Neurological injuries refer to injuries that occur to the spine, nerves or brain. Such injuries can result from auto accident, pedestrian accident, or other catastrophic event. Car accident injuries can result in some physiological changes to the brain.
A person may suffer neurological disorders due to penetrating or closed-head injuries. In other cases, cutting off oxygen from your brain may also result in neurological trauma.
Symptoms of Neurological Injuries
Neurological issues may present with various symptoms. Some people may experience headaches, tingling, migraines, and numbness following a crash.
While some symptoms may improve right away, others can linger. Some severe conditions may point toward neurological issues stemming from your accident.
Spasticity occurs when the muscles tighten uncontrollably. After a brain injury, the signals from the brain may become disrupted. You may feel as though your muscles cannot relax after contracting.
Likewise, you may lose some of your fine motor control and muscle weakness. Spasticity may worsen at night or during different activities for some patients.
If spasticity limits your ability to sleep or function daily, you may require treatments. Some common symptoms of spasticity include:
- Overactive reflexes
- Involuntary tightening of limbs
- Jerking muscles
- Muscle tightness that limits walking
Patients tend to experience spasticity when they feel emotional stress, stretch their limbs, suffer any injuries to the muscles, or wear tight clothing.
Neurological injuries can affect your ability to speak or use language. After your car crash doctor examines your brain injury, he or she may discover you damaged the language centers of your brain. Language disorders caused by injuries include aphasia, dysarthria, and apraxia of speech.
Aphasia occurs when you have trouble understanding others or speaking coherently. The patient can move his or her mouth and make sounds to speak but cannot retrieve words or comprehend what another person says.
If your muscles become weak or paralyzed, you may have dysarthria. In dysarthria, you can comprehend language, but you may lack motor control for your mouth and tongue.
With apraxia of speech, you cannot carry out the movement patterns to speak correctly. While your muscles do not suffer from your neurological injury, your brain pathways cannot produce speech as they could before.
Fortunately, when it comes to speech problems, you may be able to regain your ability to talk. When talking to New York car accident doctors, you will find out that the brain can heal itself. It requires its circuitry to make changes. You may be able to recover your ability to speak.
It is common for patients to experience memory problems following a neurological injury. Sometimes, the damage to the brain involves the parts responsible for memory and learning.
Often, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect a person’s short-term memory rather than long-term memory. You may struggle to make and keep appointments or act on promises.
It may feel like you constantly lose your keys or other essential items. Often, people become confused by what they did the morning or week prior.
Sometimes, patients lose the memory of their injury too. When patients do not remember an injury, they rarely recover those memories.
Feeling dizzy and lightheaded regularly can turn dangerous. Most people feel dizzy or suffer a loss of balance at some point during recovery. There are various body systems responsible for helping you keep balance.
If you’re dizzy or lightheaded, a car accident doctor may be able to determine the reason for your lightheadedness. Balance problems may occur if you lose any amount of eyesight during the accident or due to medications you take following the incident.
Another reason people experience vertigo is because of inner ear problems. If your brain injury damages your vestibular system, you may feel like the world is spinning.
Epilepsy is an umbrella diagnosis for many brain disorders that lead to seizures. Post-traumatic epilepsy occurs after a head injury.
Some people have seizures directly following the injury and never again, but some have them for months or years following. In severe cases, a person may develop epilepsy permanently.
Treatments for Neurological Injuries
Over 1.5 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury, while around 90,000 people have long-term disabilities because of the injury.
ICU Care After an Accident
Following the accident, you may require 24-hour medical care and monitoring. In the ICU, doctors use advanced technology to monitor your brain, heart, lungs, and other vital functions. You have access to physicians who specialize in brain and spine injuries.
Rehabilitation Following Hospitalization
Most patients require rehabilitation following serious neurological injuries. When it comes to rehab, you may have the choice between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.
Every person has a different recovery journey. Your car injury doctor will understand the importance of a custom-fit rehab program.
There are different treatment plans available to help people regain independence and live a higher quality of life. Some forms of rehab include neuropsychology, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
After an accident, there are many areas of life patients may have to relearn. Some programs require various types of rehab.
Standard Diagnostic Tests for Neurological Injuries
Physicians conduct various tests before making a diagnosis. While neurologists may consider many different tests, there are a few common ones you are more likely to undergo.
Neurologists use lumbar punctures to diagnose central nervous system disorders, meningitis, and other brain and spinal cord disorders. During the lumbar puncture, the physician uses a thin, hollow needle to access the area between your lower two vertebrae.
They insert the needle through the spinal membrane and into the spinal canal. The doctor then withdraws a small amount of spinal fluid and measures the cerebrospinal pressure.
The overall procedure takes about 45 minutes. Following this, you should not return to any strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies
Patients require electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) for doctors to measure the electrical activity of their nerves.
The EMG test looks at the electrical signals from your muscles at rest and during use, whereas the nerve conduction study measures how fast your electrical signals travel through your body. Neurologists can use both tests to discover disorders in your nerves or muscles.
Computerized tomography (CT) scans ar x-ray scans that photograph different angles of your body. The doctor can see computer-generated cross-sections of your soft tissue, blood vessels, and bones.
CT scans can visualize various parts of your body when you have trauma following an accident, searching for injuries like broken bones. Likewise, CT scans can help diagnose disorders or to plan medical treatment.
During some CT scans, doctors may use a special contrast material to highlight different areas of your body. The contrast material appears white on images and helps the doctor see other structures.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use magnetic fields and radio waves to show a detailed image of your tissues and organs. You lay down and the doctors place you in a large, tube-shaped magnet.
An MRI works by realigning the water molecules in your body and using radio waves to cause the molecules to produce signals.
An MRI can spot different disorders and injuries within the brain and spinal cord, including the inner ear and eye disorders, aneurysms, brain injuries, and spinal injuries.
Benefits of Working with a Neurologist
Working with a neurologist is essential to an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Neurologists have different specializations, including car accidents.
Many car accident injuries aren’t immediately noticed. You may overlook the extent of your injuries directly following an accident. Sometimes, your body floods with endorphins, masking the pain of specific injuries.
Of all your systems, the nervous system is the most complex. Our nervous system controls our reactions, internal functions, blood vessel dilation, muscle movement, and learning ability.
The central nervous system works with the peripheral nervous system to process and transmit sensory information, with your brain and spinal cord as the control center.
Neurologists study the nervous system and all its complexities thoroughly. They have the experience and knowledge to pinpoint problem areas throughout your body. The sooner you detect an injury or disorder, the sooner you can begin treatment.
Personal Treatment Options
No two injuries are the same. After a car accident, you do not require cookie-cutter treatment plans.
Neurological disorders range in symptoms, severity and their ability to impact your daily life. Likewise, your personal life may determine your recovery goals.
Patients often want to return to a life close to their previously lived life. Neurologists consider your specific injuries, medical history, lifestyle, age, and other details to create a custom treatment plan.
Neurologists find the source of your problems to create a pain management system that works for the patient. Even people from the same accident may not have the exact needs as you.
Your treatment may include pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, rehabilitation and the use of casts, braces or mobility aids.
Visiting a Neurologist Following a Car Accident
During a car accident, the sheer force of the collision can cause severe neurological injuries to your brain and spinal cord. At Medical Clinics of New York City, we are dedicated to offering comprehensive services and quality care to accident victims with various injuries and disorders caused by the incident. Our neurologists accept no-fault insurance, workers’ compensation, Personal Injury Protection, medical liens, and other insurance plans.
Contact us today for a consultation and appointment with our neurologists.