While each auto accident is unique to the current environmental factors, location, time of day, season, and the position of the individuals involved, most injuries are common and treatable when detected. Even minor accidents can eventually cause injuries and pain conditions if not immediately treated by an orthopedic pain specialist.
Using a rear-ending accident as an example where your vehicle is the one hit from behind, it’s likely that your body will lunge forward at whatever speed the car behind you was going and your back, neck, and head will all reach stopping points at different times.
The sudden push forward and pressure on your entire body may cause ligaments and tendons in your neck to stretch and tear, causing whiplash. Whiplash is often felt immediately after an accident because the sudden hit of adrenaline from the crash will give your body a natural defense to fight off any instant pain, but may occur sometime within the next 24 hours. You’ll start to feel stiffness in your neck and back, making it hard to move your head, arms, and shoulders. All of this can lead to chronic pain, and longer-lasting effects if not treated by a pain management specialist.
Another common injury, however, the severity of it does vary, is a concussion. For example, the lunge forward caused by the hands of a driver who has rear-ended you may not only cause the tendons and ligaments in your neck to tear but also cause your brain to bounce back forth violently within your skull creating chemical changes in the brain and potential damage to brain cells resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although a TBI and whiplash can often accompany each other, their symptoms both involve neck stiffness, ringing in the ears, and excessive fatigue. Getting checked out for both would be advisable in the event of an auto accident.
If extreme trauma is experienced to your head or neck, it is recommended you seek immediate medical attention to rule out the possibility of a spinal injury. Paralysis or numbness may occur gradually as bleeding and swelling occur in or around the spinal cord. Auto collisions account for almost half of all new spinal cord injuries each year, and almost all victims of spinal cord injuries suffer from some sort of significant paralysis.
Auto accident injuries and other personal injuries can be treated with either invasive and non-invasive treatments. Treatment plans depend on the severity of the injury and the best course of action for each individual, given their medical history and other factors doctors consider when treating patients.
The head, the neck, and the spine are all connected; you probably knew that, but did you know they can all be treated together? The pain felt throughout your upper body is caused by the inflamed nerves in the Epidural Space located between the membrane and the vertebra wall of your spine. An Epidural Steroid Injection is a simple and minimally invasive non-surgical procedure that involves an injection of a corticosteroid (reduces swelling) and a numbing agent, this procedure can have lasting effects for up to a year.
Similarly, whiplash may cause other severe spinal injuries such as disc herniations, torsion, or burst fractures. If a doctor is having trouble diagnosing a spinal injury, they may order a Nerve Conduction Study, or an Electromyography (EMG). These are tests in which electrical nerve impulses are measured using electrodes placed on your skin or inserted via a needle through your skin into various muscles and may indicate where pain is in the limbs, weakness from spinal nerve compression, or even help diagnose a neurological disorder that may have occurred through whiplash, or a concussion caused during the accident.
Using a new device known as the I-Pas, essentially a set of virtual reality goggles, a doctor can track eye movement while being presented with certain stimuli. If there are any impairments in their eye movements, this can tell your doctor a little bit more about the severity of the concussion and help diagnose traumatic brain injuries.
If there is excessive fluid build up in the brain as a result of a traumatic brain injury, surgery may be necessary. The fluid build-up is usually a result of a tear in a blood vessel that causes internal bleeding in the surrounding tissue, also known as a hematoma. A device known as an ICP monitor can also be inserted into the brain to monitor and possibly drain fluids and relieve pressure in the brain and head.
CSC Dallas is an affordable pain management clinic with quality treatment options for victims of car, truck, motorcycle accidents, and other personal injuries. Our pain specialists have over 82 years of combined experience and are accepting patients in five convenient locations in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. If you or a loved one has recently suffered an injury as a result of an auto accident, contact our specialists for a consultation.