According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, over 6 million motor vehicle accidents happen every year in the U.S., causing almost 3 million injuries. Injured accident victims routinely seek medical treatment for obvious injuries, such as broken bones or cuts.
Unfortunately, many people don’t visit a neurologist after a car accident. Undiagnosed neurological injuries can lead to long-term or permanent disability and secondary complications. Early intervention reduces that risk. That’s why the caring team at Neuro Injury Care Institute provides free neurologic evaluations to identify potential problems so we can help to prevent permanent injuries.
Even if you can’t answer the question “what is a neurologist,” seeing one can save your life.
What Is a Neurologist?
Neurologists focus their medical training on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
Car accidents can throw your body around, sometimes causing it to hit part of the car, other occupants or unrestrained objects in the car. Any of those things can cause a head injury which could result in neurologic symptoms.
Many neurologic injuries caused by car accidents don’t make themselves known immediately. In fact, they can take days or even weeks to announce themselves.
Several symptoms might indicate that you sustained an injury that a neurologist should assess:
- Numbness, tingling or no feeling in your legs, toes, arms, or fingers
- Inability to speak clearly
- Nausea or vomiting
- Failure to understand and forgetting new information
- Headaches or extreme sensitivity to light or sound
- Humming or ringing in your ears
- Dizziness or feeling “not all there”
- Muscle spasms or twitching
You may experience other symptoms as well.
Why Should You Visit a Neurologist?
Neurologists, especially those who routinely treat car accident victims, have detailed knowledge about detecting and treating neurologic injuries because of their focused training and experience. Although they mean well, not all general physicians can spot minute details that might indicate a neurologic injury.
Neurologic injuries can profoundly affect your life. You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for problems with your ankle; likewise, don’t go to other doctors who may not properly diagnose and treat your injury.
When Should You Visit a Neurologist?
Early evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention can increase your chances of making a more complete recovery from your injuries. Many people use the “I’m imagining things” or “I’ll just wait and it will go away” approach to deal with health issues. If you learn nothing else, please understand the extreme importance of scheduling a neurologic evaluation as soon as you can after your accident.
If no neurologic injury exists, at least you know. If your evaluation does show an injury, however, treatment can begin immediately. At the very least, contact a neurologist in NY as soon as you exhibit any symptoms of neurologic injuries.
What Are Common Neurologic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?
Every accident and injury is different, but several types of neurologic injuries are common to car accident victims.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Brain injuries can be mild to severe, but all traumatic brain injuries can cause significant health risks. Knowing what to look for can save your life because left untreated, whether mild or severe, traumatic brain injury can be fatal.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
In addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, you may also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Depression or anxiety
- Insomnia or sleeping longer than usual
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
Moderate or Severe TBI
People suffering from more serious brain injuries can experience the above symptoms, sometimes to a greater degree.
- They also may have:
- Overall weakness
- Dilated pupils
- Fluids leaking from their ears or nose
- Extreme difficulty waking up
- Loss of motor skills
It may seem strange that bladder issues can indicate neurologic injuries, but incontinence that starts after a car accident may suggest traumatic brain injury.
Car accidents can cause your head to hit other objects with extreme force or otherwise jar your brain, making it hit the interior of your skull. Concussions can cause brain tissue to change shape or size, damaging brain cells. It can also trigger chemical changes in your brain, creating difficulties in the brain cells’ ability to function properly.
Your brain controls your entire body, so a concussion can lead to several complications. If even one of these symptoms surfaces, consult a neurologist in NY:
- Glazed-over eyes
- Difficulty balancing
- Inappropriate responses or other personality changes
- Confusion or forgetfulness
- Delayed responses
Many times, others may notice these symptoms when you might not. Ask someone to observe you closely after your accident so you’ll know if these symptoms occur.
While recovering from a concussion, re-injuring your brain can produce severe consequences, including permanent disability and death. Known as second impact syndrome, this condition causes your brain to swell dramatically. This is why football players with concussions must wait for medical clearance before playing again.
Unfortunately, many concussions go undiagnosed or untreated. Because of this fact, people with unaddressed concussions don’t take preventative measures to reduce the risk of further head injuries.
A multitude of spinal injuries can result from a car accident. In fact, car accidents are a leading cause of spinal injuries, according to Medical News Today. The forces involved in car accidents cause your body to move in ways it’s not designed to move, often twisting and turning violently.
Objects hitting your spine or surrounding areas may also cause spinal damage.
If someone involved in your car accident appears to have spinal damage, please don’t move them. Even a slight movement can drastically affect the severity of the injury. Trained first responders will take appropriate precautions before moving these victims.
Cracked or Broken Vertebrae
Motor vehicle crashes often cause broken bones, including those in your spine. Your vertebrae support and protect your spinal cord, nerve roots and internal organs. They also allow you to move. Cracked or broken vertebrae can push bone splinters directly into your spinal cord, possibly causing loss of motion or even paralysis.
Damaged vertebrae can’t support your weight, inhibiting your ability to sit or move.
