After a car accident, many accident victims can expect to suffer from a variety of ailments including sore, stiff and/or achy neck and back muscles. What accident victims may not be aware is that neck and back injuries are oftentimes accompanied by headaches. It is commonplace for accident victims not to be terribly concerned about their headaches as they believe the headaches will simply “go away” without medical treatment– this is poor assumption.
During a car accident (especially a rear-end and side collisions), an accident victim’s head is violently “whipped” violently forward then backward. This movement places significant stress (trauma) on the muscles and tendons that make up the cervical spine (the section of the spine that rotates, flexes, and extends the neck and support the head). Accident victims can also exhibit chronic and debilitating headaches even in relatively low-impact crashes.
Within hours (or sometimes days) of an accident, the victim may experience dull, aching head pain, tightness and/or pressure across the forehead, tightness and pressure in the back of the skull, pressure behind the eyes and/or tenderness in the neck. These headaches can last for days or even weeks or months.
In severe instances, the accident victim can exhibit loss of memory, dizziness, confusion, blind spots, slurred speech, vomiting and black outs. These signs could be indicative of a closed-head injury and require immediate medical attention.
In cases where the accident victim suffers a blow to the head (i.e. hits head on steering wheel or door) and especially when the accident victim is symptomatic for a concussion (see above), the accident victim should immediately seek emergency medical attention for a potentially closed-head injury.
Remember, a headache is often a tell-tale sign that a larger problem looms as the pain is usually a byproduct of soft tissue damage to the ligaments and muscles of the neck and may involve cervical disc damage and possibly nerve root compression. Accident victims oftentimes benefit from chiropractic treatment to realign the spine and alleviate the pressure. The chiropractor can also help diagnose the cause of the headache and determine if a more serious issue (i.e. herniated disc, nerve root compression) exists. Other doctors that treat headaches following a car accident are neurologists, neurosurgeons and physiatrists.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help recommend doctors in your area that specialize in the treatment of headaches. We can also discuss how you will pay the doctor through your PIP coverage, major medical or on a letter of protection (LOP). We will seek to get you compensated for you past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages and past and future pain and suffering.