can be possible, but they are common occurrences when the head is jostled forcefully and suddenly. Concussions often have delayed symptoms and it is important to seek medical attention after any type of car accident because concussion symptoms and effects can be very serious.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Sudden, unexpected impact to the body can cause damage to the spine in a number of ways. Joints in the spine that allow the spine to flex when you bend and twist can become overextended or jolted out of place, leading to significant neck and back injuries. Spinal fractures can also occur, especially in rear-end collisions occurring at higher speeds. Stress fractures, slipped discs, and even significant spinal cord injuries can occur and affect daily life.
The hours and even days after an accident can leave you feeling uncomfortable, unsettled, and stressed. When you add symptoms of pain and discomfort, this can be very confusing and frustrating. Connecting with a spine doctor or orthopedic specialist soon after an accident can help alleviate both the stress and the symptoms you are experiencing. Spine doctors at AICA Orthopedics can provide you with comprehensive care to address not only your presenting symptoms, but also identify any other potential areas of pain and discomfort. Visit one of our clinics after any type of auto accident or rear-end collision and receive the quality care and treatment you deserve.