If you are in a car accident that involves rapid acceleration or deceleration, your head is likely to move violently from front to back or side to side. This rapid movement can cause whiplash, which is one of the more common accident-associated injuries. Generally, though, whiplash is not a catastrophic injury.
Even though it can be excruciatingly painful, whiplash usually heals on its own. Still, to ensure you have not suffered a serious whiplash-related injury, it is advisable to go to the emergency room for an evaluation.
Myelopathy of the cervical spine
Your cervical spine is the part of your spine that passes through your neck. Spinal myelopathy is the medical term for spinal cord compression. If neck bones, ligaments, or disks shift due to whiplash, you might develop myelopathy in your cervical spine. After all, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, whiplash is a common cause of spinal cord compression.
Symptoms of spinal myelopathy
If you have spinal myelopathy, you may be at risk of developing permanent paralysis. Consequently, it is unwise to take a wait-and-see approach to possible spinal cord compression. Here are some common symptoms of the condition:
- Weakness, bumbling or tingling in your fingers or toes
- Pain in your neck, back or limbs
- Difficulty balancing or performing tasks that require fine motor skills
- Incontinence or loss of bowel or bladder function
As you probably know, diagnosing and treating a spinal cord injury can be expensive. Ultimately, though, you might have legal grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation from the driver who was responsible for your motor vehicle accident.