All it takes is a moment of inattention, sheer bad luck, the carelessness of another driver, and misfortune are ready. Every year, an unimaginable number of car accidents occur on the roads, killing people. The rest of the injured are people who have suffered more or fewer injuries. Cervical spine and head injuries are the most common consequences of road accidents. Serious car collisions can lead to concussions and even hematomas of the brain, which are often life-threatening. Dangerous car accident injuries are also strong contusions of the chest, which lead to fractures of the ribs, sternum, collarbone, respiratory failure, and internal hemorrhage.
A conversation between a neurologist and the injured person and verification of symptoms after a car accident is of paramount importance for the correct assessment of the damage to health and the application of appropriate therapy. The most dangerous for the brain are head injuries, which cause rapid acceleration or delay in head movement, such as in road accidents. When an injury occurs, the skull moves in the direction of the force, faster than its contents, the brain. This delay causes contusion and damage in the brain not only where the force is applied directly, but also the tissue located on the opposite side, where negative pressure is created. What neurological injuries can an accident cause and how to disclose them?
Symptoms of nervous system damage – head trauma after a car accident
An experienced neurologist will know at a glance whether the disturbance in movement in a person is caused by a dysfunction of the neurological system or osteoarticular injuries. Frequent neurological consequences that victims of accidents complain about are:
1. Headache with nausea;
2. Dizziness with a sense of spinning the world;
3. Difficulty keeping balance;
4. Difficulty speaking;
5. Difficulty reading;
6. Disturbed hearing / constant whistling in the head;
7. Memory impairment;
8. Sudden change of emotions and irritability of the injured person;
9. Pain, tingling, no feeling in the spine/limbs.
Increase in intracranial pressure. The inside of the skull consists of three elements: blood vessels, the brain with the meninges, and cerebrospinal fluid. When the pressure in the skull rises, the brain reacts immediately with swelling, especially in cases of hypoxia or ischemia.
Headache after an accident due to a head injury. After hitting the head against windshield or asphalt, apart from superficial head injuries (i.e. head wounds), blood often appears in the subarachnoid space, which irritates the meninges. Headaches and vomiting then appear. The injured person starts to behave differently, apart from the symptoms of loss of consciousness, headaches, and vomiting.
Movement coordination disorders. Some people with neurological injuries after an accident have problems with the motor neuron responsible for proper motor coordination.
Speech disorders, known as aphasias. Aphasia is defined as a speech disorder that results from brain damage. These dysfunctions can manifest themselves in problems with receiving and transmitting speech, also in the written form. The onset of aphasia occurs when the dominant hemisphere of the brain is damaged – in most (right-handed) people it is the left hemisphere.
Traumatic epilepsy. In serious head injuries in which the injured person becomes unconscious, there is a risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. In such cases, proper head diagnostics is essential. Epilepsy causes a significant drop in quality of life and often forces the patient to take medications that have side effects such as drowsiness, diplopia, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. Other ailments include mental symptoms like the feeling of being outside your body.
Symptoms, whether they are few or many, mild or severe, are the result of damage done to the brain. They occur because an impact or shock to the brain has caused temporary cell damage, and in more severe cases, bruising, internal bleeding, neuronal death, and/or tissue loss. Brain injuries and associated symptoms differ from one another. The damage can vary from mild to severe and occur in any part of the brain.
The most popular classification criteria are the extent and severity of the injury. With open injuries, damage to the skull leads to a simultaneous violation of the condition of the brain, along with the meninges. Open craniocerebral injuries are the most common cases in the practice of neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons. The second type is closed lesions in which the skull trauma does not affect the brain. Often the bones that make up the skull are broken or dented by an unusually high value of the acting force. In such cases, the recovery process is the result of cooperation between neurologists and qualified physiotherapists.
Closed craniocerebral injuries cause several sequelae, which can also be divided into early (immediate) and late (distant). Below we present the most frequently noted examples of consequences that are possible for rehabilitation.
The diseases caused by a head trauma after a car accident
The blows and concussions that result from a car crash are unexpected. To determine the degree of advancement, doctors collect information about the circumstances of the injury and measure the state of consciousness with the Glasgow scale. The scale is classified in mild, moderate, and severe cases (incompatible with life).
- In mild cases, concussion is absent, but neurological recuperation is complete. Most mildly trauma patients experience difficulties with memory and concentration.
- In moderate cases the patient is lethargic and in severe cases he is in a coma, unable to perform any activities or open his eyes.
Infants who suffer a blow to the head or suffer a shock must always be monitored by a doctor as they are unable to say about their symptoms.
Rest is the only way to treat a brain injury. However, extreme care and medication may be indicated to limit secondary damage (excess fluid, decreased blood oxygenation, seizures, and more) caused to the brain, especially in more severe cases. To avoid treating Traumatic Brain Injury, prevention is the best course of action. The consequences of brain damage may be more or less severe and may affect the level of cognitive functions, which have the effect of reducing their value. Rehabilitation is often necessary, especially when there is significant brain damage. The rehabilitation team includes neuropsychology doctors and/or nurses.
The effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can include changes in thinking or memory, movement, vision, and hearing. In addition, the damage includes disturbed emotional functioning, personality changes, and depression. Remember, in the absence of appropriate specialist medical help, intracranial bleeding is fatal. The brain is not strongly fixed inside the skull – therefore it is susceptible to damage as a result of acceleration, deceleration (the force of inertia causes the brain to hit the inner wall of the skull). With this mechanism of neurological injury, brain tissue may be bruised or nerve tracts may be stretched and torn. In milder cases, only concussion can occur (there is no organic damage), the cause is strain-type damage, leading to a reversible loss of function.