It is common knowledge that car accidents often result in injury, some minor, while others may be more serious. These injuries can range from bruises, cuts, and broken bones, to spinal injuries or traumatic brain injuries. What you may not realize is that nerve injuries can cause damage, and pain can occur from being involved in a car accident. Sadly, injuries after an auto accident occur more often than you may realize.
The problem with being in an auto accident is that the effects may not be noticed until days or sometimes weeks after an accident. The nervous system is a delicate part of the body that can be damaged in a car accident.
Nerve damage can occur as a result of being involved in a car accident and can lead to numbness and tingling after a car accident injury. Numbness and tingling may only last a few hours or days, but sometimes, they can come and go for months or last for quite a while, leading to chronic or episodic symptoms.
This could be a sign of a more serious nerve injury. If you experience numbness and tingling in any part of the body, including arms, hands, or fingers, this could be a sign that you suffered nerve damage as a result of a car accident. Unfortunately, nerve damage can affect your daily life as it can lead to pain and discomfort. If you find you are experiencing side effects such as numbness and tingling after a car accident, you don’t have to suffer with it forever, allowing it to affect your quality of life. Treatment options are available at AICA in Snellville.
How Do Nerves Work?
Nerves are responsible for carrying messages back and forth from the body to the brain and spinal cord. Nerves are very fragile and can be damaged easily. Because nerves are responsible for controlling the body, damaged nerves from a car accident injury may result in loss of control of certain parts of the body affected. On a positive note, not all damage is permanent. Often, time and proper treatment are essential in healing nerve damage.
Diagnosing nerve damage early and receiving proper treatment is the best way to address long-term complications. Be sure to talk with your doctor right away if you have been in a car accident or suspect possible injuries that may be due to nerve damage, especially if you are experiencing numbness and tingling in any extremities or other parts of the body.
Types of Nerve Damage
The term “nerve damage” can be a very vague and broad term. To specify, there are different types of nerve damage that can occur.
The three most common types of nerve damage are:
- Neurapraxia – a lack of blood supply to the nerves. This is often due to an interruption such as compression. Pinched nerves are a common type of neurapraxia and can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal with proper care and treatment.
- Axonotmesis – an injury that causes nerves to be crushed.
- A violent impact, like a car accident, is usually the cause of axonotmesis. Axonotmesis can cause partial or full paralysis.
- Neurotmesis – crushed or severed nerves. This is the most serious form of nerve damage. Over time, partial feeling and mobility can be regained, but this form of nerve damage may lead to permanent damage.
What Can Cause Nerve Damage?
The impact of an auto accident can lead to noticeable outside damage to the body or also damage inside the body that isn’t immediately seen. It can also cause damage to different parts of the body, depending on where the impact occurs. A car accident injury in Snellville can lead to a variety of injuries that will look different for everyone. Car accidents that can damage nerves and lead to numbness and tingling can include these common injuries.
Whiplash is when the head is pushed forward and slammed backward upon impact. The intense pressure put on the head, neck, and shoulders can cause pinched or damaged nerves.
Neck, back, or spine injuries can also cause nerve damage. Herniated discs as the result of a car accident can press down and pinch nerves. Signs of spinal nerve damage can include headaches, low back or hip pain, radiating pain, numbness and tingling, foot drop or problems walking, or even loss of bladder and bowel control.
Compressed nerves, or nerves that are being pressed down upon by other parts of the body, can occur in the arms, legs, or head because of blunt force trauma. Compression to the sciatic nerve that runs through the lower back and hips can often cause numbness and tingling of the legs. Spinal cord compression caused by pressure on the spinal cord and the bundle of nerves that run up and down the vertebrae may also lead to the same thing. It will take testing and diagnosis to confirm where the compression has occurred and what can be done to treat the affected area.
Lacerations from debris can cut deep, even down to the nerves severing nerves and causing damage. Deep lacerations or blunt force trauma can usually be felt right away, shortly after a car accident.
But neuropathy, or nerve damage that can cause numbness and tingling, may take longer to develop and show itself. After suffering a car accident, it is always advisable to seek treatment both soon after for injuries that are noticeable right away and a few days after the accident for any injuries that are just beginning to manifest themselves.
Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Damage
There are about 7 trillion nerves throughout the body. Because of a car crash, any number of these nerves can be stretched, pinched, torn, or damaged in some way. While nerve damage may be a common after-effect of being involved in a car crash, some may not know what it is or what it looks like to be able to recognize that they may have experienced nerve damage and need to seek treatment. Signs of nerve damage can include:
- Paralysis – Full or partial paralysis may occur as a result of nerve damage in extremities such as arms, legs, fingers, or toes
- Pins and needles sensation – oftentimes tingling is described as a pins and needles sensation or a prickling feeling in parts of the body. Numbness will sometimes occur alongside the tingling and prickly feeling.
