If you hurt your spinal cord in a car crash, you often realize it right away. The same is typically true of broken bones. The pain and motor function consequences of these injuries are obvious from the moment they occur.
However, there are severe injuries that you could suffer without realizing it for some time. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause life-altering symptoms, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will recognize the issue right away. Why do so many people fail to notice a brain injury right after a collision?
The body’s response to trauma reduces pain
It is common for people to experience a biological stress response to a car crash. One of the common physiological responses to trauma is the release of adrenaline to help you handle the situation. It also masks your feeling of pain.
Not feeling pain could help you fully someone being violent with you or a natural disaster when you have an injury. However, not noticing any pain after a car crash might mean that you don’t go to a doctor.
They don’t recognize the symptoms
A worsening headache is a potentially obvious warning sign that something is wrong with your head. However, if you feel dizziness, have difficulty falling asleep or getting out of bed, develop ringing in your ears, have slurred speech or notice a change in your overall mood, you may not immediately associate those TBI symptoms with a car crash.
They don’t understand the risk factors for a brain injury
Some people think that if they don’t hit their head on something, they don’t have to worry about a brain injury. Striking your head or suffering blunt force trauma is only one all the possible ways someone could hurt their brain.
Violent shaking or rocking motions could also cause injury to the brain, as can explosions or penetrating injuries. Collisions that occur at high speeds or that involve the vehicle flipping over or spinning may be more likely to cause a brain injury. Any crash that causes someone to lose consciousness is also a concern.