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The Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Injuries are often the result of auto accidents. Car crashes like colliding with another car or not letting a vehicle pass could get you injured, for example. 

The World Health Organization reports that 20 to 50 million people sustain minor injuries from vehicle accidents. Furthermore, most auto crash survivors with injuries experience disability. These findings show the negative impact of car accident injuries and how it affects our quality of life.

If you get hurt in a collision, you can sustain various types of injuries. Let’s look at these conditions and how you can recover from them.

Broken Bones

You can get broken bones due to the excessive force produced by a collision and you could break your legs, arms, hips, ankles, wrists, or ribs.

Broken bones are painful and take a while to heal. The length of your recovery will depend on what bone has been broken.

Broken bones can be classified as:

  • Simple fractures – These injuries occur when your bones break without creating any open wounds.
  • Compound fractures – These fractures pierce your skin and may require surgery.

Scrapes & Cuts

These objects can give you scrapes and cuts when your vehicle collides with another vehicle:

  • Glass
  • Sheet metal
  • Loose objects like cellphones, glasses, or tools

Scrapes and cuts are usually mild car accident injuries. However, they can also endanger you in extreme cases. Sometimes, they could lead to:

  • Stitches in the affected area
  • Blood loss
  • Possible infections

Soft Tissue Damage

A car accident can also damage your soft tissues. Soft tissue damage could be a muscle, tendon, ligament, or joint injury. In particular, stretched or torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments could result in a sprain, strain, bruise,  or similar injury.

Auto accidents can trigger various types of soft tissue damage, including the following:


You can experience bruising if your body hits against your seatbelt in a car crash. The bruising could last several days. Bruises are mild but you’ll still need to treat them. You can expect bruising to heal in one or two weeks.


If you hit your head on any part of your vehicle during a car crash, you could experience a concussion. This injury can affect your memory or your brain’s function.

Make sure you treat a head injury right away. Medical care can help you avoid or relieve possible headaches and make your brain healthy again.

Knee Injuries

During a car crash, you could hit your knees against the dashboard if you’re sitting at the front, or the front seats if you’re at the back. When this happens, your knee ligaments and kneecap could get injured.

You could address your knee injury through surgery, especially if you get into a serious collision.

Back or Neck Injuries

A car crash can exert excess force on your spine, hurting your back or neck in the process. Common injuries could include mid-back or lower back strains and neck injuries. In some cases, conditions like spinal cord injuries and whiplash can cause severe health problems. 

Here’s how these injuries could affect the way your body works.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur when your spinal cord gets damaged. These conditions could also be the result of damage to the nerves below your spinal canal. When your spinal cord gets injured, your body’s function can change permanently.

Spinal cord injuries can be mild or severe. Herniated or slipped discs, for example, count as a mild spinal cord injury. Meanwhile, conditions such as paralysis could be the result of a serious spinal cord injury.


The term whiplash refers to neck injuries from quick movement during a car crash. Rear-end collisions are a common cause of this auto accident injury.

Whiplash often triggers gradual pain that gets worse over time. Its symptoms include:

  • Severe pain as you move your neck
  • Reduced range of motion in your neck
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain or tenderness
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Physical therapy, neck braces, ice, and medication can help you recover from whiplash.

Foot or Ankle Injuries

Auto accidents could hurt your foot or ankle. Your legs settle under your car’s dashboard every time you drive, putting your legs and feet at risk for injury during a collision.

You could also injure your foot or ankle during a car crash if you improperly brace from impact or move awkwardly when it happens. A sprained ankle can stem from the unnatural movement.

Shoulder Injuries

During a car accident, you could brace for impact with your arms.  However, your shoulders might end up receiving pressure, locking them into position. Using your arms to brace for impact could result in an injured, fractured, or dislocated shoulder.

Wrist & Hand Injuries

Your wrist bones can break if you get into an auto accident. Moreover, you could get your fingers fractured or trapped between damaged car parts. Your doctor could recommend surgery depending on how serious your injury is.

