Common Car Accident Injuries
If you choose us for auto injury treatment, a comprehensive review of your individual situation will be conducted during the first consultation. We need to know just how badly you’ve been injured, and signs of a serious injury are not always so obvious to the naked eye. Wounds, scrapes and bruises are easily identified and treated, but more serious injuries need to be identified through careful examination and testing.
Concussions are some of the most frequent injuries associated with a car accident. A concussion occurs when a patient’s head is struck against a windshield or other window, steering wheel or roof. This kind of turbulence causes the brain to bounce around inside of the skull and become bruised. The injury actually causes chemical changes to occur inside the brain as it tries to recover from the trauma. Symptoms of a concussion might not be noticeable right away, but a day or two after the trauma occurs.
Whiplash injuries can cause anywhere from a mild strain to severe pain in the neck area. It happens when the head is jerked sharply in any given direction. It’s not uncommon for dislocation of vertebrae in the spine to occur. The muscles of the neck will also feel the impact. Soreness and stiffness as well as pain when turning the head is only natural.
Depending on the seriousness of a whiplash injury, it can take weeks or months to recover completely. The longer length of time might be necessary because surgery is sometimes needed to repair the damage. If whiplash trauma is mainly restricted to the muscles of the neck, it might take a few weeks or a little over a week for a complete recovery.
Injuries of the back and spinal cord come with the territory in most serious accidents. The back is very vulnerable when the car is impacted from the rear. But, even front crashes can cause severe back problems. When the spinal cord itself is affected, this can mean long months of recovery through therapy and possible surgery. Spinal cord injuries can cause a loss of sensation or range of motion that might improve but is sometimes permanent.
If the range of motion or sensation is drastically affected by a spinal injury, physical therapy will be necessary. These can be some of the hardest times for those who are forced to experience them. Specialists in this neck and spine clinic in Bradenton create treatment plans based on individual needs. The physical therapy options are varied, and everyone can find a group of them that are useful. Range of motion exercises that can be performed at home increase the effectiveness of our treatments and therapies.
Internal injuries need to be treated as fast as possible. When there is internal bleeding, for example, the misplaced blood puts extra strain on other organs and tissues of the body. This quickly leads to an imbalance that can be very serious. Internal injuries to vital organs might have occurred and you might not be aware of it until after you are carefully examined and tests are taken.
These are just some of the types of injuries we commonly deal with. We know that the circumstances of an accident, the type of vehicle and whether you used a seat belt or not create variables that determine the types of injuries and their severity.
Diagnosing Spinal Injuries and Concussions
Think of the spine as the central highway of your body, connected by strands to every area and organ in your body. The problem with a spinal injury might not be so much the injury to the spine itself, but the trauma to the tissues and muscles connected to the spine. The tearing of ligaments and muscles that support the spine can affect more than most people realize. Some of the symptoms of a spinal injury might seem unrelated and can be confusing to experience.
As you can see, these symptoms can be odd to many people. This is just one of the reasons, besides insurance claims, that it’s so important to see an accident rehabilitation clinic like ours as soon as you can after a car accident that causes any kind of moderate to severe injury. There are several ways of detecting serious injuries to the spinal cord and surrounding areas, as well as damage to vital organs and regions of the body.
X-rays are, by far, the most common way of viewing inside the body, especially when it concerns the bones and spinal cord. There are other imaging technologies that we use, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The viewing power of MRIs can be adjusted so inflamed areas and organs of the body can be clearly distinguished.
Concussions are much less easy to diagnose because diagnostic tests often will not show any sign of it. Although the injuries to the brain in the case of a concussion are mild, they can still cause a few noteworthy symptoms. These include confusion, nausea, ringing in the ears, and sensitivity to light. We evaluate these symptoms and determine whether there has been a concussion based on these and other distinguishing factors.
Importance of Physical Therapy
The purpose of physical therapy that is conducted by us as well as the kind our patients do at home is to encourage healing of muscular tissue, increase joint mobility, reduce pain and increase range of motion. We are extremely glad when our patients are not too seriously injured and can still perform strength training exercises. Building more muscular tissue or simply improving muscular tone can bring support to the spine and improve posture.
Range of motion is usually limited and needs to be improved through stretching exercises and massage therapy. Gentle massage therapy can improve blood circulation in the injured region of the body and bring valuable nutrients to tissue that needs it the most. The gentle kneading motion of a well-performed massage by a licensed professional can ease the joints and muscles and help to restore their proper functioning.
There are various forms of therapy that are more extensive. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) can train muscles to respond like they used to before the injury. Muscles are forced to contract in controlled intervals. This has the effect of building them the way strength training exercises do and this increases their strength. The more muscular support can be applied to a given injured part of the body, the more spinal stability. This translates into increased flexibility with less pain.
Our physical therapy treatments are varied enough to provide you with a choice that works for you and your set of circumstances, whether they be financial or health related. Finding the right treatments as well as establishing a treatment plan that works in the long-term are skills the staff at this clinic have learned to apply to each patient as an individual.
Treating Pain with Pain Medications
We understand that serious injuries that involve the spinal column and connecting muscles and tissue can be extremely painful. This pain might not manifest until days after the accident. It might also be at it most extreme during the healing process as our patients receive therapeutic treatments for their injuries. Over-the-counter medications simply will not be strong enough and are not useful for long-term use anyway.
There are certain classes of antidepressant medications that can be very effective at reducing extreme pain associated with car accident injuries. While they are great for controlling pain, they can also be beneficial in reducing many of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms that are commonly experienced after a serious car accident.
PTSD symptoms can include extreme anxiety, and this can be worse if there has been a past history of mental illness. PTSD can keep you from doing the things you used to love doing, such as driving! You might be more sensitive to loud sudden noises than ever before and be startled by the most insignificant of them. Many of our patients require counseling to deal with these troublesome symptoms as well as their physical injuries.
Antidepressants that work well as severe pain medications have a way of influencing chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. It’s these chemicals that are used by the brain to send signals to other parts of the body, including signals of pain and pleasure. When the right doses of these medications are administered, pain can be greatly reduced and feelings of anxiety are more easily controlled.
While these kinds of pain medications are safer and less addictive, they can still present risks for addiction and there are some side effects. The staff at our clinic assist our patients in using their pain medications by monitoring their behavior during follow-up visits and carefully regulating the dosage. As the intensity of pain decreases over time, less of the medication is necessary. We want you to remember that pain medication is for managing pain and should not be depended on as a solution in itself.
Recovery with Continued Support
The personal consultation with one of our physicians should be the first step in your recovery from this dramatic experience. We can begin the process of gauging the seriousness of your injuries so treatment can promptly begin. We treat more than just the symptoms of your injury; we treat the root causes of your pain, discomfort and lack of mobility.
To learn more about auto injury treatment, we encourage you to reach out and make an appointment with Synergy Medical. At our clinic in Bradenton, our caring and devoted team of professionals have helped countless others recover their bodies, minds, and lives after their traumatic auto injuries.
Contact us today to set up your consultation.