What Happens to Your Body in a Rear-End Collision?

Oct 15, 2020

What Happens to Your Body in a Rear-End CollisionOne of the most common types of car accidents is what’s known as a rear-end collision, which occurs when your car is slow or still and is hit from behind by a second vehicle. These may happen when a driver is distracted or impaired, or when there is a sudden stop that isn’t anticipated. Regardless of the reason, even a slow-speed accident of this sort can cause a variety of damage to your body, requiring proper care and treatment. A Marietta chiropractor who often sees accident victims will be able to address common car accident injuries from a rear-end collision and help achieve recovery quickly and safely.

Impact of a Rear-End Collision

When another car hits you from behind, the momentum of that vehicle’s speed will transfer onto your vehicle, forcing it forward suddenly. The speed of the car behind you will determine how much momentum that is, but even a small amount will cause you to fly forward suddenly and then snap back, usually hitting against your seat. Your head may also fly forward and backward independently of the rest of your body. You usually have little to no warning that allows you to prepare for this impact and brace yourself, making the sudden jerking motion even more likely to cause an injury. In addition to your body hitting the seat, internal organs and bones can shift and be injured in this process as well.

Rear-end collisions often result in injury to the neck, back, head, and chest because of this movement, as well as pressure that the seatbelt may exert during movement.

The Two Most Common Injuries

While the effects of a collision can vary, there are two injuries that are most likely to be associated with a rear-end impact: whiplash and concussions.

In whiplash, as your body is thrown forward and backward, the muscles and ligaments in your neck are not able to accommodate and stretch beyond their normal capacity. This leads to strain in the neck, as well as tears in the soft tissue surrounding the area. Most people will experience pain and stiffness as a result of whiplash, while some will also suffer blurry vision, headaches, and dizziness. In severe cases, there can be pain down the arms as well as numbness and weakness that require medical attention from a Marietta chiropractor.

As your body moves on impact, your brain may also make sudden movements, and can hit against the skull. Even if this doesn’t happen, your head may hit a hard surface like the dashboard during the jerking motion. Both of these can lead to a concussion, or a mild brain injury that should be monitored closely. Those with concussions may feel dizzy or lightheaded, struggle with concentration and memory, or even lose consciousness temporarily. While concussions are typically simple to treat, without medical attention they can lead to more severe brain issues over time.

Other Possible Injuries

In addition to whiplash and concussions, there are a number of other common injuries sustained in rear-end collisions. Below are just some of the potential issues:

  • Broken Bones: The most commonly fractured bone in a car crash is the ribs because of the airbags and seatbelt’s proximity to this area. It is also possible to break arms or legs if you are not braced properly for impact or they hit against a surface with enough force. If the head hits a surface, the skull can be fractured as well.
  • Back Injuries: When your spine is impacted in a collision, there are a number of possible ways it can be injured. The discs between your vertebrae may herniate or rupture, causing a varying level of back pain that can spread to the legs or cause numbness in other body parts. You can also strain or sprain your back in a way similar to whiplash that can be painful.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: In a severe instance, the spinal cord can be damaged on impact, leading to serious conditions like partial or full paralysis.

What to Do After A Rear-End Collision

If you have been involved in an accident, know that you may not exhibit symptoms of any serious injuries right away. The shock and adrenaline of the accident may prevent you from feeling pain, or it may simply take a bit to notice any changes. But because some of these injuries can be dangerous, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after experiencing this. At AICA Marietta, we specialize in those who have been in car accidents and can help to identify and diagnose any injuries in order to build an individualized treatment plan that is quick, safe, and effective. Call us today.