West Coast Wellness

Difficulty Swallowing After a Car Accident

A common but serious symptom experienced by many individuals is difficulty swallowing after a car accident. Trauma to the head and neck regions as a result of a car accident can cause brain injury or whiplash injury and the resulting problems can include difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia. Other problems that may arise are paralysis in certain parts of the body such as the face or larynx. Often, injuries from external trauma can damage muscle tissue, skeleton, or cartilage, causing brain and nerve damage which limit certain bodily functions. While the consequences will vary depending on the type of trauma that is sustained, it can pose a series of serious health complications. Due to the neck’s lack of protective skeleton and the fact that it consists of only soft components like skin, muscles and cartilage, it is an area especially susceptible to injury. When the neck experiences external trauma, it can cause nerve, muscle or tissue damage causing difficulty swallowing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerve impulses of the larynx are damaged or disrupted. As a result, an individual may experience temporary or permanent paralysis in their vocal cords muscles, leading to impaired speech as well as the inability to speak or breathe. While vocal cords provide for the production of sound, they also serve the important function of protecting the airway to the lungs by preventing food and liquid from passing through the trachea. If a person is injured in a car accident and it results in injury to the head, neck or chest, it is possible for vocal cords to become injured, causing vocal cord paralysis.
A healthy individual’s vocal cords function to keep food and drink from entering the trachea. The vocal cord consists of two flexible muscles that are positioned at the entrance of the trachea and vibrate to make sound. When an individual is not speaking, these muscles relax and stay open, allowing for normal breathing. When a vocal cord is injured after a car accident, an individual may have difficulty swallowing, speaking or breathing. After a car accident, it is important to recognize any symptoms of vocal cord paralysis. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience hoarseness, loud breathing, loss of vocal pitch, an inability to swallow, difficulty breathing during normal talking, lack of gag reflex, an inability to speak loudly, inefficient coughing, the need to constantly clear the throat, or have a wispy and winded sounding voice.
Likewise, when the head suffers external trauma injuries to the blood vessels can lead to bleeding in various parts of the brain. Bleeding in the brain is more commonly referred to as a stroke. Many muscle and nerve functions are affected by strokes. Often, individuals who suffer from a stroke experience total or partial paralysis and consequently have problems with vital functions such as eating, chewing, swallowing, speaking, and smiling. Studies indicate that serious, long-standing dysphagia is experienced by 30 to 50 percent of individuals who suffer from a stroke.
West Coast Wellness cares about your health. If you experience difficulty swallowing after a car accident, West Coast Wellness can help you overcome your injuries and regain your health. At West Coast Wellness, Dr. Daniel Barr uses the latest state-of-the-art equipment and therapy that can fix your pain fast. Dr. Barr is an auto injury doctor that has dedicated his career to eliminating pain for his patients. Call (941) 210-3969 to discuss your treatment options and get your questions answered.
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