Common Car Injuries and Effective Treatments

From minor fender benders to total write-offs, motor vehicle accidents happen every day — and almost always when you least expect it.

What’s even more unexpected is the number of car wreck injuries that can go completely unnoticed for a long time.

If you’ve recently been in a car accident but don’t feel any pain, you may be wondering what the most common car accident injuries are and if you happened to suffer any of them.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from soft tissue to head injuries and how you can find relief at any level of trauma.

Table of Contents

most common car accident injuries

What Are the Most Common Injuries From a Car Accident?

According to the World Health Organization, between 20 to 50 million people are injured in car accidents every year.

Car accident injuries can range from mild to life-threatening, and may consist of:

  • Soft tissue
  • Arm and leg fractures
  • Back injuries
  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Chest injuries
  • Internal bleeding and injuries
  • Head injuries

Several factors may impact the severity of injuries, such as wearing seat belts, whether a vehicle is equipped with airbags, and the direction and speed of the collision. 

5 Types of Common Injuries in a Car Crash

#1: Soft Tissue Injuries

Any damage to the body’s connective tissue, such as …

  • Tendons 
  • Ligaments; and
  • Muscles 

… are the most common car accident injuries. These injuries can take many forms, like strains and sprains, and can take a matter of days or months to heal. 

Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries

It’s estimated that more than 800,000 people in the United States suffer from whiplash injuries as the result of a car accident. 

Whiplash occurs when the ligaments and muscles are jerked backward and forward suddenly and forcefully during a collision. This impact can cause straining and tearing and result in lasting pain in the neck and back. The same forces often cause injuries to other parts of the neck and back. 

Back Injuries

In addition to whiplash, soft tissue injuries to the back may include:

  • A herniated disc
  • Fractures 
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Compressed nerves 

Due to the potential severity of any soft tissue injuries — especially to the back and neck — you should seek the care of a specialist with expertise in treating soft tissue, musculoskeletal, and spine injuries, such as a chiropractor.

The team at Cascade Spine & Injury Center in Portland, OR, specializes in the safe and effective chiropractic treatment of all auto injuries. We can provide a complete treatment plan to reduce pain and improve your daily life. 

#2: Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises

This type of injury is commonly caused by loose objects inside the car. Anything, such as books, cell phones, sunglasses, purses, coffee mugs, and more, can immediately become a projectile that can cause cuts or bruises when they hit your body.

Airbags may also cause minor scrapes, cuts, bruises, and burns when they deploy.

Some cuts may require stitches, but most are minor and require no medical treatment. 

car crash common injuries

#3: Broken Bones

Heavy collisions may result in breaks, fractures, and fissures in the bones. Sometimes, these injuries can go undetected until pain and other problems alert you.

Some types of bone fractures include:

  • Stress fractures – hairline cracks
  • Partial fractures – not all the way through the bone
  • Closed fractures – bone breaks under the unbroken skin
  • Open fractures – bone breaks and exits through the skin
  • Non-displaced fractures – bone breaks and stays in place
  • Displaced fractures – bone breaks in multiple pieces and moves

Ambulatory injuries are those that don’t leave a patient bedridden or unable to walk about, such as broken bones in the:

  • Arm
  • Hand
  • Wrist
  • Foot; or
  • Leg 

Car accidents can cause drivers and passengers to hit the dashboard or seats in front of them with their knees, and depending on the type of collision, arms and legs are often broken upon impact.


Chest injuries are common in car accidents. They can range from painful bruising to internal injuries and bleeding. Chest injuries are typically caused by colliding with the steering wheel or dashboard and even by seatbelts.

common injuries in a car crash

#4: Head Injuries

Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and deaths in children and young adults, however, not all head injuries are so severe.

Head injuries can range from minor to severe depending on the nature of the car accident. They’re caused by an impact or unexpected change in direction that causes the head to move in unnatural and sudden ways.

Minor injuries consist of bruising and lacerations, whereas more severe injuries can result in tearing of the brain tissue and blood vessels.

Some head injuries result in concussions, while others can leave lasting brain damage.

#5: Emotional Stress and PTSD

The trauma of a car accident can lead to both emotional stress and PTSD, even a minor crash. Some people may have nightmares or see flashes of their accident when they get into a car. 

PTSD can lead to depression, sleeping problems, and visions that can haunt you. These emotional scars can stay with you for many years. Speaking to a therapist or psychologist after an accident is recommended.

car wreck injuries

Find Relief From the Most Common Car Accident Injuries With Cascade Spine & Injury Center

Often, the symptoms of car accident injuries are cumulative, making it difficult to gauge how serious your injury is. If you’ve been in a car accident — even a minor fender bender — you should consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible after the accident. 

A chiropractor can help you recover from your auto injuries and may suggest complementary treatments to expedite the healing process, such as:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture; and
  • Rehabilitation 

You don’t need to live with the pain of your car accident injuries, contact Cascade Spine & Injury Center in Portland, OR, to help you throughout your entire recovery. We offer the following services for your convenience and care:


Depending on the severity of the crash and the positioning of your body, auto injuries can range from mild to very serious. 

Injuries may include:

  • Whiplash
  • Upper and lower spinal injuries
  • Hip injuries
  • Joint injuries
  • And more

Spinal injuries are the most intense and difficult to overcome because pain can be long-lasting and severe. This type of injury can also affect other parts of the body, making it difficult to function normally.

Chiropractic care is a natural method that involves working with the body to treat nerve, muscle, and joint damage caused by auto accidents.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissue in your body, which may include:

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Connective tissue; and
  • Skin 

In a car accident, soft tissue can easily become injured when it is pulled or jerked suddenly in a back and forth motion. 

Massage therapy is a hands-on practice that uses varying degrees of pressure to help alleviate pain caused by injuries resulting from car accidents, including:

  • Headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Back and neck pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Sciatica 
  • And more

Massage therapy can be used integratively with chiropractic and acupuncture care or on its own. 


Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine and has evolved over thousands of years. It is one of the most well-known and practiced Chinese treatment methods and involves the insertion of very thin needles into your skin at specific points of the body.

Acupuncture needles, once inserted, work to improve life energy through the body’s various meridians. This helps accelerate healing, reduce pain, and improve the body systems.

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, our primary focus with acupuncture is to:

  • Release tight muscles
  • Reduce pain; and
  • Accelerate the body’s natural healing process

Many of our patients have found relief from typical injuries in a car accident, such as whiplash.

Rehabilitation Therapy

Rehabilitation therapy is a critical step in nearly every patient’s recovery process. The most common car accident injuries can cause muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. to become inflexible or shortened. Targeted rehabilitation exercises can prevent and reverse these changes.

Rehabilitation therapy for car wreck injuries will help prevent reinjury and restore:

  • Flexibility 
  • Strength
  • Coordination; and
  • Endurance

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center in Portland, OR, our team works with every patient personally to ensure individual results. Our goal is to help every patient restore and maintain their emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

common injuries in a car crash

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