How Do Car Accidents Affect the Spine?

How Do Car Accidents Affect the Spine?

Each year, more than 2 million people are injured in motor vehicle crashes. Thanks to advances in safety equipment and technology, such as airbags, cameras, and electronic controls, new vehicles are safer than ever, and motor vehicle death rates have dropped significantly during the past two decades.

But despite all those positive developments, motor vehicle accidents and injuries continue to occur. Injuries can happen even in minor traffic accidents. Any type of trauma to your body — especially your back, neck, or head — can cause damage that can linger for months or even years.

Fortunately, targeted treatment can give relief for acute or chronic pain and distress caused by motor vehicle accidents. At Atlas Health Center in San Francisco, California, our providers specialize in helping people injured in accidents.

Because traffic accidents are especially likely to affect your spine, our providers would like to share information here about how spine injuries occur in motor vehicle crashes and some of the treatments we offer to help injured patients.

How accidents impact the spine

A motor vehicle accident exerts a great amount of force on your body, even if you are not traveling at high speed. When your car hits another car or a stationary object, such as a highway divider, your body’s momentum suddenly stops. Even if you’re wearing a seatbelt, this change in momentum can damage your spine and the structures surrounding it.

The spine is a complicated structure made up of multiple bones, nerves, tendons, and discs. It is supported by many different muscles and other types of soft tissue. Injuries affecting any part of this complex system can impact your entire body.

Spine injuries can result in a long list of symptoms, including pain, pressure, weakness, and numbness in your back, neck, arms, or legs, as well as a decrease in mobility and flexibility. They can also cause less obvious symptoms, such as headaches, problems with bowel or bladder control, trouble keeping your balance, breathing changes, or even a loss of sexual function.

In some cases, symptoms from a motor vehicle accident may not start until days or even weeks later. 

Treating spine injuries

To help relieve the pain, loss of mobility, and other spine problems caused by motor vehicle accidents, our providers start by performing a full examination of your health, symptoms, flexibility, and body mechanics.

After evaluating your spine condition, our providers create a personalized treatment plan to address your needs. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

During the course of your treatment, our providers continue to evaluate your symptoms, quality of life, and sense of well-being. If needed, we finetune your treatment plan to ensure that you’re progressing as rapidly as possible toward fuller functionality and comfort.

High-quality care for your spine

If you’ve had a motor vehicle accident or other spine trauma, or if you’re experiencing any kind of spine-related symptoms or distress, our providers can help. To schedule an evaluation, call our San Francisco office at 415-549-0555 or book an appointment online now.

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