A serious car crash can result in a variety of serious injuries to both drivers and passengers, but few are as devastating as those that affect the spine. The Mayo Clinic notes that spinal injuries can affect sensation, motor skills and strength both above and below the waist after the incident.
While the symptoms of a spinal injury may not always show themselves right away, those involved in a crash of any speed may want to remain aware of the signs that could indicate such an issue in the hours and days after the incident.
1. Muscle or nerve spasms
Not all spinal injuries result in partial or full paralysis of the extremities. Sometimes, the nerves within the spine can incur damage and cause sudden or unexpected twitching or spasming, especially during otherwise normal activities. These movements may occur more often in the evening hours when the body is more likely to process pain or injury.
2. New or worsening bladder issues
Because the spinal cord is largely responsible for bladder and bowel control, car accident victims may find that they have problems with leakage or urinary accidents. This may mean only part of the spinal cord suffered an injury, most likely in the lower part of the spine, which may weaken the bladder muscles and cause incontinence.
3. Balance problems
Individuals involved in car crashes may find they have trouble maintaining their balance while walking, turning or lifting objects. This could point to a spinal injury, especially if those affected had no trouble with balance before the accident.
Other symptoms of a spinal injury after a car wreck may include headaches, stinging sensations anywhere in the spine, and numbness. Affected individuals may want to seek treatment to avoid future complications.