When two or more motor vehicles collide, the end result is often messy, horrifying injuries. People could lose limbs or experience traumatic crushing injuries that leave them unable to exit the vehicle. Those who appear to not have any dramatic, visible injuries could feel grateful just to walk away from the crash. However, they could be overlooking one of the most common and often overlooked injuries related to crashes.
In the immediate wake of a collision, adrenaline can keep you from noticing pain and other symptoms of injury. Combine that with the fact that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often worsen over time, and you could easily ignore a life-altering injury for several days or even longer. That's why you need to know what signs and symptoms to watch for when it comes to TBIs.
Any blow to the head or violent shaking is a risk factor
You probably already know that hitting your head on something or having something strike your head could cause a TBI. Any situation that results in blunt force trauma to the head could produce a TBI. Whether you get hit by flying debris or strike your head on a window or the steering wheel, hitting your head it a sign that you need to seek immediate medical evaluation.
Hitting your head isn't the only way to injure your brain, however. It's also possible to suffer a TBI when your vehicle rolls, spins or shakes violently. Any motion that causes rapid shaking of your head could cause bruising and swelling of the brain, leading to a TBI and worsening symptoms.
Finally, penetrating injuries causes by flying debris could also cause a TBI. If you have any reason to believe you hit your head, got shaken up or lost consciousness, you should seek medical attention to determine if you suffered a brain injury.
Watch for other symptoms after the crash
If you didn't seek medical care or there was only a cursory examination of your head performed, you should watch for symptoms of a potential TBI in the days and weeks following the crash. You should seek medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- issues with sleeping (sleeping too much or struggling to fall asleep)
- problems with balance
- difficulty with memory (recalling old information or making new memories)
- feeling dazed or disoriented
- issues with your senses, like ringing ears or blurry vision
- changes in mood or personality
- ongoing or worsening headaches
- chronic nausea or vomiting
There are other symptoms as well, and you should make a point of tracking any unusual symptoms you experience in the days after a car crash. Early treatment and intervention can improve the prognosis for those suffering a TBI related to a traumatic injury, like a car crash.