Auto accidents can cause a bevy of damages internally and externally. Some injuries are more obvious than others, and broken limbs or bruises and cuts have apparent symptoms and treatments. Neurological injuries, however, can be more complex to diagnose and treat. Often, if left untreated, symptoms may be delayed and worsen over time. Learn the signs of nerve damage from car accidents and which standard treatment options are available. We can diagnose common car accident injuries with an appointment with one of our experts.
What Is Nerve Damage?
Your nervous system is made up of two systems. The CNS and the ANS. Your brain and your spinal cord make up your central nervous system. The autonomic system controls bodily functions not under conscious control, ie respiration, heartbeat, and digestive functions.
Peripheral Nervous System
The nervous system can be further divided into the peripheral nervous system. The PNS consists of nerves and ganglia outside the CNS. Healthy and undamaged nerves send signals loud and clear to the brain, and the system works as it should. When your nerves, axons, or insulating nerve tissues are damaged, there are interruptions in the communication between your body and your brain. Sometimes these interruptions cause loss of movement, feeling, or pain, depending on the extent of the damage.
Central Nervous System
The brain is often considered the central processing unit of your body. It communicates with your peripheral nervous system and has its own essential processes that maintain vital functions. When an abnormality happens, through cutting, stretching, bruising, pressure bleeding, or chemical imbalance, a range of life-altering symptoms can occur. Structural, electrical, or biochemical interruptions in normal functioning can cause:
- Cognitive impairment
- Spatial diorientatioan
- Loss of feeling
- Visual impairment
How Does Nerve Damage Occur?
When an auto injury occurs, and the peripheral nerve bundles in your body are damaged somehow, the signals that your body communicates to your brain are scrambled or stopped. An injury can affect nerves in varying levels of severity. Generally, nerves sustain the most injury through pressure, stretching, and cutting. Suppose the fibers within the nerve break due to stress or pulling, and the cover tissues are not damaged. In that case, the nerve may no longer effectively send or receive communications from the brain but have the potential to recover still.
The nerve and the insulating material are severely damaged if a nerve is cut. In some cases, with expert medical care from a neurologist in Brooklyn, NY practice, the parts that remain intact may begin to repair. If no treatment is sought and the nerve damage is left alone, nerve fibers may still attempt to improve themselves but will not. When fibers cannot reach a healthy receptor, painful scars known as neuromas may form.
Neurologist in Brooklyn, NY
The brain and spinal cord are similarly injured. Cutting, stretching, bruising, pressure, bleeding, or chemical imbalance can cause interruptions in the more extensive central nervous system. In some cases, like the peripheral nervous system, repairs can be made, and healing can begin. However, the brain and spinal cord do not heal as quickly as nerve bundles in the peripheral system and may require a longer period for rehabilitation. For best results, seek treatment immediately from an experienced injury doctor following any car accident.
Auto Accident Injuries Can Cause Nerve Damage?
Nearly every motor vehicle accident can cause nerve damage, and even the slightest impact can cause stretching or axonal shearing of nerve fibers. Whiplash-associated disorders are common following accidents. Injuries to the brain can range from mild concussions to life-threatening neurological damage.
Whiplash and WAD
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck move back and forth due to an external force. This sudden force can cause deformation to soft tissue as well as damage to the brain and the CNS. These forces can create a stretch and/or shearing of the axons.
Plenty of hazardous materials are present in auto accident injuries. From flying glass to crushing metal, sharp objects are moving at dangerous speeds. Depending on how a person comes into contact with these objects, deeper lacerations may be made that sever nerves.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Strains occur when impact happens. If people are conscious during an accident, they often tense up and brace themselves for impact. When tense, your neck strains, stretches, and pulls muscles and ligaments. Sprains occur when the ligaments are torn, and the inflammation may cause nerves to be compressed or pinched in the surrounding areas.
Facet joints in your spine keep you upright, in motion, and balanced. During a car accident, the force of impact can cause facet joints to become dislocated. Though facet joint injuries commonly occur in the cervical and lumbar areas, it is not uncommon to find them throughout the spine’s length due to a collision.
