If you have been involved in an auto accident, especially if it was a relatively minor one, you may be tempted to forgo medical treatment. Initial symptoms may just be some stiffness or soreness, accompanied by a headache. You may decide to “tough it out” or “live through it.” Passing on immediate treatment, however, can be a significant mistake. Neck and back pain is common in car accidents due to the significant jarring that can take place. Some symptoms of neurological issues and problems associated with an auto accident injury may take days, weeks, or even months to fully manifest themselves. By that time, it may be difficult to connect your injuries to the accident for insurance or legal purposes.
The head, neck and spine is a complex neuromuscular system of bones, nerves, muscles and soft tissue. The spinal cord itself is protected by the spinal column or backbone, which actually consists of 33 separated bones. These bones are cushioned from each other by flexible discs that serve as shock absorbers. The neck not only holds the weight of the head, but serves as the passageway for nerves and blood vessels from the body to and from the brain. This complex system is very susceptible to damage during a car accident, which may be far-reaching and negatively impact many areas of the body.
Common Neurological Problems After an Accident
Here is a look at some of the more common neurological issues and problems that can be experienced following a car accident.
Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common problems affecting those involved in an auto accident. Whiplash is actually a straining of the neck that occurs when the head moves rapidly forward and backward or side to side, which frequently occurs in an accident. Symptoms can range from mild stiffness in the neck and shoulders to complete immobility. Symptoms may include headaches, tingling in the extremities, and even irritability and difficulty in sleeping.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is one of the more serious neurological issues that can be associated with an auto accident and can be difficult to accurately diagnose. This is because, in an effort to protect itself, the brain will go into a hyper-metabolic state following some form of trauma. It may take weeks for symptoms to show, and by then, the damage often has worsened. Symptoms of TBI include headaches, blurred vision, nausea and a ringing in the ears. Victims may experience mood changes and have difficulty concentrating and sleeping.
Back Pain: Back pain, particularly lower back pain, is another result of the muscles and nerves getting injured in an auto accident. This is common in rear accident collisions. This type of accident can also caused slipped or damaged discs, resulting in sharp pain in the back and spine area. Back pain can range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating. If left untreated, back pain can become chronic and can cause a lifetime of discomfort.
Numbness or Tingling: Because of the far-reaching and far-ranging effects the nervous system has on the body, injuries from an auto accident can cause numbness in areas like the arms, legs and hands. While this can be temporary, it is best to be sure and seek treatment immediately on experiencing these symptoms.
Seek the Appropriate Professional Help
If you have been involved in a car accident, even a minor one, it is important you seek professional guidance, both medically and legally. From the medical side, you can start with your family physician, who may refer you to a neurologist or chiropractor. They can take CAT scans, MRI’s or X-Rays to help document your injuries as being accident-related. You should also contact legal representation, especially if your injuries may have been the fault of others. Auto accident injuries can not only be caused by others drivers, but may also involve mechanical or tire failure, or insufficient signage or lighting. If a commercial vehicle is involved, that vehicle may not have been properly maintained, or driver fatigue may be an issue.
At the Johnson Law Firm, we are a Kentucky legal office that has made personal injury claims and auto accident injuries an area of specialty. We can help you get through post-accident frustration and help you get the medical care you deserve. We will help determine at-fault parties and seek appropriate compensation to help restore you physically and financially. It is, however, important that you take action quickly following your auto accident. If you need legal counsel and live in the Eastern Kentucky area, including Pikeville, Hazard, Ashland, and Corbin, call Johnson Law Firm at 877-712-2910 or fill out our simple online form. We are your homegrown lawyer ready to help you get the legal representation you need.