It takes only a few seconds of distracted or careless driving (or being in the wrong place at the wrong time) to be involved in an auto accident, but the physical strain of car accident injuries can linger far longer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that of the over 6 million motor vehicle accidents reported in the United States annually, almost 2 million of them will result in injuries. Whether it’s a fender bender or a total loss, do you know what actually happens to your body in an auto accident?

The Anatomy of an Auto Accident Injury

There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s car accident injuries, including the speed of the vehicle, the area of impact (front, side, back), position of the individual in the vehicle, etc., but even a minor crash can generate a lot of force on the body. Here is how your body may respond in a collision:

Head Injury – In an accident, the vehicle is brought to a sudden stop, but your head and body keep moving in their original trajectory until hitting something—like the steering wheel, dashboard, a window, or an airbag. Even if there is no visible sign of damage, like cuts and bruises, there can be serious trauma to the brain from hitting the inside of the skull, and strain in the upper neck from the force of the head being thrown.

Whiplash/Neck Injury – “Whiplash” is the most common soft-tissue car accident injury, with “most cases occurring as the result of rear-end vehicle collisions at speeds of less than 14 miles per hour,” according to This refers to the damage sustained by the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck when the head is suddenly and forcefully thrown forward and then back. As painful as that sounds, it could be mild compared to complications from a cervical dislocation or disc injury, which can even result in numbness in the hands and arms.

Back injury and Pain – When a vehicle comes to a hard stop, the upper half of your body is first thrown forward or sideways and then twists around the restraint of a seatbelt, while at the same time, your lower body is held in place by a lap belt. This can cause severe pain from injury to the muscles, ligaments and nerves in the back, or even misalignment or damage to the ribs or vertebrae. The related pain and inflammation are typically long lasting, and the injuries can be even worse without a seatbelt. 

Are you Seeking Car Crash Injury Care?

Following an accident, evaluation by a medical professional to rule out serious injury is imperative, but pain from soft tissue injuries and spinal damage may take days or weeks to present. If you’re experiencing any lingering discomfort, a proper diagnosis and a comprehensive pain management and treatment plan will be vital on the road to your recovery. Contact Advanced Wellness & Rehab today for your immediate appointment.