Every day, there are thousands of motor vehicle accidents throughout the U.S., some more serious than others. Those that involve personal injury require immediate medical attention in the form of first responders or emergency room visits.
Often, however, those involved in a car accident aren’t aware that their injuries may be more serious than the initial trauma. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, there can be many times where it’s important to have yourself checked out by an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT). While you might not associate this type of doctor with treatment surrounding an auto injury, you would be surprised how many injuries go unnoticed and untreated following an accident.
Thanks to seatbelts and the deployment of airbags, many car accident victims escape injury to most areas of their bodies. The most vulnerable area in a car accident, however, is the head and neck.
Even low-speed car accidents can cause a TMJ (temporomandibular joints) injury. Typically, when a car is struck from either direction, the driver’s head is violently jerked toward the point of impact. Depending on the force of the collision, the muscles in the lower jaw experience a tremendous amount of pressure. The jaw is pulled open and places additional pressure on the sides of the skull where the jaw is attached to the upper head area.
As a result of a TMJ (or whiplash) injury, a car accident victim may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw
- An aching pain in or around the ear
- Difficulty or pain when chewing
- Facial pain
- Tinnitus, ringing or buzzing noises in the ear
Tinnitus is also a condition that can be associated with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may not be detected immediately after a car accident, but is often diagnosed weeks later. Some car accident victims who sustain TBI and tinnitus may report improvement over time, while others hardly respond to treatment. Nevertheless, since tinnitus disrupts the brain and can lead to anxiety and loss of sleep, it is a condition that requires the treatment of a qualified specialist.
Otolaryngologists (ENT doctors) are physicians specially trained in the medical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They are uniquely qualified to treat ear disorders such as hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, tinnitus, and some cranial nerve disorders that may be the result of a car accident.
An ENT doctor can also diagnose and treat problems in the head and neck area stemming from a collision, including facial trauma, deformities of the face, infections, and nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum.
What’s more, otolaryngologists don’t need to refer their patients to other physicians when ear, nose, throat, head or neck surgery is needed.
If you’ve been in a car accident, it is important to get checked out right away, rather than taking a wait and see approach. A car accident victim is often in shock for some time following an accident, so certain injuries might not produce noticeable side effects right away.
The caring doctors at Intercoastal Medical Group in Sarasota and Manatee County, Florida are specially trained to diagnose and treat any of the aftereffects. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please call us today or request an appointment online.