Auto Accidents and Concussions: What You Should Know
If you’ve been in an automobile accident, even a minor one in which you were wearing a seatbelt, you could have injuries that you don’t even know you have. Hidden injuries such as whiplash, herniated discs, knee and shoulder injuries, spinal trauma, PTSD, and concussions can occur in any auto accident and often go ignored or undiagnosed.
What is a Concussion?
The brain is fragile and is protected by cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. This fluid provides a cushion that protects the brain from everyday movements and jolts. A violent impact to the head can cause the brain to slam against the hard inner wall of the skull. It can also occur if a person is violently shaken. Both can happen in a car accident.
A concussion is also referred to as a TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury. Other than being the result of an accident, TBIs can also be caused during participation in sports, by falling, or being injured in a fight. It’s a common myth that a concussion can only occur if you’ve been hit in the head because any sudden and violent jarring blow to the body that moves your head back and forth can cause a concussion. Any time there is a severe impact or shaking to the head , it should be taken seriously. In the most severe concussion injuries, you may experience problems with your cognitive abilities that could cause a permanent disability. Severe concussions can also cause brain swelling or bleeding which, if left untreated, could be fatal.
Loss of consciousness. Even if it’s only for a few seconds, it means your head has suffered a trauma.
Ringing in the ears. Brain trauma can cause temporary or prolonged tinnitus.
Nausea and vomiting. You may feel nauseous or even vomit after a head injury.
Confusion and amnesia. You may not realize right away that you’re having trouble with recall or concentration. Amnesia is usually confined to the time around the accident itself.
Changes in sleep patterns. This could be difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or sleeping a lot more or less than you usually do.
Changes in your mood. You become angry, irritable, nervous, restless, and even experience depression as a result of your head injury.
Headaches. You may experience persistent headaches or ones that blur your vision. You may also feel pressure in your head.
Seizures. Severe concussions can result in seizures.
Slurred speech. A brain injury can weaken muscles that you use to speak or affect their coordination.
Feel and appear dazed. Having a concussion can cause you to feel like your head is in a fog which may be apparent to others also.
Children may show the same symptoms as listed but for young children, it may be more difficult to detect because they can’t simply tell you how they’re feeling. Watch for symptoms such as being unable to be consoled, they won’t stop crying, and/or they won’t nurse or eat.
Resting, both mentally and physically, is the best way to recover from a concussion. While the brain heals itself, all physical activities, as well as any activities that require any thinking or concentration, need to be limited.
Concussion symptoms may appear right away but often they are not noticed for days or even months after the injury which is why it’s vital to see a doctor right away if you’ve been in an auto accident. At Integrative Physical Medicine of Orlando, our physicians can detect hidden injuries and may be able to diagnose your concussion before any major symptoms arise. In Florida, the law states that you only have 14 days to see a doctor after you’ve been in an accident or you risk losing your ability to file a claim. When you call IPM, we can often get you in to see one of our doctors the very same day that you call. Our expert staff can also help you with any paperwork you need to file a claim.
If you’ve been in an auto accident in Central Florida, call Integrative Physical Medicine today at 321.765.9811. One of our auto accident doctors will see you quickly because the sooner you begin your treatment, the sooner you can recover from your accident.