According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, approximately 2.35 million Americans are injured or even disabled in vehicle accidents every year. Thankfully, in many cases these injuries are nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises or a broken bone. In other cases, however, the passenger suffers a more serious injury that requires immediate assistance. Here are two of the most common and potentially dangerous injuries that are sustained in automobile accidents:
A milder form of a traumatic brain injury, a concussion occurs when there is a severe and sudden blow to the head. When a concussion occurs, the brain itself – which is protected by spinal fluid and the skull – is injured. In some severe cases, the brain will actually shift or move inside the skull.
The severity of the concussion is measured on a scale of one to three. An individual that suffers a grade one concussion won't lose consciousness and typically, their symptoms only last for a few moments. A grade two concussion involves no loss of consciousness and symptoms that last for longer than 15 minutes.
If an individual loses consciousness, even if it is only for a few seconds, they have suffered a grade three concussion, which is the most serious type of injury.
If you are ever involved in an accident, it is important to learn about the signs and symptoms of a concussion, which include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Temporary memory loss
- Balance issues
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Ringing in the ears
- Problems concentrating or with memory
- Trouble with sense of smell or taste
- Loss of consciousness
The symptoms associated with concussion in children can vary, as well. In some cases, a child will lose interest in a favorite activity, appear fussier than usual or will simply not act like themselves.
If you've recently been in a car accident and you or a loved one exhibits a combination of any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to contact a doctor immediately.
Chances are you've heard the term "whiplash," but you might not exactly be sure what it is. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are severely and suddenly jerked back and forth – much like the cracking of a whip.
When whiplash occurs, the ligaments and tendons of the neck are damaged, and might even tear. In most cases when a person suffers from whiplash, they are involved in a rear-end collision.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the symptoms commonly associated with whiplash will occur within a few minutes, hours or even days after the injury. Some of the more common symptoms associated with whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Numbness in the shoulders and arms
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion and difficulty concentrating
Even if your injury and symptoms are minor, it is important to see your doctor immediately after your accident if you suspect you suffer from whiplash. Typically, the doctor will diagnose whiplash by asking you about the accident, your symptoms and testing the range of motion in your head, neck and shoulders. In some cases, your doctor might order an x-ray or MRI to rule out any other injuries.
Treatment for whiplash varies and will depend on the severity of your injury. In many cases, your doctor will advise you to rest and treat your injuries with heat or cold and an over-the-counter pain reliever. Your doctor may also advise you to visit a chiropractor, such as TLC Chiropractic, who can help both relieve your pain and help restore the range of motion in your neck and shoulders.
Suffering an injury in automobile accident, no matter how minor, can be scary. If you are ever in a car accident, keep a look out for the above-mentioned signs and symptoms of concussion and whiplash and if you notice any, don't hesitate to contact a doctor immediately.