brain injuries and car accidents

Brain Injuries and Auto Accidents

by | Nov 28, 2015 | auto accidents


One of the most common and underdiagnosed injuries from a car accident is brain trauma. These injuries are often hard to detect and take experienced doctors to diagnosis and treat these injuries. Trauma is the most important determining factor in all brain injuries, causing the majority of all cases. Many of these injuries are from direct blunt trauma to the head which can occur from airbag deployment, striking the head restraint, striking the window, colliding with other vehicle occupants, or striking any other parts of the vehicle. It’s important to note that, you don’t have to hit your head to have a brain injury. Rapid acceleration of the head can cause a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. In today’s medical environment we use the terms; traumatic brain injury (TBI), mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and post-concussion syndrome (PCS).  The methodology of injury has been debated through the literature and it has now been theorized that brain injury is more of a process than just an event. Not all brain injuries are detected on advanced imaging but that doesn’t mean that tissues haven’t been damaged. It indicates that our testing parameters aren’t yet sensitive enough to detect all of these injuries. During a whiplash trauma there is diffuse axonal injury; indicating that neurons in the brain have become damaged from the sheer force of the collision. The tissues become further damaged by vascular shunting, increase in intracranial pressure, vascular perfusion, free radicals, micro-hemorrhaging, and the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. This can lead to temporary deficits, permanent impairments, and neurologic damage.


The most common diagnosis given to brain trauma is a concussion. Concussions are graded from mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), to severe (grade 3). Several variables are identified such as loss of consciousness, transient mental confusion, and post concussive symptoms. Post-concussion symptoms vary person to person but some of the symptoms are as follows and can last anywhere from days to several years:

Light Headaches Vertigo/Dizziness
Neck Pain Headache
Photophobia- Sensitivity to Light Phonophobia- Sensitivity to Sound
Tinnitus- Ringing in the Ears Impaired Memory
Easy Distractibility Impaired Comprehension
Forgetfulness Impaired Logical Thought


Some brain injuries are immediately noticeable while others take time to manifest and develop. It takes a skilled clinician to address these issues and properly document them and treat them. If your doctor is not documenting your working memory, attention, immediate recall, delayed recall, visuomotor tracking, and cognitive flexibility then they are doing you and your case a disservice. Here at The Denver Integrated Spine Center we focus on treating car accident victims; we properly address any cognitive issues and or concerns.

Cognitive issues are very concerning for the individual as well as for close family members and friends. They will be able to see the decline in mental capacity first hand and usually before the affected individual realizes it. Brain injuries affect your job, your relationships, and your overall ability to function at a high level.   These are life altering conditions and need to be treated as such. Not all doctors are created equal in their ability to diagnosis, treat, and document your injuries. It is your doctors’ duty to be able to prove the extent of your injuries and this includes all brain injuries whether it be a TBI, mTBI, or PCS.

If you have been involved in any motor vehicle collisions or feel that your injuries were misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, please give us a call for a free consultation at 303-758-9000.

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