After being involved in a car accident, health and safety is first priority. It is important to be aware of certain signs and symptoms of potential neurological issues, no matter how minor the crash might have been.
The first sign to look for is headaches or migraines. Many people attribute stress to this symptom, but it could be your body telling you something more serious is happening. Migraine headaches are usually more severe and effect one side of the head.
Another symptom to look out for is changes in your extremities such as hands, arms, feet and legs. Changes might be numbness, tingling or general weakness. Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders is also a reason to be examined by a doctor.
Whether a migraine, headache, or change to extremities, these could be initial clues for a doctor to give a diagnosis of whiplash. Whiplash is when nerves are stretched or pinched. Modernmedicine.com remarks that about twenty percent of rear-end accident victims develop whiplash signs and symptoms.
Another possible diagnosis is a concussion. A concussion is a fairly common mild traumatic brain injury that can be treated by a doctor. Symptoms for traumatic brain injuries such as concussions are headaches, memory loss, vision and hearing issues, as well as depression and impaired judgement.
If there are issues with balance, pain, numbness or fine motor concerns, a discussion about neuropathy might be appropriate. Neuropathy is when nerves are damaged, compressed, stretched or even sometimes detached. This is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
Lower back pain could be damage to muscles, nerves or even vertebrae. Rear and side impact crash victims are most likely to experience these issues, especially days after the event.
Stomach pain or abdominal swelling should cue immediate medical attention. In the first couple of days especially, this symptom could mean internal bleeding and is not a feeling to ignore.
As much as the physical neurological issues after a car accident are important, so are the psychological issues. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is common in car accident victims. Especially for any children involved, nightmares, flashbacks and disturbing memories are important to share with a professional.
A general practitioner might be a beginning step to obtaining a diagnosis but a neurologist is the best choice. Neurologists are doctors who specialize in the nervous system. They will have the best diagnostic tools and most specific knowledge to understand what the condition might be and how best to treat it.
After being physically examined by a neurologist, different diagnostic tests might be ordered. Various imaging tests will allow the doctor to examine bones, nerves and discs. If brain injury is a possibility, an electroencephalograph will be ordered which records the neuro-electric activity in the brain.
Remember, all of these symptoms might be minor or non-existent in the beginning but over hours, days or weeks can become gradually worse or more intense. Many neurological issues can treated, especially when caught early. All signs and symptoms should be carefully observed, noted and discussed with not only your doctor, but your car accident lawyer as well.