Concussion Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Head injuries from car accidents are more common than many realize. The effects of a car accident concussion can linger and cause impairment.
How concussions occur
You do not have to have hit your head to suffer a concussion. The sudden jolt of the car is enough to cause your brain to impact the inside of your skull when your head moves quickly. When your head moves, the brain, which is suspended by ligaments and floating, can move and bump the inside of the skull vault causing a bruising of the sensitive brain tissue. Also, when the brain travels within your skull, the tug of the ligaments can cause injury to the brain where they attach.
Recognizing a concussion after a car accident
The most common symptom of a concussion is headache. The intensity, nature and location can vary, but any time you have had a sudden jolt and then soon after develop a headache, a concussion must be considered.
Other symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury are:
- Tiredness and sleepiness during the day, but difficulty sleeping at night
- Blurry or double vision
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Transposing numbers or letters
- Feeling tongue tied
- Feelings of anger and irritation
- Feelings of sadness, crying more easily
- Ringing in the ears
- Lack of balance and coordination
These are among the most common symptoms, but there are others. Any time someone has suffered a car accident and they exhibit a few of these symptoms soon after, it is more than likely a sign they have suffered a concussion.
Diagnosing a car accident concussion
The history is strongly suggestive of a concussion, which would then lead a competent car accident specialist to perform standardized tests to uncover the nature and severity of the concussion. You may be asked to complete several questionnaires, which are designed to uncover different aspects of brain function that the patient may be unaware of. After reviewing the questionnaires, your doctor will then perform a specialized neurological examination to test the function of different parts of your brain. You will be asked to move in different directions, perform coordination tests, and follow objects with your eyes. Your reflexes, muscle strength and sensation will also be evaluated.
Why Concussions Are Missed
The problem with concussions after a car accident is that most doctors are not trained well in identifying concussions. Many primary care physicians do not realize that head injuries occur without an actual head trauma. Some think that if a patient has not lost consciousness, they cannot have mild traumatic brain injury. Besides lack of medical education, most patients do not go to an emergency room after a car accident. They may wait a week or more before seeking care. When they do, they may not report all of their symptoms to the doctor. And if the doctor does not ask the correct questions, the patient’s concussion will go undiagnosed.
Treatment of Brain Injuries and Concussions
A brain takes time to heal. You cannot rush the recovery process, but there are therapies that can make recovery move along as fast as possible and with the least amount of residual impairments.
In office concussion treatments:
Typical medical treatment is simply “wait and see.” Your family medical physician or general chiropractor will say there is no specific treatment for a concussion. Brain injury experts will tell you, however, that there are many therapies that can improve brain healing and restore function. In fact, you might have seen a segment on the Super Bowl coverage in 2013 showing how doctors in the NFL are using oxygen and cold laser therapy to help football players with concussions return to play faster. Our office has used these technologies for several years with great results. Additionally, there are exercises that are done under the doctor’s supervision to help with coordination of the brain and body.
At home brain injury treatments:
What you do at home is crucial to the recovery of your brain. The most important, yet hardest home care involves resting the brain. You MUST rest your brain by minimizing use of computers, games, and even watching television. These tasks with screens cause a tremendous amount of irritation to the brain. Another important way to rest your brain is to lie in a totally dark room with no sounds for at least 1 hour each day. No vigorous exercise involving your head shaking or bouncing should be done until your doctor clears it. You will also be advised to take nutritional supplements that fight brain inflammation and improve healing.
Car accidents cause brain injuries quite often. Because of a lack of education on the part of doctors and patients, many concussions go undiagnosed, which leads many accident victims to suffer unnecessary impairment.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a car accident concussion, call immediately to schedule an appointment with a brain injury expert to learn what can be done about your injury. In Orange County, California call (714) 938-0575
Dr Barry Marks Chiropractor
1745 W Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868