Cyclists are at much higher risk of suffering injuries when in an accident than occupants of vehicles. Bikes do not have the same protective features, so if involved in a crash, a cyclist can suffer severe injuries.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, head injuries are common, and neck injuries often accompany these. For those wearing a helmet, injury to the neck is more common, as the helmet protects the skull and brain, and there are certain injuries commonly experienced by cyclists.
One of the injuries that affect cyclists is neck fractures. This refers to a break to one of the seven cervical vertebrae in the neck. Depending on the location of the fracture, this can be a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.
Another potential neck injury is a herniated disc, also known as a bulged or slipped disc. According to the Mayo Clinic, vertebral discs are jelly-like substances located in between each of the bones in the spine. A herniation refers to the displacement of the disc into the spinal canal, where it places pressure on the associated nerve. Depending on the severity of the herniation, an individual may have no symptoms or experience pain, weakness or numbness.
Soft tissue damage
After a crash, a cyclist will often have symptoms related to injury of the tendons, ligaments or muscles of the neck. Symptoms may range from mild to severe.
A crash may cause the bones of the neck to misalign. This causes pressure, or impingement, of the associated nerves. Common symptoms include soreness, pain, reduced range of motion, numbness and tingling.