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Injuries Your Doctor Should Look For After A Rear-End Collision

When you report to your doctor after a car accident, one of the first questions you will be asked is how the collision took place. This is because certain types of accidents are likely to cause certain injuries. If you were in a rear-end collision, here are the top injuries your doctor will likely test you for.

Spinal Fractures

It is quite common for patients in rear-end collisions to suffer spinal fractures. While you might assume a broken back is something you would know about right away, this is not always the case. Sometimes accident victims crack a vertebrae and do not find out for a few days because adrenaline masks their pain directly after the collision. Luckily, spinal fractures are easily detected via X-rays, which is why your doctor is likely to order an X-ray of your back if you've been rear-ended.


Whiplash is a collection of symptoms that often occur after someone's head and neck whip forward then back. In minor cases, it may last a day or two and the primary symptoms may be stiffness and pain. In more serious cases, patients may be unable to turn their heads to the side, and the symptoms may last for months. Treatment for whiplash can include pain relievers, chiropractic care, a neck brace, and cortisone injections. The earlier treatment begins, the better.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc occurs when one of the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae in your spine bulges out the side. This can cause serious back or neck pain, numbness in your arms or legs, and headaches. Herniated discs can be detected via an x-ray or MRI. Minor cases can be treated conservatively with massage, chiropractic care, cortisone injections, and physical therapy. More serious cases may require surgery to repair.

Strained Shoulders

A rear-end collision can also be really hard on the shoulders, especially if you were driving and holding the steering wheel when your car was struck. It is therefore common for accident victims to have strained shoulders and other serious shoulder issues such as torn ligaments and tendons. Your doctor will probably move your shoulder in certain ways to detect any pain or injury, and if injury is suspected, they will order X-rays or an MRI.

The injuries above are some of the most common ones seen in rear-end collisions. Since they do not always cause symptoms immediately, it is essential to be seen by an auto accident injury doctor and checked out after any rear-end crash.