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Treatment for Concussion After a Car Accident

Treatment for Concussion After a Car Accident

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) led to approximately 223,000 hospitalizations in 2018, and in 2019, there were an average of 166 deaths per day from a TBI. Car crashes are responsible for 14.1% of TBIs in the U.S. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury, and while it is not life-threatening, it is still a serious injury.

If you sustained a suspected concussion from a car accident, you must seek immediate medical care and follow the recommended post-concussion recovery measures to reduce the likelihood of complications.

What Is a Concussion?

Like other TBIs, a concussion is a brain injury. When you have one, you temporarily lose some of your brain functions. For most people, recovery takes anywhere from two to three weeks. Concussions are the result of a blow to the head.

What is a Concussion

In a car accident, people often hit their heads on the windshield, dash, or seat with sufficient force to cause a concussion. You may even hit the airbag with enough intensity to cause a brain injury. However, you don’t need to hit your head to get a mild TBI. A powerful jolt of the upper body that causes your head to jerk hard in one direction can also lead to a concussion.

The force of impact causes the blood vessels and nerves in the brain to stretch and bruise. This damage leads to chemical changes within the brain, altering how this vital organ functions. Generally, people who get a concussion do not experience permanent damage, but repeated injuries can lead to long-term structural changes.

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Understanding concussion symptoms is vital in ensuring you get the care you need to make a complete and speedy recovery. While signs and symptoms often appear immediately after the collision, they don’t always. It may take hours for some individuals to experience the tell-tale signs of a concussion.

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion

It’s important to note that not everyone gets the same symptoms. Furthermore, symptoms can evolve and change over time. You may not initially recognize a problem, and if the symptoms are mild, you may not notice how they impact your daily life.

If you had a car accident that resulted in whiplash or a blow to the head, it might be good to seek medical attention and get a physical exam to determine whether you have a brain injury so you can get proper concussion treatment. A mild concussion can impact your physical and emotional well-being, cognition, and sleep.

Physical Symptoms of a Concussion

Frequently, the initial and most persistent physical symptom is a headache. You may feel pain at the site of the blow, or it may hurt on the opposite side. A concussion headache can range from mild to severe.

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Mild to severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Lethargy or feeling tired
  • Noise or light sensitivities
  • Vision problems
  • Nausea or vomiting

If any of your physical symptoms worsen over time, you have slurry speech, one of your pupils dilates more than the other, you start to lose consciousness, or you have a seizure, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Call 9-1-1 or have someone take you to the emergency room.

Emotional Symptoms

If you have a concussion from a car accident, you may notice differences in your emotional state. You may feel anxious and nervous, and you may find that it does not take much to make you angry. Feelings of irritability or sadness are also not uncommon.

Many people who have concussions are often more emotional than usual. These symptoms don’t always appear right away, so they can be confusing and disturbing for the person who has them and others around them.

Cognitive Symptoms

Concussions alter how you think. It isn’t unusual for a person with a concussion to experience memory problems and temporary amnesia surrounding the time immediately before and after the accident.

Cognitive symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Grogginess
  • Feeling foggy
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Inability to think clearly

When you have a concussion, engaging in mental activities may make your head hurt or tire you out.

Sleep Symptoms

A brain injury often results in changes to the individual’s sleep cycle. You may notice that you sleep more or less than is normal for you, or you may have trouble falling asleep. Immediately after your accident, your initial treatment for a concussion may include making sure you stay awake so you and others around you can monitor your condition.

What Are the Potential Complications of a Concussion?

While doctors describe a concussion as a mild traumatic brain injury, the condition is still serious. Though most people recover from a majority of their symptoms within two to three weeks, some issues may last longer. In addition, there is the potential for complications from a concussion.

What Are the Potential Complications of a Concussion

Those who have a concussion may have headaches that persist for more than a week or vertigo that lasts for weeks or months. If you had previous concussions, you are at risk for long-term or permanent structural damage. One of the primary concerns for people with concussions is the potential for developing post-concussive syndrome.

Post-Concussive Syndrome

While 90% of those with concussions recover within three weeks, the remaining 10% develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). PCS occurs when concussion symptoms persist longer than three weeks. What are the symptoms of concussion that show up in PCS? Generally, any of the initial symptoms can appear in post-concussive syndrome.

However, some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

PCS can have long-term impacts on learning, cognition, memory, and executive functions.

What Are the Treatment Options for a Concussion From a Car Accident?

If you suspect that you have a concussion, you may want to schedule an appointment with a doctor right away. A qualified physician specializing in auto accident injuries can diagnose your condition and ensure that you do not have a more serious injury. The doctor also recommends a treatment plan for concussion management based on your specific symptoms, the severity of your injury, and your daily living activities.

Getting the Rest You Need

To help your brain heal, it is essential that you refrain from activities that require concentration, focus and thinking in the first few days after your car accident. Avoiding screens is usually a good idea during this time.

You also do not want to engage in physical activities that increase your symptoms. You do not need complete bed rest, avoiding any stimuli. Indeed, engaging in some activities can promote healing.

Increasing Your Physical Activity Level Slowly

After a few days of limited activity, your health care provider may recommend that you gradually increase your activity level. You may be able to incorporate some screen time into your day. However, you should avoid any mental activity that triggers your symptoms and rest whenever your symptoms appear.

Physical Therapist in NY

Light exercise may speed up your recovery time, but it’s essential to start slow and stop when symptoms develop or worsen.

During this phase of your recovery, your physician may suggest additional options for treatment for concussion symptoms to promote healing.

These options may include:

  • Physical therapy: Addresses balance and coordination issues
  • Chiropractic care: Realigns the cervical spine, improve blood flow to the brain, and improve headaches
  • Cognitive rehabilitation: Improves memory and cognition issues
  • Vision therapy: Retrains your ocular system
  • Medications: Reduces pain and swelling

You may also need to gradually increase how much time you spend at work or school. Paying attention to your symptoms and your body is essential during this time. If you push yourself too hard, your recovery may take longer.

Returning to Your Normal Activities

As your symptoms disappear, you can continue to increase your activity levels. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to resume your normal day-to-day activities, including vigorous exercise and sports. Your health care provider may tell you to delay participating in anything that increases your risk of another head injury.

Treating PCS

If you continue to experience symptoms for more than three months, ask your physician, “What are the symptoms of a concussion that persist the longest?”

Your doctor may conduct additional tests to ensure that you do not have any underlying causes for long-lasting symptoms. If you have PCS, some of your symptoms likely improved while others continued. The treatment you need depends on the issues you still have.

Potential treatment options for PCS include:

  • Physical rehabilitation therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy, and neuro-optometric rehabilitation
  • Mental health therapies such as psychological counseling, psychiatry, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation
  • Cognitive therapies such as cognitive rehabilitation therapy and neuropsychology

Each of these treatment options requires you to see a qualified specialist in the field. When you need help locating a practitioner in your area, Injured Call Today can help.

Where Can You Find the Help You Need for Your Concussion?

Concussion Doctor

Finding the right specialist for a concussion from a car accident is often overwhelming. At Injured Call Today, we understand the challenges of finding the care you need. We make it easier. Our free, innovative search tool helps you locate a highly qualified professional who provides the services you require for concussion diagnosis and treatment.

You can search for a doctor in New York or New Jersey and book an appointment online. Doctors accept no-fault insurance, PIP (Personal Injury Protection), workers’ compensation, medical liens, and other health insurance plans. If you have any questions, please call us at (800) 897-8440 or use our online form.