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Daniel Caulfield
Daniel Caulfield, Doctor
Category: Health
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Experience:  Wide clinical experience in a variety of medical settings.
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I was recently in an auto accident (hit from behind).

Resolved Question:

I was recently in an auto accident (hit from behind). Yesterday I went to a specialist because of pain in neck, shoulder and lower back on the right side. I was experiencing pain on the left side of my lower back as well however, not as sever. The doctor had me do several physical tests and decided that I may have a disc problem on the left side. Last night I woke up from sever musicle spasms on both sides. Left leg cramp really bad, both feet where cramped up, however, the left my left pinkey toe began to move by it self, cause great pain. when I woke up this morning, I notice that I could no longer bend my left toe or the toe next to it. Can a car accident cause this (I am in excellent health)? If so, why the delayed reaction? (The car accident happend on Friday one week ago.) Could this be a pinched nerve?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Daniel Caulfield replied 6 years ago.
This is very likely to be due to the disc problem.

An intervertebral disc lesion would cause pinching of the nerve as it exits from the vertebra. This pinching can cause the kind of spasms and weakness that you are experiencing.

In fact the weakness that you are experiencing, in that you have lost motion in your toe, is quite severe. It is not uncommon for this to occur a few days after the accident, as the presure on the nerve gradually weakens it.

I would suggest that you consult a specialist for this ASAP. You should preferably consult a Neurosurgeon.

You need to be investigated further for this. You need an MRI of the cervical spine for a proper diagnosis. You may even need surgical treatment. I would suggest that you consult a doctor, preferably a neurosurgeon, for this as early as possible.


I hope my answer has been satisfactory. Please dont hesistate to ask if you need further information. Please accept my answer if you are satisfied.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Why didn't I feel the pain until after I went to the specialist? We first thought that I had a disc problem on the right side, now it would seem that I have pinched nerve on the left. Is that common or is this just a delayed reaction from the accident, that flaired up after the physical tests?
Expert:  Daniel Caulfield replied 6 years ago.
No, the physical examination will not cause the disease to flare up.

What is most likely is that the accident caused the disc lesion immediately, and subsequently due to further movement, the disc lesion also increased in severity leading to more and more nerve impairment. This is what would cause the symptoms to appear after some time. Also a disc lesion on the right usually means that there is some amount of lesion on the left as well, hence your pinched nerve might appear on the left.

All in all, the history that you describe is quite typical of a nerve impairment due to a disc lesion caused by an accident.


I hope my answer has been satisfactory. Please dont hesistate to ask if you need further information. Please accept my answer if you are satisfied.
Daniel Caulfield, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience: Wide clinical experience in a variety of medical settings.
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Daniel Caulfield
Daniel Caulfield
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Wide clinical experience in a variety of medical settings.