Breaks and fractures to the spine can cause severe neurological damage that can be life-altering and even life-threatening, particularly if the spinal cord is crushed or severed.
Discogenic Spinal Injuries
The spinal joints and surrounding nerves can become inflamed due to traumatic injury. Discs can bulge from their proper alignment. A disc bulge is a condition where the nuclear material remains contained within the annulus fibrosus. A herniated disc occurs when there is a tear in the disc and the nuclear material leaks out.
A spondylolisthesis can occur when an external force knocks or causes one of your vertebrae to slip onto the one below it. Usually, the facet joints keep your vertebrae in in proper alignment however; a traumatic injury can throw everything out of whack.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Any blow to the head can cause a TBI. Depending on whether or not the wound is open or closed defines the initial severity. Open or penetrating TBIs happen when a blow to the head also penetrates the skull and potentially the brain during the injury. This type of TBI is considered more severe due to exposure to external elements. Closed TBI occurs when an external force impacts the head, but there is no opening created.
Primary head injuries are due to the initial damage, and secondary injuries occur indirectly due to the initial trauma. Traumatic brain injuries cause various neurological disorders that a Medical Clinics of NYC neurologist can diagnose and treat.
How Is Nerve Damage Identified?
The specialists at Medical Clinics of NYC have advanced equipment and years of experience to identify nerve damage expertly. There are several options for treatment, depending on your injuries and symptoms. We understand that broken bones happen, but more than that, nerve damage can happen and cause serious issues.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
The nature of your injury will determine which exact symptoms neurologists will look for during your evaluation. Though damages to your peripheral and central nervous systems are similar and often interconnected, the symptoms can vary.
Peripheral Nerve Damage
When diagnosing your peripheral nerve damage, the neurologist Brooklyn specialists will look for the following symptoms:
- Pain points
- Radiating pain
- Muscle spasms
Central Nervous System Damage
If you seek treatment directly after your car accident, every doctor will likely evaluate you for a concussion because many car accident injuries can have a lasting impact. Other symptoms of central nervous damage, ranging from mild to severe, include the following symptoms:
- Vision impairment
- Cognitive impairment
How Is Nerve Damage Treated?
Because the Medical Clinics of NYC professionals know that every patient is different, your care plan will be individualized based on your unique injuries and subsequent recovery plan. Common treatments for nerve damage caused by car accidents are available, as well as specialized care.
Neurologists will likely administer two different types of tests to determine the extent of the nerve damage they suspect you are suffering from after your car accident. Electromyography testing and nerve conduction velocity tests can help assess what type of nerve damage has occurred.
Pain Management in New York City
Medically managed pain treatment is available to make healing from your neurological injuries bearable. Though long-term medically managed pain treatment is not ideal, initial programmed care plans can build stamina for recovery while fostering independence. Pain management can also be achieved through alternative therapies and holistic approaches.
Physical Therapy in New York City
Physical therapy can also help manage chronic pain through purposeful movements meant to increase flexibility and rebuild the range of motion that may have been affected by nerve damage. In more severe cases, patients may require physical therapy to relearn walking and use fine motor skills. Repeat physical therapy sessions will account for progress and the ongoing healing of nerve damage, so treatment and care plans will constantly evolve.
Surgical Treatment in New York
Surgery may be necessary to correct significant issues from a car accident that you sustained. Neurosurgeons perform surgery.
- Kyphoplasty is for fractured spine vertebrae.
- Microdiscectomy removes a disc or bone spur
- Fusion surgery fuses discs to stabilize the neck
- Robotic spine surgery treats lumbar stenosis
Who Treats Neurological Damage in NYC?
Don’t wait to see a specialist after your car accident. Skilled physicians are ready and waiting to assess and document your car accident injuries and provide the treatment plan you need to begin healing. Learn more about how to recover from nerve damage from new or existing car accident injuries by contacting the specialists at Medical Clinics of NYC to schedule an appointment today. We accept no-fault insurance, workers’ compensation, and other health insurance plans.