Whiplash is a common motor vehicle accident injury. When your head and neck are forcefully jerked in a back and forth or side to side motion, severe pain is often the result. While pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion are the most common symptoms of a neck injury, there are other, less common symptoms of whiplash and other neck injuries. Here are three unusual manifestations of a neck injury caused by a motor vehicle accident and what you can do about them:
If you experience blurred, double, dim, or decreased vision after hurting your neck in a car accident, you may have sustained damage to one of the cranial nerves known as the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is damaged or temporary inflamed, visual disturbances are often present.
While visual problems often resolve once inflammation has subsided, they may be longstanding or even permanent. Chiropractic intervention such as therapeutic massage or spinal manipulation may help ease neck pain while dampening inflammation, which may help improve your vision. If you develop problems with your eyes after sustaining a neck injury, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Taste And Smell Disorders
Other rare symptoms of neck injuries include impairment of taste and smell. Neck trauma can damage your olfactory and glossopharyngeal nerves, the cranial nerves involved with your senses of taste and smell. If these nerves become damaged or inflamed, you may experience a loss of taste and smell, or experience metallic, salty, sour, or bitter tastes in your mouth.
If alterations in your perception of taste and smell persist long after your neck injury heals, your primary care doctor may refer you to a neurologist for evaluation and treatment. It can take months or even years before damaged cranial nerves regenerate themselves; however, conservative treatments such as taking certain dietary supplements such as magnesium and vitamin C may help promote healing and enhance neurological health.
Neck injuries are often closely related to spinal cord injuries. If your neck injury is severe enough, the spinal cord may have sustained injury or inflammation which can affect the structures that innervate your bladder and bowels.
When this happens, urinary and fecal incontinence can develop, as can severe constipation and urinary retention. If you notice a change in your pattern of elimination after a motor vehicle accident, see your doctor as soon as possible. You may need to be evaluated by a neurologist, urologist, or gastroenterologist to determine the cause and extent of your bowel and bladder problems.
If you sustain a neck injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident and develop any of the above conditions, see your doctor right away. The sooner the source of your symptoms is determined, the sooner an effective treatment plan can be implemented so that the healing process can begin.