4 Car Accident Injuries You Should Look Out For
ONE: Concussion – Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Car accidents are a common cause of head injuries. Surprisingly, you do not need to actually hit your head to suffer a brain injury. The sudden jolt of being struck can cause the brain to bump into the inner skull walls causing damage to sensitive nerves and causing a serious of chemical reactions to occur that cause your brain to malfunction. Most concussions are missed by emergency room doctors or general physicians and chiropractors. And when you have a concussion your thinking and senses are not very accurate so you may not be aware that you are injured. Concussions may be very mild and resolve in days or weeks. More moderate injuries may persist for a couple of months. Symptoms lasting 90 days or longer are considered “Post-Concussion Syndrome” or “PCS.” PCS can cause problems with concentration, focus, learning, speaking, calculating, spelling, memory and more cognitive issues. Brain injuries can also alter your personality and make you less outgoing, feel sadness, anxiety, frustration and anger. Concussions can also cause headaches, visual disturbances, dizziness, lack of balance and coordination and problems sleeping at night while feeling drowsy during the day.
Suspect a concussion if:
You’ve had an accident and you are experiencing a headache, sleepiness, dizziness, blurry vision, foggy headed sensation, difficulty thinking or remembering, feeling tongue tied, or feeling agitated, angry or excessively sad.
TWO: Disc Injury
The fibro-cartilage spacers and shock absorbers between your spinal bones or vertebrae are called “intervertebral discs,” “IVD” or just “discs.” The sudden force of a car accident causes your spine to move in abnormal ways. The result is your discs can become torn causing weakness in the wall of the disc allowing the central gel-like nucleus to push through to the outside. This can cause chemicals to leak out and cause chemical nerve irritation. The disc may also herniate and mechanically push on the nerve or spinal cord causing compressive nerve irritation. In both cases you are likely to experience pain in the neck or back with numbness and/or tingling and/or shooting pains down your arms or legs. Your disc may become injured, but not necessarily herniate enough to push on a nerve or leak chemicals. The disc itself has it’s own nerve supply and if they become injured they will cause pain in the neck or back (but not send pain into the arms or legs) Once a disc is injured it is permanently altered and will never function the same again. Arthritis will set in within a short time after a disc is injured making this a serious injury.
Suspect a disc injury if:
You have an accident and you feel numbness, tingling, burning, electric or shooting pains into your arms and hands or legs and feet. Referred arm or leg pain that is aggravated by coughing, sneezing, taking a bowel movement and/or bending forward. Weakness in the upper or lower extremities without any pain at all is a sign of a serious disc problem.
THREE: Upper Cervical Ligament Damage
The upper most part of the neck or cervical spine consists of the bottom of the skull that rests on a ring-like bone (the Atlas, first cervical vertebrae or C1). The C1 bone pivots around a post that sticks up from the second neck bone known as the Axis or C2. More than half of your ability to turn your head relies on the upper cervical spine. To keep these 3 structures in the correct place and moving normally, a series of ligaments are strategically placed in and around the bones. When damaged, the stability of the upper neck bones is lost in one or more directions and excessive motion occurs. Like any ligament injury, once it occurs it is permanent and the instability is permanent and leads to arthritis soon after.
Suspect upper cervical ligament damage if:
You’ve had an accident and you feel a “clunking” sensation just under the skull when you move your neck in certain directions and you can repeat it.
FOUR: Alteration of Motion Segment Integrity (AOMSI)
The spinal bones have “longitudinal ligaments” running up the front (anterior) and back (posterior) that prevent the spine from sliding around when you bend forward and backward. The extreme forces of a car accident (even in supposed low speed crashes) can cause the ligaments to stretch and tear. The resultant ligaments are no longer able to check motion in the spine and the bones are allowed to move too much. This instability is permanent and is a serious injury as it leads to arthritis. According to guidelines on permanent impairment, an AOMSI injury is approximately equal in severity to an amputated limb.
Suspect an AOMSI injury if:
You’ve had an accident and you feel a clicking or clunking sensation in the middle to lower area of your neck or lower back when you bend forwards and backwards.
These 4 Common Car Accident Injuries Are Serious Injuries that Require Immediate Attention by a Car Accident Treatment Specialist.
There are various methods to locate these injuries, unfortunately the typical generalist doctor or chiropractor has little knowledge in this area and may be unable to properly diagnose, document and treat these conditions.
If You Suspect You Have One of More of these Injuries, Call Dr. Marks’ Office at (714) 938-0575 for an Immediate Evaluation at No Cost to You. You simply cannot afford to let one of these serious injuries go undetected.