Most Americans will experience at least one motor vehicle collision during their lifetimes. Sometimes, the accident comes with no warning. Other times, there is a frightening moment where time seems to stand still as we see the impending collision unfolding before our eyes.
Afterwards, some will have minor injuries and simply walk away. Many others are not so lucky. In the worst scenarios, life is lost. In some instances, people suffer horrible injuries that require hospitalization, surgery, and ongoing treatment. Then there are those whose injuries aren’t as visible, but the pain never seems to resolve.
Whatever type of injury occurs, a person’s life can be permanently changed. In this article, we will focus on some of the types of treatment people receive for neck injuries received in motor vehicle collisions.
Injuries from Car Accidents Are Common
According to Driver Knowledge, approximately 6 million car accidents occur in the United States every year. Around 3 million people suffer injuries each year from automobile accidents, with 2 million people suffering permanent injury. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report that motor vehicle crashes cause more than 100 deaths every day. The CDC further notes that in 2017, motor vehicle crashes resulted in more than $75 billion in costs related to medical treatment and lost productivity.
While automobile crashes can result in harm to all different parts of the body, the neck is particularly vulnerable. Injuries can range from whiplash to bone fractures, disc injuries, and musculoskeletal injuries.
In some instances, people involved in car accidents underestimate the severity of the injury, thinking that everything will be alright in a few days. Unfortunately, a failure to obtain needed treatment can limit recovery and cause lasting problems.
Below, we will discuss some common forms of treatment.
Treatment for Neck Injuries
Naturally, the appropriate treatment for a neck injury is a decision best made in concert by a patient and his or her doctor. Thus, following an automobile accident, it’s imperative to have neck pain diagnosed by a medical professional. The appropriate course of treatment can then be determined after considering the type and severity of the injury, along with the patient’s particular circumstances.
1. Non-Surgical Intervention
Some neck injuries do not require surgery for resolution. Medical care providers may recommend (or prescribe) one or more of the following:
- Hot or cold packs
- Exercise for stretching or strengthening muscles
- Braces to provide additional support to the body
- Medications, such as muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy or other forms of rehabilitation
- Nerve blocks to help reduce pain
- Chiropractic treatment
2. Surgical Intervention
In some instances, it may be determined that surgery represents the best opportunity to recover from neck injuries. While the following list is not inclusive, it highlights some of the available treatments:
- Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) – A surgeon enters the front of the neck to remove the damaged disc. The vertebrae are then fused together.
- Artificial disc replacement – This surgery is similar to ACDF, but an artificial disc is used to replace the damaged disc. Therefore, it is not necessary to fuse the bones.
- Laminectomy – A spinal decompression surgery that removes a part of the vertebrae called the lamina.
- Laminoplasty – Reduces pressure on the spinal canal and nerves by cutting and restructuring the lamina without completely removing it.
- Cervical foraminotomy – This procedure enlarges the foramen, a hole in the vertebrae.
Call with Questions
If you have suffered a neck injury as the result of an automobile accident, you probably have questions concerning your health and how to proceed legally to be properly compensated for your losses. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we help people all over Oregon navigate these challenges and would be happy to answer your questions with a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury lawyers believe that the only way to keep everyone in Oregon a little bit safer is by making sure that those who negligently cause harm to others are held accountable for their actions.