Neurological Issues After A Car Accident
Nerve damage caused by a car accident can cause serious debilitating effects, such as severe pain, crippling headaches, emotional and mental disorders, and the inability to work. An untreated neurological injury can lead to a host of medical issues; including debilitating pain, loss of strength, numbness and tingling in both the upper and lower extremities, and drop foot.
Neurological issues require a complete and thorough medical evaluation. Accident victims suffering from nerve damage and neurological issues may need months of specialized care, treatment, and rehabilitation. Without this treatment, you may suffer long-lasting and permanent damage.
In addition to seeking medical care, it is important to speak to one of our compassionate and experienced car accident attorneys. We can provide guidance and support through the legal process and help you collect the compensation you deserve after suffering neurological issues after a car accident. You should not be stuck paying medical bills and suffering from the effects of nerve damage because of someone else’s negligence.
If you suffered nerve damage after a Florida car accident, consider hiring an injury attorney to help you with your case. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can be reached online. We look forward to helping you and your family.
What Type of Nerves Are in Our Body?
Nerves are extremely important to our bodily function; they are responsible for shooting electrical impulses to different parts of our body so that we can perform daily tasks.
When these nerves are damaged and unable to send the impulses throughout our body, we can run into serious problems, especially if the damage is done near the brain or spinal cord.
The three main types of nerves are:
- Autonomic Nerves: These nerves control blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, and other automatic bodily functions.
- Motor Nerves: These nerves are what allow us to move around. Damage done to these nerves can cause problems with our ability to move as well as cause muscle weakness and spasms.
- Sensory Nerves: These nerves allow the spinal cord to communicate with the brain and let us know how things physically feel, like hot, cold, soft, or hard.
Common Ways Car Accidents Cause Nerve Damage
There are various types of nerve damage that can occur when you are involved in an accident, and each one has a different set of symptoms and treatments. Consequently, the three ways nerves are generally damaged are by pressure, stretching, or the severing of the nerve itself. When it comes to car accidents, the most common ways your nerves can be damaged include:
- Whiplash – the severe jerking motion of the head and neck can cause the nerves in this area to stretch or be pinched;
- Blunt-force trauma – hitting your head, arms, or legs on a hard surface inside or outside of the vehicle can compress nerves; and
- Lacerations – deep cuts to the skin sustained during an auto accident can sever the nerves in the affected area.
There are other less common ways an individual can sustain and suffer from nerve injury.
Neurological Symptoms You Might Suffer After a Car Accident
Only a trained medical professional can diagnose what type of nerve damage you have sustained and what method of treatment is best for your condition. Your doctor will be able to look at your spine and see which discs were damaged so they can better come up with a treatment plan specifically fit for your injuries.
Several symptoms or signs that can help to indicate when nerves are damaged can include:
- Full or partial paralysis of limbs and appendages such as fingers and toes
- Muscle weakness or pain along with stiffness of the neck and back
- The inability to understand tasks and information presented
- Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
- Twitching or uncontrolled movements of muscles
- A prickling sensation; tingling or numbness on the skin or in limbs
- Increased sensitivity on the skin to hot and cold temperatures
- Numbness and tingling of the legs, arms, or fingers
Other than the aforementioned symptoms and concerns, there are other specific neurological issues that can result from a car accident, including neuropathy and radiculopathy. They are all symptoms of a garden variety of nerve injuries.
Nerve Damage After a Car Accident
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can be caused by trauma inflicted from a sports accident, work accident, car crash, or repetitive motion injury.
Neuropathy is commonly caused by trauma from a physical injury or surgery. These situations can cause nerves to be partially or completely severed, crushed, compressed, or stretched; sometimes so forcefully that they are partially or completely detached from the spinal cord. Broken or dislocated bones can place a damaging amount of pressure on neighboring nerves and slipped disks between vertebrae can compress nerve fibers where they emerge from the spinal cord.
Damage done to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system will generally affect your ability to stay balanced, hold onto objects, as well as affect other major motor skills needed for day-to-day life. Damage to these nerve fibers can also cause numbness and pain to the affected area.
Even if your head or spine were not specifically impacted, neurological disorders are still possible. This is why seeing a doctor or neurologist after a car accident is critically important. It is also essential to have a Neurologist rule out the diagnosis of a brain injury which can often be related to whiplash.
Since the peripheral nerves have a limited capacity to regenerate, if a victim has become severely impaired, a victim may need physical therapy to help regain strength and avoid muscle cramping and spasms. Surgical treatment may be recommended for people with nerve damage from injury or nerve compression. As such, mobility aids, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair, may be helpful.
The most common neurological injury after a car accident would be a traumatic brain injury or TBI. Traumatic brain injuries can cause brain bleeding that is often not noticed right away after an accident. This can lead to many short-term and long-term problems if not properly handled by a doctor.
There are four different categories when it comes to TBI’s, they are:
- Penetrating injury
- Anoxic brain injury
To specifically read more about traumatic brain injuries, how they can affect you long term and short term, and how we can help with your legal case, read our complete guide on a TBI injury claim.
Different Neurological Injuries
Neuropathy is used to describe a problem with the nerves, usually the peripheral nerves as opposed to the central nervous system or the brain and spinal cord.
This condition is seen with not only the traumas describe above, but also with certain underlying medical conditions. Whatever the case may be, there are three types of nerves that can be inflamed.
- Autonomic nerves control the systems of the body
- Motor nerves allow power and movement
- Sensory nerves control sensation
Auto Accident Neuropathy Diagnosis
Diagnosing neuropathy and the possible treatment options can help a victim to regain a normal and healthy lifestyle.
The doctor will begin their examination by reviewing the patient’s medical history, including symptoms, general health, any history of neuropathy in the family, any current or recent medications used, any exposure to poisons or toxins, alcohol consumption, and sexual history.
They will then begin to diagnose the location and cause of the neuropathy by examining the skin, checking the pulse in different places, checking for sensation, testing vibration sensations with a tuning fork, and examining tendon reflexes.
As the source of the pain is narrowed down, the doctor may choose your precise methods of diagnosis, which include performing nerve conduction studies, electromyography, nerve biopsy, and skin biopsy.
Once the cause of the neuropathy is discovered, whether it’s inflammation of single or multiple nerves, the underlying cause can then often be targeted for treatment. If the background condition cannot be corrected, however, treatment may take the form of symptomatic pain relief.
Compressed Nerve or Nerve Damage from Car Accident
Radiculopathy is the medical term for the compression or irritation of a nerve in the spinal column. It is not exactly a specific condition, but rather a description of a general issue in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, “pins and needles”, or weakness along the course of the nerve. The condition can occur in any part of the spine; however, it is more commonly found in specific areas.
- Nerve compression is most common in the lower back (lumbar radiculopathy); injuries affecting this part of the spine are most often felt in the legs, feet, and toes. The hips can also be affected.
- Nerve compression can also be found in the neck (cervical radiculopathy); the arms and fingers are usually the first to feel any sort of pain or tingling when injuries occur to the spinal discs in the neck. The numbness and pain can travel all the way down to the fingertips.
- This types of nerve compression is less commonly found in the middle portion of the spine (thoracic radiculopathy). However, when it does occur, it is still highly debilitating. These symptoms can spread from the upper extremities to even your ribcage and chest area.
It is important to accurately discuss the symptoms you are having with your doctor so they can best assess your injuries.
Risk factors for nerve issues and compression are activities that place an excessive or repetitive load on the spine. People involved in heavy labor or contact sports are more prone to develop the condition than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.