Understanding Sprain/Strain Injuries After Auto Accidents

One of the most common injuries in an auto accident is the sprain/strain style injury. This is often referred to as hyperextension-hyperflexion injury, or whiplash. As Fairfax auto accident attorneys, we see these injuries on a regular basis. But most people who have been diagnosed with sprain/strain injuries do not actually know what is going on with their body.

This injuries occur when the muscles and ligaments in your neck and back are stretched or torn. These injuries are categorized by the part of the body that they occur in:

  • Cervical strain injuries occur in the neck.
  • Lumbar sprain injuries occur in the lower back.

Once torn, the muscles in your neck and back heal by developing scar tissue. Unlike healthy tissue, which is elastic, scar tissue is inelastic and can shrink during the healing process. Although the injury itself my heal, the scar tissue leaves the victim of the auto accident wtih less elasticity in their muscles and less functionality. For this reason, car crash victims often suffer at least some residual loss of strength or flexibility.

Common symptoms of sprain/strain injuries after a car accident include:

  • Pain;
  • Muscle spasming;
  • Stiffness;
  • Decreased range of motion; and
  • Headaches

Contrary to popular belief, these injuries rarely cause a whole lot of discomfort at the scene of an auto accident. Typically, the stiffness sets in about 12 to 24 hours after the crash. Shortly thereafter, you might start feeling pain in your neck and upper back.

If you have been in an auto accident and are beginning to feel the symptoms above, the first thing that you need to do is get treated by a medical professional. They will be able to give you a proper diagnosis after x-rays and an examination.

After you’ve sought medical attention, if you’re wondering what your legal rights are after a Virginia car accident, please give us a call at (703) 385-1100.


We only take on cases we believe in and think we can win. Let us win for you.

No matter what you are going through, we are here to help. Timing is critical, so contact us as soon as possible to tell us what happened.


Law Offices of David L. Marks
10513 Judicial Drive, Suite 204
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-385-1983 fax

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