The United States has over 80 fatal traffic accidents on a daily basis. That equates to over 32,000 deaths a year as a result of traffic accidents alone. Luckily, not all traffic accidents lead to fatalities, meaning that a significant number of those who are involved in traffic accidents manage to survive. Among the injuries that people suffer as a result of traffic accidents, the most common are whiplash and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to physical injuries, a large majority of the survivors of traffic accidents also end up suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
1. Whiplash from a Car Crash
Whiplash occurs when the head and the torso are thrust in opposite direction at once due to a collision. The name ‘whiplash’ is derived from the fact that the neck makes a whip-like motion, causing heavy damage to the muscles that are used to tilt or turn the head. A whiplash results in heavy neck pain and headache, which sometimes don’t necessarily occur immediately after the accident. However, even when no pain is experienced, the first thing that you need to do is to get in touch with a chiropractor for a checkup and to receive proper medical care. Treatments of whiplash include massages, ultrasound treatments, wearing a neck collar, and/ or consuming painkillers to ease the stress on the affected neck muscles.
According to chiropractors, a whiplash that is not immediately treated may result in pain that can last for years after the accident. Arthritis and premature disc degeneration as you grow older is also among the possible risks you may run in the long term should you fail to get immediate therapy after a vehicular accident.
2. Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often occurs as a result of a blow to the head or a piercing head injury, which are not uncommon in traffic accidents. These can range from a mild concussion to more severe injuries that may potentially weaken or cause damage to critical brain functions such as memory, concentration, emotional control, speech, and even vision.
If TBI goes untreated or is not treated in time, this can lead to serious long-term health complications. These complications include but are not limited to frequent headaches, forgetfulness, clumsiness, fatigue, and dizziness. In the worst cases, people can even lose their ability to speak and may also end up visually or hearing impaired. Depression is not unusual, and it can have a stagnating effect on the healing process, as it often pulls the patients in a downward spiral, especially when you wait too long to start with treatment.
3. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
In a recent publication by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), experts published their findings on a case of a man who developed a panic disorder after being involved in a car accident. This man, with no prior history of any post-traumatic stress symptoms, became agoraphobic and suffered a decreasing energy level, coupled with depression and insomnia. In the publication, the researchers explain how they treated the patient using psychotherapy.
This case study is a good example of how someone who has been involved in a car accident can still suffer from its effects long after the accident. The symptoms that accompany PSTD can, and often will remain for a very long time if they are not treated adequately, and may cause significant discomfort not only to the sufferer but to those around them as well.
Symptoms of PSTD include having flashbacks or nightmares about the accident, depression, exhaustion, feeling like one is constantly being put on an edge as well as emotional numbness.
The most common treatment for PSTD is psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing. Medication is also on the list of treatments for PSTD, although PTSD specialists seldom resort to prescribing medication if the symptoms can be cured through other means and methods.
Not unlike whiplash, symptoms may not be apparent in the first few days – sometimes even weeks after the accident. This, however, does not mean that the victim of the vehicular accident is not suffering and will not suffer from PSTD. Seeking professional help even before you start experiencing symptoms will help to ensure a quicker recovery. If you put off seeking treatment and medical care, recovery will end up being more tedious and time-consuming.
Get Therapy as Early as Possible After a Car Wreck
The three examples mentioned above clearly underline the importance of getting therapy as soon as possible after a traffic accident. Chiropractors also advise that among the first calls you ought to make after being involved in an accident is to your local chiropractors’ office to arrange for an emergency consultation. After all, you would definitely want to learn of any side effects of the accident as early as possible. Also, by doing this you drastically reduce the healing time, especially for whiplash and PSTD. Being involved in a car accident is a dramatic event by itself; do not let the long term effects of not getting immediate therapy render you additional, unnecessary discomfort.
About the Firm: Herrman & Herrman, PLLC
The faster you recover, the sooner you will be able to lead a normal, healthy lifestyle again. We serve all of South Texas, with offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, McAllen, and Brownsville. If you are worried about the medical bills for the associated medical care and treatments, you should seek legal help. You might be eligible for some kind of compensation, especially so if you were not the one who caused the accident.