When people think of car accident injuries, the most obvious that come to mind are likely scrapes, bruises, whiplash, broken bones, and even neck and back pain. But what you might not always connect with a car accident are the types of injuries that can lead to neurological damage. In fact, the nervous system can be damaged by many types of injury and trauma to various parts of the body. This is why it is so important to visit a car accident doctor after you have been in an accident. While aches and pains might seem normal, they are actually signs and symptoms of how your body has been impacted by an accident. Get checked out by neurologists in College Park after a car accident to find out if you have suffered any nerve damage and find out what treatment options are available for you.
Understanding Nerve Damage
Your body is full of nerves that carry signals and communicate things like when you feel something, how an organ should function, and more. Nerves can become damaged in a car accident due to injuries that bruise, compress, tear, or even crush. Here are three types of nerve damage and what they might feel like:
Radiculopathy refers to nerves that are located around the brain and spinal column. These nerve roots can become damaged by injuries that are commonly known as pinched nerves along the spine. This may be caused by car accident injuries like whiplash or a herniated disc. The most common sensations of radiculopathy include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage of the peripheral nervous system. These nerves are located throughout your body, like along your arms and legs, and help control the functioning of organs, circulation, and sensations. Damage to peripheral nerves that are not located in the brain or spinal cord can also cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness, but those feelings typically occur in the extremities like hands and feet.
An injury to the spinal cord itself can cause what is known as myelopathy. Compression to the cord can occur during a car accident when severe compression compromises the functioning of the spine. This can lead to serious nerve damage, including paralysis and death.
Car Accident Injuries That Can Cause Nerve Damage
Two of the most common car accident injuries that can cause nerve damage are whiplash and disc herniation. Whiplash is actually the most common injury suffered during rear-end collisions because of how the impact between two vehicles forces the head and neck to snap forward and backward violently. This can damage the muscles and tendons in the neck, as well as cause swelling and inflammation. Nerves in and along the spine can be damaged by a whiplash injury and cause pain, tingling, and numbness. It is also possible to experience a herniated disc with or without a whiplash injury. The force of impact can put too much pressure on the spine and cause a spinal disc to herniate, which is where the soft inside spills out of the tough outer shell of the spinal disc and compresses nearby nerves.
Diagnosing Nerve Damage After a Car Accident
When you see a doctor for nerve damage after a car accident, they will want to use diagnostic imaging and tests to diagnose the injury. This may include a neurological exam that tests your reflexes, sensations, coordination, and strength. They may also run a CT scan or MRI to get a clearer picture of the internal injuries in the area and a better look at any nerve damage. There are other tests your neurologist in College Park may run, like an electromyography, or EMG, which tests the nerve function and electrical activity in the body.
Treatment Options for Neurological Damage After a Car Accident
Your treatment plan for nerve damage will depend on your symptoms as well as the root cause of the damage. Once your doctor has determined a diagnosis for your neurological damage, they can develop a treatment plan that works for you. Treatment options can range from non-invasive techniques like chiropractic care to surgical interventions. Visit our team of car accident neurologists in College Park to learn more about what to do with nerve damage and get started on treatment right away!