How do you know if your neck injury is severe?

How do you know if your neck injury is severe?

One of the most common injuries sustained in a car accident is a neck injury. While some neck pain or strain will heal on its own with rest and over-the-counter medications, a severe neck injury requires immediate medical attention and follow-up care. If you've been in an accident and are experiencing neck pain, you'll want to monitor your symptoms closely to determine if you need emergency care or if you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Some signs that your neck injury may be severe include numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty balancing or walking, vision problems, nausea or vomiting, difficulty swallowing or breathing, deformity or swelling of the neck, or loss of bowel or bladder control. Discussing your case with a texas car accident lawyer is always a good idea. 

If you notice any of these warning signs, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room right away. For less severe neck injuries, see your doctor as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations. They can evaluate if any imaging scans or physical therapy may be needed for your recovery.

Symptoms That Indicate a Severe Neck Injury

If you've suffered a neck injury, it's critical to determine whether it's mild or severe. Severe neck injuries require immediate medical attention and should not be taken lightly.

Symptoms That Indicate a Severe Neck Injury

Some symptoms that suggest your neck injury may be severe include:

  • Loss of consciousness or alertness. If you lost consciousness, even briefly, after the injury, this indicates possible head trauma and severe damage. Seek emergency help immediately.
  • Difficulty breathing. Trouble breathing can signal damage to your respiratory system or spine. Call 911 right away.
  • Severe pain or pressure. Intense pain in your neck, head or spine that does not improve, especially if accompanied by numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, requires emergency evaluation.
  • Vision problems. Blurry vision, double vision or loss of vision after a neck injury can indicate damage to your optic nerve or brain and necessitates a trip to the emergency room.
  • Numbness or weakness. Feeling numb, weak or losing control of your limbs, especially if the numbness or weakness is on only one side of the body, points to nerve or spinal cord damage and you need emergency care promptly.
  • Impaired coordination or balance. Difficulty with coordination, walking or balance after a neck injury may signal brain or spinal damage and requires emergency assessment and treatment.

Don't take chances with your neck injury. If you experience these severe symptoms, call 911 or have someone take you to an emergency room right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help prevent permanent disability or impairment. Your health and safety should be the top priority. Talk with a lawyer to make sure you know how long you have to file your injury claim.

When to Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident

If you've been in a car accident and experience neck pain, it's important to determine if your injury requires immediate medical attention. Seek emergency care right away if you notice any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness or alertness. If you lost consciousness at any point after the accident or feel extremely dazed or confused, call 911.
  • Trouble breathing. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath following a neck injury requires emergency medical help.
  • Severe pain. If your neck pain is intense, does not improve with over-the-counter medication, or prevents you from moving your neck, call emergency services.
  • Numbness or weakness. Call for emergency help immediately if you have numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms, legs, chest or abdomen.
  • Deformity or instability. Seek emergency care right away if your neck looks misshapen or deformed, or feels unstable or loose.

When to See Your Doctor

If your symptoms are not life-threatening but are still concerning, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Your doctor may order imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to determine if there are any fractures, disk injuries or other damage in your neck that requires prompt treatment and physical therapy. They can also prescribe stronger medication if over-the-counter drugs are not helping relieve your pain.

Even if your pain seems minor, it's best to get checked out by a doctor after any car accident to ensure there are no underlying neck injuries that could become severe if left untreated. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are key to recovering from a neck injury and avoiding chronic issues.

Diagnostic Tests for Assessing Neck Injuries

To determine if your neck injury is severe, your doctor may order certain diagnostic tests. These can help identify any damage to the soft tissues, nerves or vertebrae in your neck.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI create detailed images of your neck tissues, bones, and spinal cord. X-rays can detect fractures or misalignments in the vertebrae. CT scans provide cross-sectional views that can uncover injuries to soft tissues and vertebrae. MRIs use magnetic fields and radio waves to create 3D images of soft tissues, vertebrae, and the spinal cord. These more advanced tests can detect bulging or herniated disks, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis, or other issues.

Nerve Conduction Studies

Nerve conduction studies analyze how well electrical impulses move through your nerves. Small electrodes are placed on your skin to stimulate and record responses from specific nerves in your neck and arms. Impaired nerve function may indicate a pinched nerve or other nerve damage from your injury.

Needle Electromyography

Needle electromyography (EMG) involves inserting small needles into your muscles to analyze electrical activity. It can detect nerve or muscle damage that may be causing pain, weakness or impairment. Abnormal EMG results can indicate a cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve) or other issue requiring prompt treatment.

If diagnostic tests reveal a severe neck injury like damage to vertebrae or the spinal cord, surgical intervention may be recommended depending on the specific findings. For less severe injuries, more conservative treatments like physical therapy, medication, massage therapy or chiropractic adjustments may help relieve pain and restore function. Diagnosing the severity of your neck injury is critical to determining the appropriate course of treatment and ensuring the best possible outcome.