- Shooting pain – signs of nerve damage can be shooting pains that begin in the neck and back and can radiate out down the arms and legs as well
- Sensitivity – hot and cold temperatures can feel sensitive to the skin as a result of nerve damage
- Muscle pain and weakness or twitching
- Decrease reflexes or no reflexes at all
Just because there is a tingling sensation in one part of the body doesn’t necessarily mean that is where the injury occurred. Nearby nerves located in the neck or spine could be the cause of pain, tingling, or numbness in other parts of the body. When you feel this type of discomfort, it may mean that it is time to seek treatment from an AICA specialist in Snellville.
Treating and Monitoring Tingling Sensations
Because nerve damage can range in severity from mild to more severe cases, there are likely some first steps your doctor may recommend you start at home if you are experiencing a mild case of numbness and tingling. For one, rest and relaxation can go a long way in allowing the body to heal itself after an injury. At-home treatments may begin with allowing yourself the time to rest and heal.
Alternating ice and heat therapy can feel soothing on strained muscles. It can also help alleviate pain and inflammation that has occurred because of a car crash injury. In addition to ice and heat therapy, mild pain relievers may also be taken to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation. While this can help to treat pain, it is important to note that pain relievers often only mask underlying symptoms, so it is likely that you should still be checked out by a doctor to address and treat the problem.
If symptoms are just masked, pain and discomfort may only worsen over time. So while it is a good idea to begin treating symptoms at home, it may not be the end of all treatment options. Oftentimes, injuries are worse than they appear initially. It is always best to seek the expertise of medical professionals to be sure to address symptoms at the source and save yourself what could be a lot of pain and discomfort in the future.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Diagnosis of nerve damage after a car accident can be done at a doctor’s visit through careful examination and testing. A neurological examination will check reflexes, coordination, sensation, and strength. Other types of testing can include:
- An EMG, or electromyography, that records electrical activity in the muscles to test nerve function
- An NCS, or nerve conduction study, that records muscle response to stimuli
- MRI or CT scans that show spinal cord damage, such as a herniated disc or other internal injuries
Treatment for nerve damage and numbness and tingling will vary based on the underlying causes found. Because of the different types of nerve damage that occur in every accident, every treatment plan will be specifically designed to meet individual needs. It is imperative to see a specialist who is knowledgeable about both car accidents and nerve damage that can create a comprehensive treatment plan for relief and healing. An experienced AICA doctor in Snellville can do just that. First and foremost, a doctor may recommend patients undergo physical therapy and/or chiropractic care to relieve pressure on the spine or other affected parts. Physical therapy can also increase the range of motion, restore joint function, reduce pain, and alleviate numbness and tingling sensations. Strengthening muscles in the body can also be beneficial to overall health as it can reduce chronic pain and aid in long-term recovery.
Pinched nerves may require other treatment options in addition to physical therapy, such as anti-inflammatory medications. More serious nerve damage can require a significant course of action. Steroid injections given near the spinal nerve roots to reduce inflammation and pain may be one course of action. Surgery is rare, but in extreme instances, surgery may be required. Severed or torn nerves cannot heal on their own and thus require surgery to repair.
Recovery After Nerve Damage
The recovery process is the number one priority after suffering nerve damage related to a car accident injury. Each situation is different, and one-on-one treatment from an experienced AICA physician in Snellville is imperative to receiving the very best care after an injury and recovering to the fullest. The AICA medical team of professionals will be sure to take the very best care of each and every patient, providing thorough assessment, using top-of-the-line technology for an accurate and specific diagnosis, and creating unique treatment plans that are designed to treat your specific type of injury. Let AICA’s experienced medical professionals help you begin the recovery process today.
Quality Care After a Car Accident Injury at AICA Snellville
Your quality of life doesn’t have to suffer after a car accident. You don’t have to live with the chronic pain and discomfort that so often comes after suffering a car accident and nerve damage. While numbness and tingling may seem mild, it is often quite annoying and can be a sign of a larger underlying problem. At AICA, we want to help you move forward with treatment so you can get on with living your life after a car accident. A car accident doesn’t have to slow you down. Call today to find out more information about what our team of doctors that specialize in car accidents and nerve pain can do for you. We want to help you devise the right treatment plan and get you back on your feet and on your way to living your best life. We look forward to working with you.