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Neck & Back Injuries

Neck and Back Sprains and Strains after an Accident in New York

Neck and back sprains and strains after an accident are common soft tissue injuries and can lead to high medical bills and require you to take weeks or even months off work. If your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. For claim help, call Buttafuoco & Associates: 1-800-NOW-HURT.

What are sprains and strains?

Many people use sprains and strains interchangeably, but there are significant differences. A sprain occurs when a ligament stretches or tears. Ligaments in your neck and back run the length of your spine, connect the bones, and allow the vertebra to maintain flexibility.

Symptoms of neck and back sprains include:

  • Pain when moving or touching the area
  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • Bruising
  • Loss of range of motion

Sprains to the neck can also cause headaches that radiate from the base of the skull to the forehead. Some sprains may not manifest right away, and you may not feel the symptoms until a day or two after an accident.

A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon stretches or tears. There are four groups of muscles in your lower (lumbar) back, each connected to the bones by tendons. The neck contains ten groups of muscles, giving a higher risk of strains. A neck strain is also commonly referred to as whiplash.

Symptoms of a strain may include:

  • Pain when moving or touching the area
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling
  • Cramping

Causes of Sprains and Strains to the Neck and Back

Both sprains and strains occur when the neck or body twist, jerk around, or suffer a sudden impact. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck and lower back are flexible, but sprains and strains can occur when these soft tissues stretch or flex beyond their limits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23.6 percent of emergency department visits in 2010-2011 were due to neck and back sprains or strains from car accidents. While whiplash commonly occurs in car accident, it can occur in other types of accidents.

The CDC found 3.8 percent of neck and back sprains and strains occurred from other accidents. These may be falls from a significant height, or even a trip and fall.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sprains and Strains

You should see your doctor as soon as possible if neck or back pain persists longer than a few days or becomes worse over time. During your physical exam, your doctor may ask you to describe what happened during the accident to determine what type of injury you suffered. You may undergo X-rays to rule out fractures and MRI scans to look for damage to the soft tissues of your injured area.

After your doctor diagnoses your injury, she will suggest a treatment plan. Treatment for sprains and strains occurs in two stages:

  • The first stage is reducing swelling and pain through rest, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medication.
  • The second stage of treatment is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy and an exercise program to help prevent stiffness and restore your neck or back’s normal flexibility without pain.

Seeking Damages from Sprains or Strains

During the two stages of treatment, you may be unable to work or participate in your regular activities. Pain and lost range of motion from sprains or strains to the neck can make driving, washing your hair, and even putting on a shirt uncomfortable or impossible.

The time you must take off from work for recovery or opportunities missed due to your injury may qualify you for compensation in an injury claim. However, to be eligible to file a claim, the accident must have occurred due to another’s negligence.

If your neck or back sprain was the result of someone else’s negligent behavior, you should discuss your claim with an attorney. Buttafuoco & Associates helps injured New York residents claim the damages to which they are entitled. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free case review.