Spinal injury and auto accidents
Spinal injury, especially the neck region, are common in motor vehicle crashes. These can occur in all types of collisions, including frontal, side impact, rear impact, and roll-over, but are most frequent in the rear impact variety. These are often referred to as whiplash injuries, although newer terms include whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) and cervical acceleration/deceleration (CAD) disorder. Spinal injury can be to the spinal cord, the nerve roots (i.e., radiculopathy), the discs (i.e., disc herniation), and surrounding ligaments and joint capsules (i.e., facet joints). Fractures to the spinal bones themselves (i.e., vertebrae) can also occur and these can take the form of microfractures and be difficult to diagnose without special imaging techniques such as CT scans or SPECT studies. While surgery may sometimes be required, more often it is not. Long-term instability of the spine can result in an accelerated degeneration of the spine. Management requires careful diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Symptoms include neck pain, back pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain.
Whiplash neck injury from rear impact collisions
With about 3 million neck injuries in the U.S. each year, and a third to half of the victims never fully recovering, it is a true modern epidemic. It costs us $49 billion annually. The most common complaints are neck pain and stiffness, shoulder pain, arm pain, and back pain. Other symptoms include dizziness, numbness, mental confusion, visual disturbances, and fatigue. Dr. Croft is one of the world's leading authorities on whiplash neck injury and has been researching whiplash through clinical and crash test research for more than two decades. Today's cars are actually less safe-with a few exceptions-than those of the 1980s and earlier.