Consulting a Texas Car Accident Lawyer for Your Neck Injury Case

If you have been in a car accident and suffered a neck injury, it is important to determine if the injury is severe enough to warrant legal counsel who has expereince looking at leading causes of Texas accidents. Some signs your neck injury may be serious include:

Loss of Range of Motion

If you have difficulty moving your head side to side or up and down, this can indicate muscle strain or damage to the cervical vertebrae in your neck. See a doctor right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Numbness or Weakness

Feeling numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms, hands, legs or torso can be a symptom of a pinched nerve or other damage in the neck. This requires immediate medical evaluation to prevent permanent damage.

Difficulty Breathing

If you are having trouble breathing or swallowing, this can indicate a fracture or dislocation in the cervical spine that is compressing the spinal cord. Call emergency services right away.

When a neck injury from a car accident causes severe, persistent pain, loss of range of motion, numbness or difficulty breathing, you may have grounds for legal action. A personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents can review the details of your accident and medical records to determine if you have a valid claim. They can handle the legal process for you, including:

  • Investigating the accident to establish liability
  • Filing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
  • Negotiating a fair settlement amount to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages
  • Taking the case to court if a settlement cannot be reached

The effects of a severe neck injury can be long-lasting, so make sure you get the medical attention and legal help you need right away following a car accident. A skilled personal injury lawyer will fight to get you the maximum compensation so you can focus on your recovery.

Long-Term Effects of Severe Neck Injuries

If you have suffered a severe neck injury, it is important to understand the potential long-term effects and seek proper diagnosis and treatment. Severe neck injuries can lead to chronic pain, loss of range of motion, and neurological damage if left untreated.

Some signs your neck injury may be severe include:

  • Persistent or worsening neck pain, stiffness or tenderness. If pain is not improving within a few days or is intensifying, it requires evaluation.
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs or feet. This can indicate nerve damage or spinal cord injury and needs immediate medical attention.
  • Difficulty balancing or walking. Injuries to the cervical spine that affect the spinal cord can impact coordination and mobility. Seek emergency care right away.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control. This serious symptom requires emergency medical care as it can signal permanent neurological damage.
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing. If you are having difficulty performing these essential functions, call emergency services promptly.

Severe neck injuries often require imaging tests, like X-rays, CT scans or MRI to determine the extent of damage. You may need neck immobilization, physical therapy, medication or, in some cases, surgery to stabilize the spine and prevent long-term disability.

Close follow-up with your doctor is necessary to monitor healing and watch for signs of chronic conditions like cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy. With proper diagnosis and treatment, many people are able to recover function, reduce pain, and avoid permanent damage. However, some may experience ongoing limitations that require lifestyle changes and long-term management.

Seeking timely medical care for a severe neck injury is critical to your long term health and mobility. Do not delay if you exhibit warning signs; get evaluated right away. Your doctor can help determine appropriate treatment to optimize your recovery and avoid permanent impairment.

Fletcher Law Texas Injury Lawyers Have Experience To Help

When suffering a neck injury, it can be difficult to determine if the damage is severe or not. Some signs may indicate you should see a doctor right away.

Loss of Movement or Feeling

If you experience loss of movement or feeling in your neck, arms, shoulder, legs, it could signal a severe neck injury. Seek medical attention immediately.

Trouble Breathing

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath can be a symptom of a severe neck fracture or spinal cord damage. Call 911 right away.

Head or Neck Deformity

Noticeable deformities, such as a misshapen head or neck, indicate a severe break or fracture. Seek emergency medical care at once to examine a head injury, such as a countrecoup injury from your car accident.

Excessive Pain

While some pain is expected with a neck injury, excessive or unbearable pain, especially if it does not improve with over-the-counter medication, could signal a more significant problem. Consult your doctor.

Numbness or Tingling

Numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in your neck, shoulders, arms or fingers could indicate nerve damage. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. This could be indiciating a herniated disk for example.

Vision Issues

Double vision, blurred vision, or other vision changes after a neck injury require immediate medical evaluation as they can signal damage to the cervical spine or spinal cord. It may also demonstrate a potential head injury and concussion has been sustained.

If you experience any of these symptoms after a neck injury, do not delay in seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. An experienced personal injury law firm, such as Fletcher Law, has the knowledge and experience to help determine the severity of your injuries and pursue appropriate compensation. Their team can review the specifics of your accident and evaluate your medical records to assess the full impact of the harm done.


If you've suffered a neck injury, it's critical to monitor symptoms and seek immediate medical attention for severe damage. While minor strains can heal on their own with rest, more serious injuries require diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term issues. Pay close attention to pain levels, range of motion, and sensations in your extremities. Seek emergency care right away if you experience numbness, weakness, or loss of bladder/bowel control. The injury lawyers at Fletcher Law are here to help. 

Though recovering from a severe neck trauma can be a difficult process, the good news is that with proper diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional, most people are able to go on to live full, active lives. However, the key is not ignoring the warning signs and getting the care you need as quickly as possible. Your health and safety should be the top priority. Don't delay if you notice any symptoms of a severe neck injury—get checked out right away. Your future mobility and wellbeing depend on taking action now.