If you have sustained a motor vehicle accident injury such as a whiplash injury, then you may have experienced severe neck pain, headache, shoulder pain, and spinal pain. While these are some of the most common symptoms of a whiplash injury, they typically heal very well with proper treatment such as immobilization with a cervical collar and pain medication.
There are, however, other symptoms of whiplash that can indicate a severe or even life-threatening situation. If you develop any of the following symptoms after sustaining a whiplash or other neck injury, seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.
Loss Of Smell
A whiplash injury can damage your cranial nerves. If you have lost your sense of smell after your injury, you may have injured your olfactory cranial nerve. This is an emergency because if you are ever in a situation where there is a natural gas or chemical leak and you fail to smell it, the consequences could be grave.
While your sense of smell may improve after your whiplash injury subsides, olfactory deficits may be permanent. If your sense of smell fails to return, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of nerve and neurological disorders.
If your whiplash injury damaged or caused inflammation of your optic nerve, you may develop double vision. If not recognized and treated early on, optic nerve damage may be permanent. A severe neck injury such as whiplash can also cause bleeding behind your retina, so if you develop vision problems after your motor vehicle accident, seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.
If you are transported to the hospital emergency room, the attending physician may call in a consultant ophthalmologist, who will examine your eyes to determine if you have optic nerve or retinal damage. If your optic nerve or retina have been affected, your treatment may include surgery. Depending upon the extent and severity of your eye damage, surgical intervention may involve laser surgery or major surgery.
While double vision and other vision problems related to motor vehicle accidents typically involve the optic nerve or retina, they may be caused by brain damage which may have been sustained if you have violently hit your head on the side window or windshield. If your doctor thinks you may have sustained a brain injury, you may need to get a CT scan or other diagnostic imaging test.
If you have lost your sense of smell or have vision problems as a result of a motor vehicle accident injury, seek prompt emergency medical treatment. The sooner these problems are treated, the less likely you will be to develop permanent loss of smell or total blindness.
Contact a medical clinic that offers auto injuries and whiplash treatment for more information.
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