Whiplash is so common after a car accident in Texas, most people probably expect some neck and back stiffness, achiness and pain over the next few days or weeks.

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash symptoms may also include the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision and ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Depression, irritability and other mood issues

These same symptoms may also indicate a traumatic brain injury, though, and unfortunately, failing to identify a TBI for what it is can lead to severe problems. The Mayo Clinic warns that the after-effects of a TBI can lead to further brain damage.

Often, the same violent forward-and-back motion that causes whiplash also sends the brain crashing into the skull, in spite of its cushion of cerebrospinal fluid that normally protects it. When this happens, torn blood vessels can begin leaking into spaces between the brain and the skull or inside the brain itself, creating a pressure build-up, hemorrhage, stroke or another emergency that could cause secondary damage or even a fatality.

Some complications of a TBI may include post-concussion syndrome, which involves a continuation of the symptoms of a concussion for weeks or months after the injury. Similarly, post-traumatic headaches or vertigo may begin and continue days, weeks or months after the initial trauma. Second impact syndrome, though rare, is an often fatal brain swelling that occurs when someone experiences a second concussion while still recovering from the first.

Whenever a brain suffers a concussion, the levels of chemicals in the brain change. How long it takes for these to re-stabilize depends on the person and the injury. Diagnosis and proper treatment of a TBI after a car accident are critical.