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“It was just a fender bender, with minor damage to my car, so why does my neck hurt so badly?” — This is actually one of the most common statements chiropractors hear from their patients. You may be one of the many people who obtain minor injuries from fender bender accidents every day, who later find themselves surprised by the level of pain and discomfort they feel in the aftermath.
It’s estimated that around 3 million whiplash injuries occur each year in the United Stated, and around 45 per cent of people who suffer from chronic neck pain blame it on a whiplash injury. According to the NSA (National Safety Council), around 12 million car accidents occur each year, with around 20 million cars involved. On average you can expect to be involved in a car accident every 17.9 years – and the most common injury experienced from car accidents is whiplash, affecting over a third of people in car accidents. Whiplash costs us around $10 billion a year in the US.
Whiplash in a non-medical term used to describe a wealth of different neck injuries cause by a sudden distortion of the neck, such as in the event of a car accident or minor ‘fender bender’. Symptoms of whiplash can include:
It’s a common misconception to think that if your car has survived a fender bender with minor scrapes, you should expect to come away from the experience with a bit of bruising and a headache. Unfortunately, in many cases, that simply isn’t the case, and in truth there is no correlation between damage to your car, and damage to yourself sustained in a car accident.
On average a car can withstand collisions of 12 mph with little or even no visible damage. However, according to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, around 60 per cent of injuries occur in accidents of between 6 – 12 mph. If the car damage is minimal, the energy from the accident was not absorbed by the car and was instead transferred to its occupants – this could be the reason why you’re car is okay, but you’re not.
In short, looking at a vehicle cannot determine the injuries sustained by the people that were inside it, so it’s always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible in the event of a car accident – even a small fender bender.
In many cases, people involved in fender benders will not develop pain or other symptoms right away, instead experiencing them hours, days or even weeks after the event. This is why a lot of people will come away from an accident feeling fine, without seeking medical attention. The journal Pain Practice (2008) estimates that around 6.2 per cent of Americans suffer from Late Whiplash Syndrome, which is why seeing a specialist is so important. Which is worse – a bit of inconvenience now, or months of pain later? We thoughts so.
Of course, the best way to stop these types of injuries from occurring, is to be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid distractions and be wary other drivers on the road – but even the most careful of us can be involved in minor car accidents and fender benders which are not our fault. If you’ve sustained injuries from a fender bender and feel you were not to blame, contact the May Firm.
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