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Not all car accident injuries are immediately apparent

Posted in Blog on March 18, 2021

If you’re involved in a Colorado motor vehicle collision, it’s important to closely monitor your condition in the days and weeks the follow the accident. The force of impact in a crash can cause severe, even life-threatening injuries. There are certain symptoms that may develop that would suggest you have suffered nerve damage, which may cause temporary or permanent disability.

Nerve damage can occur in various parts of the body

Upon impact in a collision, your body might hit the hard surfaces inside of your vehicle. You might also be jarred forward, side-to-side or backwards, which can cause severe injuries. Nerve damage can occur in your neck, spine, brain or extremities. Even if you received medical attention immediately after a crash, and emergency room physicians sign a release for you to go home, it doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t suffered nerve damage because some symptoms might be delayed or unnoticed at first.

What happens in your body if nerves are damaged?

There are several types of nerve damage that may occur as a result of injury in a motor vehicle collision. Your central nervous system is basically a complex system of communication that transports messages back and forth from your brain to various areas of your body. If a nerve or bundle of nerves becomes bruised, torn or compressed, it may impede your ability to function.

The human body consists of more than 30 pairs of nerve roots that branch off of the spine. The term “myelophathy” refers to spinal nerves that have been compressed as a result of injury. Peripheral neuropathy is a damaged nerve condition that typically refers to the nerves in your arms. Severity of nerve damage anywhere in your body determines what type of treatment you might need, as well as how long it may take to achieve a full recovery or if a full recovery is even possible.

Post-accident symptoms that raise concern

There are numerous symptoms that suggest a possible nerve damage injury. If you were recently involved in a Denver collision and experience one or more of the symptoms included in the following list, it’s best to report the information to your primary care doctor or visit a local emergency room for medical examination:

  • A shooting or stabbing pain
  • A tingling sensation
  • Numbness
  • Lack of reflexes
  • Muscle weakness

It is possible to experience more than one of these symptoms simultaneously. It’s also possible that you might experience a symptom but not have nerve damage, which is why it’s always best to seek medical attention because ER doctors know what tests to do to determine if you have suffered nerve damage as a result of a car accident.

Corresponding parts of the body may feel pain due to nerve damage

Various nerves in your body send messages that affect other areas of your body. For instance, there are nerves in your back that, if damaged, may cause you to lose control of your bladder. If you try to walk around a day or so after a collision, and your foot drops or leg muscles feel weak, you might have damaged the nerves in your lower back that send messages to that specific area of your body.

In other words, just because you feel pain in your hip, for instance, doesn’t necessarily mean you have injured your hip. You might have injured the nerves in your back that correspond to hip function. This is one of many reasons it’s always best to seek medical attention when you are not feeling well during recovery from a car accident. If a new symptom develops, or you just don’t feel like your condition is improving as it should, you can discuss your concerns with a physician who is specially trained to treat car accident victims.

What is the treatment for nerve damage that results in a car accident?

To diagnose nerve damage, your attending physician will conduct neurology tests to check your reflexes, as well as muscle coordination and other issues. An electromyography test (EMT) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) record how your muscles respond to stimuli. Your medical team can also use various scanning devices to check for spinal injuries, such as a herniated disc or traumatic brain injury that may be affecting your nerves.

Sometimes, rest and time may be all that are needed to help nerve damage heal. In a more severe case, injection therapy or surgery might be necessary. Medical treatment of nerve damage does not guarantee that a full recovery can be achieved. Sadly, nerve damage from a car accident may have permanent adverse effects. Medical care is expensive, and post-accident financial distress merely intensifies a recovering victim’s suffering. When another person’s negligence was a direct cause of injury, a recovering victim can consult a car accident lawyer to file a personal injury claim in a civil court. A successfully litigated claim may provide court-ordered compensation that can help pay medical bills and cover other expenses associated with a collision.

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