Car accidents are responsible for many injuries per year, some minor and some life-threatening or even life-ending. Some of these injuries are expensive to treat and may permanently disable the victim to the point where they can no longer work or need special medical care. Others are so common, like wrist sprains and whiplash, that over-the-counter treatment is all that’s required. Here are five of the most common car accident injuries and how they are usually treated.
These injuries are caused when a passenger or driver’s head is slammed into the dashboard during impact. The steering wheel, a window, or a windshield could have been the hit point as well, and they can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries. In these injuries, the brain is thrust against the inside the skull. Like every other damaged body part, the brain can be bruised and suffer bleeding and swelling. But unlike other body parts, when the brain swells, it is trapped inside of the skull. This can lead to devastating complications.
Whiplash is a common injury in a crash. It occurs when the head is violently jerked back and forth. This results in injuries to the neck muscles and ligaments, the vertebral discs and joints, and the nerves. The symptoms of whiplash might not present themselves for a day or longer after the injury and the severity of the symptoms vary from one patient to the next.
These injuries are separate from injuries to the spinal cord, for they don’t necessarily involve the spinal cord itself. They usually affect the lumbar back and are muscle sprains, vertebral fractures, and ruptured discs. These discs are spongy material that cushion the vertebrae from each other. Even if the spinal cord isn’t involved, these injuries can cause a great deal of pain and limit a person’s movement after an accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries happen when the spinal cord is punctured or damaged by pieces of bone, cartilage, or ligaments. This interrupts the signals that nerve cells give and receive to allow different parts of the body to function properly. A severe spinal cord injury can result in a loss of functioning below the injury.
The violence done to the body during a bad car accident can result in injuries to the bones, the muscles, and the internal organs. Internal injuries must be considered life-threatening, even as closed internal injuries can’t be seen by a first responder or EMT. The helper will have to assume the patient has internal injuries through signs and symptoms, even if the patient is unconscious. For example, a person whose ribs have been fractured may have a chest wall that doesn’t expand and contract normally.
Car accidents are a sadly common occurrence, but usually not deadly. The injuries that result can stay with you for a long time, whether it’s the rest of your life or just a few months. These are just a few of the most common to watch out for.