Neck injuries are most commonly caused in four different ways. These are described by doctors as flexion, hyperextension, vertical compression and rotation injuries. So what does each of these mean to you as an injured person? An understanding of the nature of these injuries may be useful while you focus on the healing process. The most important thing for you to consider as an accident victim is that your body was not designed for the forces involved in auto accidents or similar incidents. Even mild impacts can have serious consequences to your long term health and wellness.
A flexion injury is caused when your neck bends forward too much or too fast or even both which is frequently what happens in an auto accident. Flexion injuries range from mild to severe and the injuries to you muscles, ligaments and spinal cord range accordingly. Considering that even a mild flexion injury can cause a fracture of the anterior portion of the vertebral body (the front part of your vertebrate), a severe flexion injury can cause a dislocation of vertebrae resulting in very serious spinal cord damage. Mild to severe flexion injuries can easily occur in a car accident including a “rear ender.” A hyperextension injury is the reverse of a flexion injury. Here your head and neck move backwards too fast and too much. Again, these injuries can range from mild to severe with similar consequences.
Vertical Compression injuries are typically caused by a blow or strike to your head. A compression injury can cause a fracture to your vertebrae. Vertebral compression fractures are classified as Types I through IV. Type III or IV fractures can insert bone fragments or push a vertebral disc into the spinal canal with serious consequences. A severe compression fracture in your cervical area can cause quadriplegia or death.
The point here is that any injury to your neck in an auto accident is serious business causing permanent and long lasting damage to yourself. Always consult with a physician as soon as possible after any accident.
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