What are the Common Symptoms of Car Crash Injuries?

Here’s a list of symptoms that you could experience several days after a collision:

  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain or stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Numbness
  • Personality changes
  • Impaired physical function
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you encounter any of the signs above, go to a doctor right away.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident Injury?

If you get hurt in a vehicle accident, ensuring complete recovery is vital. Here are several tips to help you heal from your injury.

Seek Immediate Care

Checking yourself and your passengers for injuries and contacting your doctor immediately are the first things you should do post-accident. Car crash injuries occur gradually, with possible complications if left untreated. That said, getting the care you need right away is important.

When you get medical attention, your physician will assess how serious your injuries are and recommend the right treatment. 

Choose the Best Physician for Your Injury

You may consult a primary care physician for car accident treatment to treat internal injuries. But you may also want to consider seeing a physician focusing on car crash injuries, like a chiropractor, to address issues such as whiplash and concussions.

Stick to Your Treatment Plan

By sticking to your treatment plan, you can fully recover from auto accident injuries in a short time. This plan could involve:

  • Taking time off work and avoiding an active lifestyle
  • Taking your prescribed medication
  • Engaging in physical therapy
  • Exercising at home
  • Scheduling and attending follow-up appointments

You could also talk to your doctor if your current plan doesn’t work for you. 

Get Enough Rest

Sleep and rest are essential to your recovery. Your body directs more blood to your muscles while you sleep, helping your tissues and muscles heal and grow. Stress levels also decrease as you rest, which could lead to less inflammation. More importantly, having a good night’s sleep will help boost your energy, alertness, and mood. That’s why getting enough rest after a car accident is vital.

Manage Your Pain

Your pain could last for several days, weeks, or months. At this point, finding out how you can manage your pain is essential.

Addressing discomfort could involve the following:

  • Taking plenty of rest during the day
  • Taking pain-relieving medications
  • Applying hot or cold compresses to the injured area
  • Getting a massage for aching soft tissues

To address chronic pain, your doctor could recommend stronger painkillers or other treatments.

Exercise & Stretch

Exercises and stretching are vital for restoring your range of motion, flexibility, balance, and stamina. When you keep yourself moving, your muscles and joints won’t get sore or feel weak. You could even feel less pain and swelling with frequent physical activity.

If your doctor includes exercise in your treatment plan, make sure you’re doing the right kind. Performing too much exercise could worsen your injury and lengthen your recovery. Try doing gentle stretches to help you move during the day.

Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated

Your body can heal faster when you eat healthy. Consuming whole, fresh food full of vitamins and protein will help your body recover from injury. Eat nutritious meals every day to feel stronger and more energetic.

Also, remember to hydrate. Drinking enough fluids will help your injured muscles and tissues heal.

Have a Good Support System

Your friends and family can be your support system during recovery. Having these people around you will make you feel happy and motivated. Additionally, your loved ones could help you do your daily tasks and accompany you during your follow-up appointments.

A professional counselor or spiritual advisor could give you further support, as well. That way, you can avoid experiencing anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress after a car crash. 

Be Patient

Your treatment and recovery could feel slow and frustrating. A variety of problems could happen, or a sense of no progress could set in as you heal. Sticking to your treatment plan and taking care of your body will help you push toward a full recovery. Moreover, you’ll get the best chance of recovery when you follow our tips.

Get Chiropractic Care for an Auto Accident Injury

The right care can help you avoid further complications or address existing car crash injuries. At LifeClinic, you can seek out our chiropractic care, physical therapy, or rehabilitation services to manage your injury. We’ve designed our services to restore, maintain, and optimize your body’s function. Start your journey to recovery at any LifeClinic location today.

Dr. Reza Alizadeh

Dr. Reza is the visionary behind LifeClinic. His leadership is the foundation for the patient and team member experience, and overall direction of the LifeClinic. As the creator of IMJT, Dr. Reza continues to be the primary teacher on this technique.

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