The symptoms of a neck injury can vary depending on the type of injury, how serious it is, and whether the injury affected the spinal cord. Pain and swelling are two of the most common signs of any neck injury, although they may not occur immediately.
If you were in an accident and believe you may have neck injuries, get emergency medical care as soon as possible. Call emergency medical personnel after a fall from a height, a car accident, or any other type of accident. Emergency medical professionals may immobilize your neck to prevent further damage before taking you to the hospital.
Symptoms of Common Types of Neck Injuries
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries to the neck, including sprains and strains (e.g., whiplash), are some of the most common neck injuries. They can cause:
- Pain in the neck, arm, shoulders, and upper back
- Shooting pains down one or both arms and hands
Disc injuries, including torn, ruptured, or herniated discs, can occur in falls, auto accidents, and other accidents. A herniated disc can press against the spinal cord. Symptoms of disc injuries include:
- Dizzy or lightheaded
- Pain in shoulders and down the arm
A broken neck is a fracture or dislocation of one or more cervical vertebrae. When this happens, it can involve the spinal cord and could cause paralysis. If a person suffers a neck injury in a car accident or other traumatic event, it is imperative to immobilize the neck and transport them to the hospital immediately. This is a job for first responders. Symptoms of a broken neck may include:
- Pain in the area of the injury
- Pain radiating down the shoulders and arms
- Swelling and bruising, although it may not appear immediately
- Decreased or absent feeling in the arms, truck, and/or legs
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
Some Neck Injuries Involve the Spinal Cord
When a neck injury involves the spinal cord, the outcome can be devastating and catastrophic. Immediate medical care is imperative and may reduce the damage caused by the injury. If there is spinal cord involvement, symptoms of the neck injury may include:
- Pain and pressure in your neck, head, or upper back
- Weakness or paralysis in any or all extremities (depending on the level of spinal cord injury)
- Numbness or tingling in any or all extremities
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with coordination, balance, and/or walking
- Difficulty breathing
See a Doctor If You Have Any Symptoms of a Neck Injury
If you or a loved one recently experienced significant trauma or have symptoms of a neck injury, seek immediate evaluation and medical intervention. Doctors may be able to limit the swelling and stabilize the neck before further damage occurs.
Further, getting a medical evaluation right away is the best way to tie the injuries back to the accident, which may be important if you later file a spinal cord injury claim against the party that caused your neck injury.
Pursuing Compensation for a Neck Injury
If you or a loved one suffered a serious neck injury in an accident caused by another party’s negligence – e.g., car accident, premises liability accident, or medical malpractice – a member of the Newsome | Melton team is standing by to take your call. We can review your case for free and take legal action on your behalf.