Few people can say they’ve never had a stiff or sore neck. Many causes of this discomfort can be remedied. For example, if you wake up in the morning with a sore neck, you can change your pillow. If you have a stiff neck after working at your computer all day, you can adjust your posture. However, some causes of neck pain are uncontrollable.
Neck pain may be caused by injuries sustained in a vehicle collision, bicycle accident or even pedestrian accident. A neck injury can be obtained during physical activity or from a fall. When neck pain is caused by an injury related to an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and more. Here is information you may find useful when dealing with your neck pain.
Symptoms of a Neck Injury
One of the difficult things with a neck injury is that you may not immediately know that you’ve sustained one. You could walk away from a car accident only to wake up the next day with a stiff and sore neck. Symptoms of a neck injury may include:
- Weakness, tingling or numbness in one of your arms or hands
- A kind of burning feeling when someone touches your arm or hand
- A shocking feeling in one of your arms or hands
- An inability to control your bladder or bowels
- Numbness or weakness in your legs
These are all considered to be nerve-related symptoms, and they occur when there is pressure being applied to the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. This pressure can be the result of an injury anywhere in the neck.
Symptoms of a less serious neck injury may include:
- A stiff or tender feeling in the neck or shoulders
- Worsening pain when the head is turned or bowed
- Pain that radiates into the upper back or shoulders
Neck pain can get better quite quickly when the appropriate steps are taken. These steps may include taking over-the-counter pain relievers and limiting physical activity. When an injury is more severe, medical treatment may be warranted.
When To See a Doctor
If you have been involved in any type of accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Failing to do so could damage your chances of a successful outcome in a personal injury lawsuit.
Outside of those instances, it is important to seek medical attention, if your neck pain occurs in combination with other issues such as nausea or shortness of breath. These symptoms merged together could be indicative of a heart attack.
If the neck pain worsens or spreads, medical treatment should be sought. It is important to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment if the numbing and tingling in your arms, hands or legs doesn’t abate. A person should also seek medical intervention, if they are unable to move any part of the body or experience limited mobility.
Let’s say that you are involved in some type of accident, and you don’t seek medical treatment immediately because you don’t believe that you are injured. You should still seek medical care if hours or days later you experience:
- Loss of control of bladder or bowels
- Neck pain that becomes suddenly worse
- Neck pain that prohibits sleep or wakes you up from sleep
- Worsening weakness in the limbs
- New numbness in the limbs
None of these symptoms should be ignored. Neck pain that isn’t caused by an injury should get better on its own in a day or two. If you have been involved in an accident and find that your pain or discomfort hasn’t subsided on its own or with home remedies, you need professional assistance in diagnosing and treating your pain.
How Are Neck Injuries Treated?
When you seek medical attention for a potential neck injury, you can expect a physician to complete a physical exam and take your medical history. The doctor will ask you several questions regarding your symptoms and any past experiences. Provide your doctor with as much information as possible, including any potential activities or accidents which could have caused your pain.
Depending on what the doctor discovers, they may order one or more tests. These include X-rays, CT scans, MRI and nerve conduction studies. A physician may order a single test or several, depending on what they are looking for. Once you are accurately diagnosed, your physician can recommend a course of treatment.
Your doctor may recommend applying heat or ice to the affected area. They may suggest that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever or could prescribe a stronger medication. It may also be suggested that you undergo massage or chiropractic therapy. In some of the most serious cases, a doctor may recommend surgery.
Surgery is very rarely, if ever, an option for simple neck pain. That said, if your pain is being caused by an injury to your vertebrae or spinal cord, surgery may be a viable option. Remember that you are always entitled to a second opinion, no matter what treatment modalities your physician suggests.
If your neck pain is the result of an injury caused by an accident which was, in turn, caused by someone else, you may have a case for compensation. Your medical bills may add up to amounts that you can’t comfortably pay. You and your family shouldn’t be forced to make difficult financial decisions in order to obtain the appropriate treatment for your injuries. We can help ensure that you are properly compensated for your losses.
Call our Atlanta office today to schedule a case evaluation. We will review the details of your neck injury and advise you of your legal rights and options. You and your family are not alone. Reach out to our office for assistance.