Does whiplash cause paralysis?

| Oct 2, 2020 | Car Accidents

Whiplash, which is common during automobile collisions, occurs when a person hyperextends his or her neck. While whiplash can be excruciatingly painful, it does not usually cause paralysis. 

If you are experiencing paralysis after a car accident, you probably have something more serious than whiplash. While there are many possibilities, three accident-related injuries may be to blame. 

Herniated discs

The vertebrae in your spinal column allow you to stand upright and protect your spinal cord from injury. Between each bone in your cervical spine, you have a shock-absorbing cartilage disc. The same rapid body movement that may cause you to develop whiplash may also force these discs to bulge or rupture. 

Herniated discs may put pressure on your spinal cord or nerves, causing you to develop temporary or permanent paralysis. 

Spinal fractures

Your cervical spine is strong but it is not invincible. If you collide with a fixed object, such as your car’s dashboard, you may fracture the bones in your spine. 

Unfortunately, broken backbone fragments may cut or sever your spinal cord. If that happens, you may develop paralysis in parts of your body below the spinal cord injury. 

Nerve damage

While paralysis often stems from a spinal cord injury, any nerve injury may also have some risk of paralysis. Because you have nerves in your neck, whiplash may lead to localized paralysis in your arms, shoulders, face or torso. 

Even though paralysis from nerve injuries often subsides over time, a serious spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. Therefore, it is critical to seek immediate medical care to see if you have nerve damage, a spinal cord injury, whiplash or another medical concern. 

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