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Why your spine is vulnerable to injury in a rear-end crash

Let us say you stop at a busy intersection and wait for the light to change. Suddenly, you feel a terrific jolt and realize you have become the victim of a rear-end crash.

You check yourself for injuries, but thankfully, you seem to be okay except for some stiffness in your back. It is only later in the day that the discomfort really sets in and you make an appointment with your doctor.

What happened

You sustained a herniated disc as a result of the impact from the rear-end collision. Although your car has many safety features, they do not protect your entire body. Airbags protect your head and chest. Seat belts keep the lower part of your body relatively still in a crash, but movement continues in your upper body to some extent. Your spine absorbs much of the force of impact, hence the herniated disc. The crash caused the disc to shift out of place, compressing the nearby nerves. Your doctor may order conservative care and rest unless the injury is severe enough to warrant surgery.

Other possible spinal injuries

You have no doubt heard of whiplash, possibly the most common vehicle accident injury there is. Whiplash occurs in the cervical portion of your neck because the sudden jolt in a crash causes your head to snap back and forth. Even if you feel no pain right after the collision, you may soon experience headaches, dizziness, soreness or blurred vision. Car crash victims may also suffer spinal fractures or spondylolisthesis, a condition that results when a stress fracture to the bone causes a vertebra to shift out of place.

Looking ahead

Given the always-increasing traffic around the Evansville area, you probably thought a rear-end collision was bound to happen to you someday, but you were not prepared for the resulting spinal injury. Your recovery will take some time. You are out of work and into rehab, but meanwhile, there are bills to pay. Explore your legal options. As the victim of an auto accident, you can expect to receive full and fair compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and more.

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