What Is a Cervical Sprain?

Cervical Sprain After Car Accident

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. A very common injury following a car accident is a cervical sprain or strain, more commonly called whiplash. This injury is common after a car accident because of the neck’s ability to move freely without protection at the time of injury. A cervical sprain is a traumatic injury of the neck that affects the cervical spine. This sneaky but common injury is significant because it can lead to further problems in the brain if treatment is not received.

What is a Cervical Sprain?

In the case of a car accident, when the vehicle is hit or hits something that sudden impact takes the head by surprise and can cause a forceful back and forth movement at the neck. Not every time, but sometimes this movement can be very violent leaving the head and brain with a traumatic injury. A cervical sprain is an injury to the neck when it has snapped like a whip leaving the head and neck vulnerable to more severe brain injuries. A neck strain or sprain could also take place during a contact sport but are most commonly from car accidents specifically rear-end collisions.

Common Symptoms:

Initial Symptoms:

  • general soreness
  • stiffness or loss of motion to the neck
  • pain in neck, head, or back
  • mild headaches
  • tingling or numbness

Later Symptoms:

Prompt Medical Care Following Car Accident

It is important to rule out any fractures or tissue damage that could have resulted from a neck injury after a car accident. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above after a traumatic event go to a hospital or see your doctor as soon as possible. Even if the symptoms seem mild with a stiff or sore neck after an auto accident it is extremely important to get this checked to rule out any serious side effects. Prompt medical care is the most important thing you can do to help yourself if you are worried at all about a neck injury.

Doctor Examination

After going to a doctor, he or she will examine your head and neck to determine what hurts and your ability to move. Imaging may also take place such as X-rays, CT, and MRI if needed. All of these can help in detecting further injuries if suspected, such as a bleed in the brain. If there is a bleed in the brain it can be life-threatening. This is why it is important to receive prompt medical attention if any injury to the brain, neck or spine is suspected.

Treatment with a Cervical Sprain Injury

As you heal from your cervical sprain, pain management will be an important factor. Pain management will include resting, ice and heat therapy, and medications as needed. It will also be important to restore full range of motion to the neck. Your doctor will most likely recommend exercise with physical therapy as you feel up to it. Foam collars were once widely used but too much immobilization of the neck we are learning is not always helpful. If you are in severe pain right after your accident or if it helps you to sleep at night you may need a foam collar.

Recovery from a Cervical Sprain

Most who have suffered from a neck sprain or strain recover in a few months once soreness and pain have subsided. Few people will continue to struggle with pain for months to years if the injury was severe enough to affect the spine or brain traumatically. Even while wearing a seat belt a neck injury is common following a car accident because the neck moves freely. It is important to always go to a doctor if any neck, brain or spine injury symptoms are present following an accident.

Watch YouTube Video: Physical Therapy for the Neck. This video demonstrates some stretching and relaxation exercises for neck pain.

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Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Car accidents can be very frightening. If you or someone in your family has suffered injury in an accident due to a careless driver, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free legal advice. Non-local callers can reach me on my toll-free number as well here: (800) 404-5400.

I belong to a forum of Million Dollar Advocates. This forum is a group of trial lawyers that have negotiated settlements and won verdicts worth well over $1 million dollars.

Our case verdicts and settlements may be viewed on our past Verdicts and Settlements page.

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Image By: BruceBlaus – via Wikimedia Commons. (1 February 2017) Whiplash Injury. jpg This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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