Do I Have a Concussion After My Car Accident?

Do I Have a Concussion After My Car Accident?

Many people are not aware that a traumatic brain injury is very common after a car accident.  We find that in the majority of the patients we treat that have been in  a car accident, close to 80% have traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or a concussion.


You do NOT need to hit your head on something to get a concussion.  That is a huge misunderstanding.  In fact most people that are concussed after a car accident did NOT hit their head during the accident.


So How Does It Happen Then?


It is important to understand that your brain is actually suspended in your skull.  It is suspended by fluid and held in place by ligaments.  It is basically ‘floating’ in your skull.   So, when you are in your car and get impacted by another vehicle the forces cause your head and neck to ‘whip’ around.  Due to those forces the brain that is ‘floating’ in your skull can impact the hard bony skull.  This impact is what causes a concussion.


Your soft brain tissue does not do well to impact traumas.


Think of it this way…if you get hit on the arm your arm will bruise.  The bruise is caused by damage to the underlying tissue ie. the muscle tissue and breaking of blood vessels.  You will then see a visible bruise.


When your brain impacts the inside of your skull a very similar injury occurs.  Except instead of muscle tissue being injured it is critical brain and nervous tissue.


So how do you know if you’re concussed?
Many times you cannot ‘see’ a concussion on imaging, unless it is super advanced imaging of your brain.  Most of the time concussions are diagnosed by your symptoms and some objective findings that a doctor can diagnose.


Some of the most common symptoms of concussion are:


  • -Confusion
  • -Headache
  • -Neck pain/stiffness
  • -Vision disturbances (double or blurry vision)
  • -Dizziness or imbalance
  • -Nausea or vomiting
  • -Memory loss
  • -Ringing ears
  • -Difficulty concentrating
  • -Sensitivity to light
  • -Loss of smell or taste
  • -Trouble falling asleep

This list is not all inclusive but is the most common.
If you are having any of these symptoms the most important thing you can do is to be evaluated ASAP after the injury.  The sooner you can get the diagnosis of a concussion the faster you can start doing the things that will help heal your brain.  If you do not do the correct things to heal your brain concussion symptoms can sometimes last months or years after the injury.
Not only is it important to get it diagnosed it is important to get experts involved.  You can facilitate the healing process by doing the right things.
You see depending upon the area of your brain that has been injured you may need to do specific therapy to correct those issues.  For instance if your visual cortex was injured you may need visual therapy to help the brain to heal in a timely manner.
Again the MOST important thing you can do is get evaluated ASAP after a car accident.  Find out if you have a concussion or if your pain is just muscle and joint injury.  Once you know the extent of your injury you can get the treatment you need to get better ASAP.  The physicians at Spinal Rehab of North County are experts at diagnosing and treating people that have been injured in car accidents.  We can evaluate you and let you know if you have a concussion and then get you to the experts that we work with. We have a relationship with Kutcher Clinic for Sports Neurology, one of the elite facilities in the world for treatment of traumatic brain injury.  Call now to schedule an appointment 801-492-9300.
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