Why is it crucial to visit a neurologist after a road accident?

Road accidents are quite common in India with roads flooding with different types of vehicles day and night. Despite all the traffic rules and safety guidelines, people end up meeting accidents; a few claiming lives, a few leading to disabilities, while others sustaining physical injuries and trauma. Accidents are quite a traumatic experience, still, what remains ignored in the post-accident treatment and recovery is a systematic neurological treatment.     

People seek emergency care after an accident in which the physical injuries are evident, but mostly, the asymptomatic brain injuries remain ignored at the time of emergency treatment. However, a routine examination by a neurologist is a must after an accident as the victim would be examined in details by the neurologist. The specialist would analyze even the minor details, symptoms, and all the associated possibilities after an impact due to the accident. If needed, he/she might also suggest imaging tests like CT scan or MRI to further diagnose anything.     

Neurological impact during an accident :
Our nervous system comprises of central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Brain and spinal cord are the parts of central nervous system and the nerves make the peripheral nervous system connecting brain and spinal cord to different parts of the body. During an accident, due to sudden jerk, physical hit, or thrash, any part of our nervous system can sustain traumatic injury. At the time of the incident, the injury might not be noticeable but can surface later with symptoms like pain, numbness, bodily imbalance, and others.  

Symptoms of neurological injury after an accident 

  • Inability to comprehend information and past memories 
  • Irritation, anxiousness, and feeling of helplessness
  • Headache and sensitivity to light 
  • Ringing and noise in the ears
  • Bouts of nausea and vomiting 
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, feet, fingers, and toes 
  • Slurred speech 

These symptoms indicate severe neurological issue and one should never walk away without consulting a neurologist after experiencing these symptoms post-accident. 

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Delayed Symptoms 
Symptoms of neurological injury do not always appear immediately after the accident. Small clots or bleeding inside the brain may not show up at the preliminary examination of the body after an accident. Even the victim does not realize that he/she has suffered an injury due to the adrenalin rush during the accident. Also, the occurrence of the symptoms depends on the severity of the injury and your tolerance to it. That is the reason, a few of the above symptoms might appear as “delayed symptoms” and one would be able to connect to them only after a little time has lapsed. In such cases, one should not delay consulting a neurologist.   

Types of brain injury during a vehicular accident 

Apart from the damage to the nerves, the brain also suffers trauma during a road accident. No matter how safe the vehicle is, sudden brake or vehicular hit tosses the brain inside the skull causing either immediate or far-reaching neurological problems. A few types of brain trauma are listed below.

  • Concussion: It is one of the most common conditions after accident, symptomized with headache, blurry vision, confusion, mood swings etc.
  • Diffuse axonal injury: The condition can lead someone to coma as the “axons” or long connecting fibers in the brain get injured.   
  • Contusion: It happens with severe head injury at the point of impact or at the opposite side of the point of impact. The condition is associated with multiple hemorrhages or small blood vessels leakage inside the brain. It can result into coma or collapse of the person. 

What’s next? 

If you know anyone who has suffered a vehicular accident, please suggest meeting a neurologist at the earliest for a detailed neurological examination. This assessment can help detect any problem which might arise in the future as an aftermath of the accident. 

If you happen to witness an accident or be present at the site of the incident, please help the victim get immediate medical treatment. Inform their near and dear ones to ensure a neurological check-up without a miss. It will ensure that seemingly major injuries do not get concealed behind the visible physical injuries and symptoms.   

Always remember, when it is health, even a little negligence can make you repent for a lifetime.