During a car accident, the force of impact can affect many parts of your body. Even in minor accidents at a slow speed, the body can still be subject to a significant amount of force. This can lead to immediate pain and discomfort or cause some symptoms to appear over time.
Head and neck injuries, including jaw pain and ear issues, can manifest well after initially seeking medical care. Jaw pain and ear issues, such as ringing noises or trouble hearing, could be indicative of a more serious health problem. That is why it is important to understand what causes jaw and ear pain after a vehicle accident, how it affects your work and home life, and how it can be treated.
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What Causes Jaw Pain After a Vehicle Accident?
The jaw or mandible goes well past the chin. The hinge of the jaw starts at the cranium, right in front of your outer ear. This allows for complex movement and the exertion of a great amount of force when biting or chewing.
Since the jaw muscles can do many different things, they are fragile in some ways. When there is stress on the jaw muscles, daily normal activities such as eating, talking or sleeping can be disrupted. When the muscles or ligaments around your jaw are impaired, it is known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder is named after the joint that connects your jaw to your skull.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Severe pain in the joint
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw
- Trouble or pain while chewing
- Aching ear and facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it hard to open or close your mouth
TMJ disorders often happen when there is a significant impact on the neck or skull area. For instance, if you hit your head against the dashboard or another part of the vehicle in an accident, your jaw muscles may be affected. The sudden impact of a vehicle accident can cause a jerking movement that often leads to whiplash injuries but may also cause TMJ symptoms that require treatment.
Even a sprained joint or a broken jawbone could be indicative of a traumatic brain injury or another severe injury to the brain or skull. Many jaw disorders do not resolve on their own since the jaw muscles are continuously used, which is why it is important to not ignore jaw pain after a vehicle accident.
What Causes Ear Pain After a Vehicle Accident?
Your inner ear is also a fragile and complex part of the skull. Force and pressure can cause damage to the ear, including changes in air pressure or cabin shape. During a vehicle accident, any flying debris can cause a blow to the ear or other conditions can cause intense pressure that damages the ear canal.
Common symptoms of an ear injury include:
- Trouble hearing
- Ringing in the ears
- Ears feeling clogged
- Severe pain
Any ear issues after a vehicle accident could indicate whiplash or some other serious injury that requires immediate medical care. For instance, bleeding or fluid discharge from the ear canal may indicate a skull fracture or a spinal injury. Ear pain if left untreated can lead to more severe health problems.
How Jaw and Ear Pain Affects Work and Home Life
Jaw and ear pain can inhibit or prevent you from returning to work. The constant pain can make it difficult to sleep and concentrate. Pain medication often prescribed for TMJ disorders can also cause difficulty thinking and concentrating on performing your work-related tasks. For instance, jaw and ear pain could render you unable to speak to others or use the phone if your job requires it.
If you have a jaw disorder, you will likely also have difficulty eating or swallowing. You may need to work with a specialist to regain mobility in your jaw. When simple day-to-day activities such as eating and speaking are affected, it can be harder to do regular household chores and caregiving duties. This includes brushing your teeth if you experience severe pain opening your mouth due to TMJ disorder.
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears can also impact daily life and your ability to interact with others. Jaw and ear pain can cause physical as well as mental and emotional pain and suffering.
Importance of Seeing a Doctor for Jaw and Ear Pain
All injuries that result from a vehicle accident should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Certain types of injuries, such as jaw and ear pain, may not become immediately apparent but can worsen over time if you delay or fail to obtain treatment at all. That is why it is important to seek immediate medical care to identify any potentially serious issues and begin treatment.
Aside from protecting your well-being, getting a diagnosis and following your doctor’s treatment plan can also preserve your potential claim for compensation. The insurance company will have a harder time trying to dispute your injuries if they are documented in your medical records. Delaying medical care could be used as an excuse by the insurance company to devalue or deny your claim.
Injured in a Vehicle Accident? Contact Our Firm Today
An experienced vehicle accident lawyer in Windsor is ready to discuss your rights and legal options in a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation. You may be eligible to pursue significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering after being seriously injured in a vehicle accident.
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