Can a car accident cause a pinched nerve?
One of the most common car accident injuries are pinched nerves. While pinched nerves might not be a serious injury for most, it can be very painful for others. There are also reports of people who have experience nerve damage that has lasted months or even years. Other reports show a lifetime of pain due to pinched nerve damage due to a car accident.
Patients often ask if their nerve damage is due to their automobile accident. Oftentimes, there is very little information available about the damages to nerves and muscles from car accident injuries. We will attempt to explain some of the challenges with pinched nerves due to car accidents. But remember, not all injuries are the same and everyone handles injuries in a different way. There are many factors involved including age, sex, weight, direction of impact and more.
What is a pinched nerve?
The general description of a pinched nerve is when excessive or intense pressure is applied to a specific area or nerve. This pressure can be applied in a number of ways, generally from surrounding tendons, muscles or bones. Pinched nerves damage the body’s ability to function properly causing numbness, lack of motion and pain.
Nerves run throughout the body and can be damaged in a variety of ways. Common Car Accident injuries often involve damage to the spinal column, which can increase pressure on the nerves. Spinal nerve damage can cause pain or numbness in the back or legs. Pinched nerves come in a number of different forms, from severely debilitating to mildly uncomfortable.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have noticeable nerve pain after a Car Accident. Pinched nerves may be the sign of more severe injuries. If you cannot see an Accident Doctor right away, then we suggest seeking medical treatment within 72 hours.
Nerves and how they function, in simple terms
Nerves are like an interstate of information running throughout your body. All of these interstates run down your back and up to your brain with surface roads branching out at every mile marker. Sometimes, there is a car accident on the interstate system. This blocks traffic from getting off to the surface roads. Remember that traffic accident that blocked all the traffic from getting to the surface roads? That would be a common example of pinched nerves.
Pinched nerves are when undue pressure or compression is placed on the nerve. Remember when you were a child and you pinch the water hose to cut to the water supply, the hose is your nerve, the water is the information being carried to and from your brain. Maybe not the best example, but it was meant as a simple explanation.
This could be caused by a car accident and injuries to your neck or spine. The nerves that control your hands, feet and muscles could be partially blocked. This stops the signals from being received and sent to your brain. It is possible to have the communication cut off completely. This could be caused from deep cuts that sever the nerves.
Do Pinched Nerves need medical treatment?
There are many different events that can cause nerve damage. And, yes, an auto accident can cause these types of injuries. Another common example that doesn’t relate to car accidents is carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is a pinched nerve in the wrist area that can lead to pain and/or numbness in the hands or fingers.
It doesn’t matter if the car accident was a mild fender bender or a serious rear end collision. Many patients don’t believe that their injuries could be due to a car accident. Or, they believe that their pain doesn’t justify a trip to see an Accident Doctor. Most people who have experience a pinched nerve got it from a mild to medium impact car accident.
Types of Nerve damage from a car accident
Pinched nerves aren’t the only type of damage that you can get from a car accident or any other serious injury. There are other types that you should also know about. This way you can compare your symptoms to those of others.
- You can get a pinched nerve from whiplash. Whiplash is the most common rear end collision injury. Whiplash can cause a pinched nerve that may lead to unnecessary surgeries or long term pain in left untreated.
- A deep laceration can also cause serious nerve damage. This might be because the laceration was so deep that it cut through the nerve. This can be cause permanent damage if you don’t get the right treatment fast. This is an injury that needs to be treated immediately.
- Blood force trauma. If any part of your body hit a hard surface, it can cause this type of damage. It can cause nerves to be pinched or stretched and can take a substantial amount of time to fully heal.
Symptoms of pinched Nerves
- Prickling sensations
- Burning or “hot and cold” sensations
- Decreased sensation or numbness in pinched nerve area
- Greater sensitivity of the skin when in contact with colder or warmer temperature
- Loss of use of arms, legs, fingers or toes
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
- Radiating pain through the neck or lower back
- Sharp, aching or burning pain, which may radiate outward
- Shooting pain through the leg or foot
- Shooting pain through the shoulder or arm
- Skin or limb numbness or tingling
- The feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”
- Tingling and pins-and-needles sensations
- Twitching of muscles
- Uncontrolled muscle movements
- Weakness or pain in their muscles
- Limbs that are feeling numb or not normal
- Total or partial paralysis of the arm or leg
- Uncontrollable muscle movement
It is important to make sure that you know what the signs are. This is the only way that you can know if you have symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These are some of the signs and symptoms of a pinched or damaged nerve.
Working after car accident Nerve Damage?
As with most car wreck injuries, normal day and work routines can be complicated by pinched nerves. Car accidents can cause a variety of different types of injuries, the most common is whiplash. Whiplash is the sudden, forceful movement of your neck in a back and forth motion. This can cause tendons, ligaments, and muscles to move beyond their range of motion, pinching and damaging the nerves. Pinched nerves may also make it difficult to sleep at night.
We do not recommend any strenuous work activities until you have been seen by a qualified Accident Doctor. Other activities to avoid include strenuous workouts, weight training or lifting heavy items, stretching beyond normal limits and over exhaustion.
Will I need surgery for a Pinched Nerve?
Generally, we find that most patients begin recovery within days or even weeks of the Automobile Accident. However, there have been cases of surgery to help relieve the pain associated with pinched nerves.
Immediate treatment of your Pinched Nerve damage will help reduce recovery time and pain. Additionally, you will often require fewer and less frequent treatments. As a general rule, the sooner you can identify and treat the injury, the better chances you have for a full and pain free recovery.
Many people mistakenly believe that this isn’t serious and that you don’t need medical attention. This could not be further from the truth. Left untreated, it can lead to lifelong pain and unnecessary surgeries.
How to Treat Pinched Nerves from auto accidents
Physical therapy and chiropractic care
Chiropractic care and physical therapy use hands on treatment and specialized exercises designed to strengthen and alleviate pressure. Hot and Cold Therapy-alternating between cold and hot therapy with heating pads and ice packs-may bring temporary relief to the affected area. The relief may also come from reduced swelling.
Deep therapeutic massage can encourage blood flow while inducing relaxation. As mentioned before, pinched nerves restrict the flow of energy in the body. Therapeutic massage can help encourage healing and increase circulation.
Acupuncture is commonly used as a conservative treatment for compressed or pinched nerves. It uses specialized needles on the muscles.
Anti-Inflammatory medications can help you deal with the pain, inflammation, and swelling. They won’t provide a long-term cure, but can help with temporary relief.
Steroid injections are designed to give immediate pain relief. However, steroid injections would not be considered a long-term solution but more for short term relief. The steroids may also help reduce inflammation.
Resting and taking it easy can help with the healing process after a serious car accident. Oftentimes, pinched nerve injuries are the result of compression or increased pressure. Rest and relaxation may help to decompress the injured areas, which may reduce swelling, tension and pain.
In most cases, therapy from a chiropractor or physical therapist are sufficient treatment due to auto accident injuries. There are rare cases that require a bit more medical care such as a severed nerve, which may require surgery. If you have been injured in auto accident and need a doctor who can treat pinched nerves, search our database. If we do not have an accident doctor in your area, contact us, and we will help you find one.
Where does nerve damage generally occur in car accidents?
- Cervical Spine – A pinched nerve in your neck could cause pain all the way down your body, reaching to your toes.
The cervical spine, because it runs from your neck all the way down your back would be the most common area that you would have a pinched nerve after a car accident. Your cervical spine controls many things. A pinched nerve in your spine could cause long term issues if left untreated.
- Sciatic – Generally back and leg pain or numbness. You may feel a tingling sensation or hot/cold flashes on the skin or muscles.
- Peroneal– lower leg and calf pain, could cause foot drop. Oftentimes associated with lack of motion or numbness.
Numbness and Tingling sensations in Hands
Pinched nerves could be the result of car accident injuries. Your spinal cord has nerves running from one end to the other. These nerves can be pinched in an accident by compression of the spine, ligaments or other tissues in the neck and back. This compression basically cuts off signals from your brain to other functions of your body, such as your hands and arms. The symptoms that come with it may make it difficult to sleep at night, perform normal daily functions and cause pain.
A pinched nerve , can make the affected area have a numbness feeling. If you have a tingling sensation in your hands or numbness you are in need of seeing a doctor right away. In auto accidents, a tingling sensation is usually caused by the compression of a nerve.
Some final information about pinched nerves due to a car accident
Pinched nerves are mostly because of some sort of incident, accident, or sports injury. It can be because of something mild like whiplash, or it can be something serious where your nerve was severed because of a deep laceration.
The sooner you get the right treatment, the less chance you have of pain and suffering in the long term. Too many people believe it isn’t serious and they don’t consider going in for the right treatment. However, the longer you wait, the more serious it can get. When you have any of the symptoms mentioned, you should make an appointment with a doctor. They may send you to a specialty Doctor for further treatment if needed.
Nerve damage can be caused by a car accident. And, the scary part is that even a minor car accident can cause lasting pain.
This is one of the most common vehicle crash injuries that patients suffer from months after an accident. It is essential that you are getting as much information as possible so that you know when you have the symptoms of a pinched nerve, and what you should do in order to get the right treatment.
It’s important to see a doctor after you have been injured in a car accident before these symptoms start. However, if it’s in your hands it could be caused from whiplash, or by a herniated disk. You won’t know what kind of injury you have sustained until you go see an accident doctor. Make sure after the accident, you see a doctor first. You need your injury documented by a doctor. Delay or gap in medical care is one of the reasons an insurance company might not pay you for tingling sensation in your hands.