Whiplash is sometimes derided as a fake injury in which mild neck discomfort is used as the basis of a fraudulent claim. However, whiplash can be caused by any of a number of neck injuries suffered in a car accident. Some can cause excruciating and debilitating pain. Other neck injuries can be life changing if they involve nerve damage. Among the worst outcomes of whiplash is a stroke. A stroke can impair any of a number of mental or physical functions, depending on the affected area of the brain.
The Connection Between Whiplash and Stroke
Car accident collisions can cause violent motions of the head, which in turn, cause injury to the neck. If either the carotid or vertebral arteries is damaged, a blood clot can form that may detach and make its way into the brain where it lodges. This prevents blood from reaching the brain area downstream of the clot and causes brain tissue death.
Hyperextension of the neck from an accident can cause the inner lining of either the carotid or vertebral arteries to tear away from the middle layer of the artery wall. Although the artery wall hasn't ruptured, the separated inner lining is enough to cause clot formation, which then endangers the brain. Both the carotid and vertebral arteries are major blood suppliers of the brain. This artery wall lining separation is called carotid or vertebral dissection.
Symptoms of Carotid and Vertebral Dissection
Stroke from neck artery dissection usually doesn't occur until hours or days after the initial injury. This is why a prompt examination by a doctor after a whiplash incident is vital. By telling the doctor your precise symptoms, she or he should recognize the symptoms of neck arterial dissection, do the necessary tests for verification, and provide treatment. Such timely intervention can prevent a stroke. If you feel any of the following symptoms of neck arterial dissection, see a doctor immediately:
- Neck and/or face pain around the eyes
- Vision problems
- Droopy eyelid
- Whooshing sound in your head or ear
- Swallowing problems
- Decrease in the sense of taste
This type of stroke can happen in young people because it has nothing to do with plaque buildup in the arteries that causes stroke in older adults. Finally, this condition usually affects people with an inherited genetic abnormality that makes them more prone to artery dissection.
If another's negligent driving injured you in an accident, get legal advice from an experienced Alaska car accident attorney. For a free consultation, contact us.