Your car’s seat belts are some of its more effective safety features. After all, according to statistics at The Zebra, buckling your seat belts cuts your chances of suffering a fatal injury in a motor vehicle accident by as much as half. Your seat belt does not stop your head from moving violently in a crash, though.
If you have whiplash or another neck injury after a car accident, you also may have an increased risk of developing spinal myelopathy. This potentially catastrophic condition happens when bones or ligaments in your neck impinge on your spinal cord, interrupting nerve signals from your brain to the rest of your body.
What are the symptoms of spinal myelopathy?
Spinal myelopathy can manifest in a number of ways, often making it difficult to know whether you have the condition or another neck injury. Still, if you have one or more of the following symptoms, you might have a compression somewhere along your spinal cord:
- Numbness, weakness or tingling in your extremities
- Difficulty walking or performing tasks that involve fine motor skills, such as typing
- Problems maintaining balance
- Pain in your neck or back
Is spinal myelopathy a medical emergency?
If spinal myelopathy becomes severe, you might be at risk of developing permanent paralysis. Accordingly, you must treat the injury as a medical emergency and go to the emergency room immediately. When you arrive, doctors might order an MRI to diagnose your spinal myelopathy.
It is not uncommon for individuals with spinal myelopathy to require both surgery and ongoing physical rehabilitation. Ultimately, because treating your condition is likely to be expensive, it may be advisable to seek financial compensation from the driver who caused your motor vehicle accident.