Understanding Types of Nerve Damage Caused by Car Accidents Injuries

car accident victim in a cervical collar after neck injuryCar accidents can result in serious injuries, but not all of the injuries are visible. Unlike cuts, lacerations, or broken bones, damage to the peripheral nerves can occur and may not be obvious. The trauma of a car accident can injure a nerve and cause permanent and life-altering results. An experienced nerve specialist can diagnose and treat car accident nerve injuries, so a person does not have to live with chronic pain and dysfunction.

Types of Car Accident Nerve Injuries

Nerves can be damaged in a car accident in several ways. The force of impact, as well as the stretching and severing of nerves, can cause damage that can be severe. Nerves that can be damaged in a car accident are:

  • Motor nerves
  • Sensory nerves
  • Autonomic nerves

Nerve damage can occur in various areas of the body, such as the back, neck, arms, legs, and feet. Some common examples of car accident injuries that cause nerve damage are:

  • Whiplash. Whiplash is a common car accident injury that causes the neck muscles to strain and stretch due to the force of impact on the head and neck in a crash. The damage and inflammation of the neck muscles can put pressure on the nearby nerves and cause them to become compressed.
  • Herniated disc. A herniated disc can be caused by whiplash or from the twisting of the body in an accident. When the disc is forced out of place, it can put pressure on the nearby nerves and cause damage.
  • Pinched or compressed nerve. A nerve can become pinched or compressed due to a car accident in several ways. When this occurs, it can cause damage to the nerve and cause a range of symptoms.

Common Signs of Nerve Damage After a Car Accident

You cannot visibly see nerve damage, so it can often go undetected until symptoms occur. With a nerve injury, symptoms can range in severity, and some may affect your daily activities. Nerve damage can have a variety of symptoms in addition to shooting or radiating pain, such as:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Impaired movement
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing

Treatment Options for Nerve Damage

Depending on your specific nerve injury and the location of the damage, you may experience a range of symptoms. Any pain or symptoms should be evaluated by a peripheral nerve specialist as soon as possible. Dr. Williams will determine what treatment options are right for you based on your specific case. Treatment options for post-traumatic pain after a car accident may consist of:

  • Medication. There are a variety of medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids that can be used to help treat pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Certain exercises can be done to help decrease pain and improve strength and mobility.
  • Nerve block. A nerve-blocking medication can be injected to relieve pain from the affected nerves.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS is done by applying a gentle electrical current to the nerve endings in order to reduce chronic pain.

If conservative treatments do not provide relief of pain and other symptoms, Dr. Williams offers various surgical procedures to reduce nerve pain due to an injury and entrapment of the peripheral nerves. What procedure is done depends on the location and cause of the pain. For example, a young patient who was a dancer had suffered a head injury in a car accident and was experiencing severe head and neck pain due to occipital neuralgia. After attempts using conservative treatments failed, Dr. Williams performed decompression surgery of the bilateral greater occipital nerves, and the patient was able to return to dancing and is living life pain-free.

Contact a Nerve Pain Specialist Today!

If you are experiencing nerve pain due to a car accident, you do not have to suffer in agony. You can contact Dr. Williams for a consultation today. Dr. Williams can design a treatment plan to fit your specific needs and relieve your pain. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.