By: Grace Hancock
Everyone has their feet fall asleep every now and then. Experiencing feelings of numbness and tingling after a car accident may seem insignificant to you. But, if you are experiencing numbness and tingling in any of your extremities, don’t ignore your symptoms. Symptoms you may consider insignificant like numbness and tingling could be indicative of a much more serious injury: nerve damage.
Causes of Nerve Damage
There are three types of nerves in your nervous system: autonomic nerves, motor nerves, and sensory nerves. Each type of nerve handles a different function of your body. For example, motor nerves control your movement by relaying information from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles. Nerve damage occurs when an injury splices, crushes or pinches your nerve. Likewise, it is also when your nerve is stretched or compressed. Since all three types of nerves are responsible for essential bodily functions, damage to any of your nerves can significantly impact the quality of your life.
Most Common Cause of Nerve Damage from a Car Accident
A sprain or strain happens when muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched or torn. When muscles, tendons, or ligaments surrounding the spine are stretched or torn, doctors call that a strain or sprain-type injury, also referred to as whiplash. Whiplash most commonly happens during a rear-end car crash. The forces of the collision may be so great that your neck jostles so hard that it stretches or tears muscles, tendons, or ligaments in your neck.
Herniated Discs and Pinched Nerves
Intervertebral discs have a tough outer layer and a soft inner layer, almost like a jelly doughnut. When you get in some type of rear-end collision that moves any part of your body beyond its normal range of motion, it oftentimes results in damages to the intervertebral discs. In other words, the crash caused your body to herniate the discs, which will cause part of that jelly-like substance in the middle of the intervertebral disc to come out and press on one or more of your nerves that are leaving your neck or your lower back.
Nerve roots that go out of your spine and your neck actually can go down your arm and into your fingers. If the nerve is pinched in your neck, that often results in irritation to the sensory and motor nerves and so you will feel pain going down your arm you may feel numbness and tingling in various points of your arm or in your hand or hands depending on where the nerve irritation is.
Diagnosing Nerve Damage
Like with head injuries, nerve damage can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms may not occur until days or weeks after the initial accident. Moreover, you must not confuse nerve damage with usual aches and pains. Symptoms of nerve damage can vary from person to person, yet, the most common signs of nerve damage include decrease or loss in reflexes, muscle weakness, radiating or shooting pain, and numbness and tingling. Many car accident victims who’ve suffered nerve damage experience symptoms in their face, shoulder, arms, hands, legs, or feet, depending on where on their body they sustained crash-related injuries. The symptoms of nerve damage you experience after a car crash will differ according to the nature of the injury you’ve suffered. Nerve damage may resolve with treatment but can be permanent, depending on the degree of severity.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of possible nerve damage after a car crash, contact a medical professional immediately. It is always best practice to meet with a medical professional right after a car accident because even the most minor symptoms may be indicative of a bigger issue and can worsen over time if not treated immediately.
Nerve Damage Treatments
Nerve irritation or nerve damage caused by a nerve being pinched by a herniated disc can be sometimes temporary. When the inflammation of the injury goes away, those radiating types of symptoms also go away. Then again, your symptoms can result in permanent injuries that might need medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or and muscle relaxers. Treatment could also include physical therapy to try to strengthen those muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Likewise, it could include pain management like epidural steroid injections or radiofrequency ablations of certain nerves surrounding your spine. If none of those treatments work after you try all the conservative therapy and if your problems don’t go away within six months or less, then and only then do doctors talk about the need for surgery.
The type of medical treatment you receive for your nerve damage will vary depending on where the nerve damage is in your body and its severity, which is why it’s so important to get a diagnosis from a medical professional. Your personal injury claim will account for the cost of your medical bills and the cost of any future medical treatment. Long-term or permanent nerve damage that requires constant medical care will likely result in larger financial compensation.
We Can Help
A car crash can happen in an instant but result in life-long injuries. Car accident victims often have nerve damage injuries. These injuries can lead to long-term medical treatment, high medical bills, and even permanent damage. If you have recently sustained nerve damage from a car accident, there’s no need to suffer alone. It’s important that you seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our attorneys will be able to help estimate the costs of your injury so that you get compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation.