Car Accident Head Trauma
Car Accident Head Trauma
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. For people involved in a car accident, it is not unusual for the head to strike the dashboard, steering wheel, or the headrest. The force associated with this blow can cause a concussion. A concussion is any type of head injury that involves the brain striking the skull. The force does not need to force a loss of consciousness for a concussion diagnosis; however, loss of consciousness may occur. While the recovery time from concussions can vary from minutes to even days or weeks, between 10-20% of people can go on to develop post concussion syndrome, where symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years.
What Happens when the Head Strikes a Stationary Object?
In some car accidents, the vehicle comes to a sudden stop when it strikes another car or stationary object. In other car accidents, the vehicle may be stationary when it is struck by another moving vehicle. Both of these scenarios involve sudden changes in both the speed and direction of movement. The neck muscles cannot handle the sudden change in speed and direction, thus the head moves uncontrollably in on top of the neck. This is when the head strikes the steering wheel, dashboard, or headrest. When this happens, the skull stops instantly, but the brain keeps moving in the skull compartment and strikes the bone. This causes the concussion.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
Symptoms of concussions include, headaches, irritability, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, trouble focusing, and intolerance of lights and noises. When these symptoms persist for days to weeks after a concussion, the diagnosis of post concussion syndrome is made. It’s not clear why some people progress to this syndrome and not others, but elderly individuals and females develop post concussion syndrome at a higher rate than their younger or male counterparts. Symptoms will vary from individual to individual. Headaches are the most common symptom, with patients experiencing repetitive tension-type headaches, or muscle tightness in a band around the head. It is also common for patients to have significant emotional changes, such as irritability. Many patients report trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, or even amnesia.
Diagnosis of Post Concussion Syndrome
The diagnosis of post concussion syndrome is based on a clinical assessment of the severity of the symptoms. Doctors may order a CT scan to make sure that the patient hasn’t suffered stroke or brain bleed.
Treating Symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome
There is no specific treatment of post concussion syndrome. Instead, the doctor will focus on treating the symptoms while the post concussion syndrome resolves itself. Treatment is conservative at first, using light medications to treat the headache. Many patients find that their trouble sleeping and irritability will resolve once the headaches go away. The doctor will start with medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen before working up to stronger, prescription drugs. If trouble sleeping and irritability persist with headache treatments, the doctor may prescribe anti-depressants, such as Sertraline or Amitriptyline, or sleep aids, such as Trazodone. There is no medication to treat amnesia but this will resolve when the syndrome subsides. The length of the syndrome varies for each person and is not related to the severity of the initial concussion.
Sacramento Car Accident & Post Concussion Syndrome Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a car accident, please call me anytime at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400 for fast, free and friendly advice.
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