Located between vertebrae, discs consist of a gelatin-like interior surrounded by cartilage. Their purpose is to cushion vertebral bones, keep them in place and absorb shock. The sudden jarring caused by impact in car crashes can make your body move unnaturally. In some cases, the discs can’t absorb the sudden shock and they swell, cracking the cartilage.
When this type of damage occurs, we refer to the damaged disc as herniated, slipped or ruptured. Free from their casing, the discs can put pressure on the spinal cord. This not only causes back pain, but it can also result in sciatic pain felt through the buttocks and down a leg.
Spinal Cord Damage
Your spinal cord allows you to control your body’s movements. Your brain sends signals and commands to muscles and nerves through your spinal cord. Damaged or severed spinal cords can result in partial or complete paralysis, but immediate treatment can help to reduce the impact of life-changing consequences.
The location of your spinal cord injury determines what parts of your body may become paralyzed. Lower back and chest spinal cord injuries can result in a paralyzed torso and legs. Unfortunately, it can also affect your ability to control bowel and bladder movements and sexual functions.
Your entire body suffers from a spinal cord injury in your neck. In addition to the effects of lower spinal injuries, you may also lose your ability to move your arms and even breathe.
Many patients who suffer from spinal cord injuries also experience secondary complications. These may include:
- A higher risk for many conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, pneumonia and diabetes
- The inability to control your bowels or bladder
- Atrophied muscles and obesity
- Involuntary twitching and muscle spasms
- Unnoticed cuts, sores and burns
- Anxiety and depression
Most of these secondary complications occur because the patient lost feeling in parts of their body. A qualified accident injury doctor can assess your symptoms to see if you would benefit from visiting a neurologist.
Many times, car accidents cause pressure or damage to nerve bundles or nerve roots. Much like arteries, veins and capillaries run throughout our bodies to circulate blood to and from our hearts, peripheral nerves spread from the brain and spinal cord to send signals to other parts of our bodies.
According to the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, over 100 varieties of peripheral neuropathy exist. The human body uses nerves for three main functions: sensory input, conscious muscle control and automatic actions like digesting food, breathing and heart functions.
Because so many types of neuropathies can affect car accident victims, symptoms and treatment options may differ. However, some common symptoms may indicate the presence of neuropathy:
- Pain that shouldn’t exist, like pain from fabric on your skin
- Digestive issues, including uncontrollable bladder or bowel movements
- Prickling, jabbing, burning, or sharp pain or numbness
- Lost sense of balance or the inability to coordinate movements
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Muscle weakness
Since the onset of the pandemic, more people rely on the internet to “diagnose” their medical conditions. Simply entering symptoms into a computer algorithm usually won’t accurately diagnose anything. You may suffer from life-threatening conditions that these algorithms might not identify. Don’t make that mistake with your neurologic health; instead, schedule a free evaluation with Neuro Injury Care Institute today. Qualified personnel will interact with you before sharing helpful information.
Fast, forceful motions that cause your neck to go backward and then forward often result in whiplash. Whiplash is common in rear-end collisions. Many times, whiplash isn’t immediately apparent after a car accident so medical first responders may not notice it.
Whiplash can include injuries to nerves, muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, and the spinal column’s bones and discs. Some patients recover from the effects of whiplash within weeks, but others have pain for months or years.
If you notice any of these symptoms developing soon after your accident, contact an accident injury doctor at Neuro Injury Care Institute for a free evaluation:
- Inability to move your neck freely
- Stiffness or pain in your neck that worsens when you move your neck
- Pain in your arms, shoulders or upper back
- Numbness or tingling in your arms
The longer you go without diagnosis and treatment, the more severe and long-term your injuries can become.
Why Should You Choose Neuro Injury Care Institute?
Hopefully, you can now answer that question, “What is a neurologist?” If you still have questions, ask us for more information.
Dr. Ashwin Malhotra, board-certified neurologist and founder of the Neuro Injury Care Institute, is a life-long New York resident. As a top neurologist in NY, his goal is to provide fellow New Yorkers with access to free neurologic evaluations that can prevent secondary injuries and long-term disabilities that can accompany neurologic injuries. Highly dedicated to research, Dr. Malhotra authored several publications to share his research with his peers.
The professional healthcare team at Neuro Injury Care Institute provides personalized, compassionate care to our patients. We understand that our patients can face the loss of mobility or independence and financial and emotional burdens along with the physical effects of their injuries. Our treatments and therapies take those issues into account.
We make your initial neurologic evaluation easy. We can schedule a virtual appointment and see you immediately. During this appointment, we will educate patients about neurologic injuries and possible consequences. Those using this free service have no obligation to obtain medical care from our facilities.
Our clinic accepts no-fault, worker’s compensation, and most insurance plans. Unlike some other neurologists, we routinely work with auto and workers’ compensation insurance companies.
We at Neuro Injury Care Institute treat dozens of neurologic conditions using a variety of procedures. We know that time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating neurologic injuries and we want to help you. Call us at (347) 602-9530, send us an email or book your video evaluation through our website.