Accidents and Sneezing
To most people, sneezing while walking, laying in bed watching TV, and even while operating a motorized or another vehicle, is not uncommon. In some instances when a person sneezes, it is not just a tissue paper grabbing situation, but one that results in excruciating pain in their arms. Sometimes the pain is so unbearable, that can feel like a stroke to some people. In most cases, the pain one endures causes loss of function of the appendage.
Can Sneezing Arm Pain Cause Loss of Control of a Vehicle?
Seems easy enough to answer this question at first blush, but not really. When one sneezes and suffers arm pain resulting in a temporary period of blocked sensory and control ability, which usually lasts seconds, one wonders if this spontaneous reaction could lead to the loss of the supervision of a vehicle.
Think of it like this; we are looking in mirrors, touching knobs, etc. It would appear that even though sneezing can cause some people to be perhaps not able to steer, etc., the period of one second is not seemingly significant. But in some situations, it certainly could be, especially if the arm pain lasts any longer than a small second.
Is Sneezing Arm Pain “Normal?”
To determine is sneezing can place certain people at an increased risk of losing control over their moving vehicles, we must first ask, why does this pain happen at all? Is this a typical reaction, and can anything be done to prevent this pain and subsequent loss of control?
The arm pain intensity, location and time it affects the person can vary with some people having pain in the shoulders and lower arm and others having pain and numbness in the elbow. For some people, this pain lasts for the length of the sneeze, while others it dissipates within seconds. But for some individuals, the pain can last for a couple of minutes and go from the location of the arms to the hands and fingers before going away completely.
Some individuals have pain and tingling in either one or both arms, and in some cases, the pain may happen in the chest area. Pain in the arms and chest is often associated with cardiovascular disease. And this is true especially in cases where the pain radiates from the shoulder at the base of the neck and down to the fingers. Pain during or after sneezing does is not associated with cardiovascular disease, but other issues may cause the pain.
Sneezing Pain Causes
- Suppressing Sneezes: Pain in the arms can occur when a person attempts to stop a sneeze, rather than allowing it to happen.
- Back and Neck Problems: Symptoms of back and neck problems can become more pronounced while sneezing or coughing. But this is due to a weakness in the bones of the neck and back because of the involuntary reflexes that occur during a sneeze. The pressure during a sneeze can cause irritation to the nerves of bulging discs and herniated discs since they reduce the area surrounding the nerves.
- Upper Body Tension: Upper body tension increases during a sneeze using muscles and when these muscles contract after tensing it can result in strain. The body may react to the stress by producing pain in the shoulders and arms.
- Herniated Disc: Sneezing for individuals that have a herniated disc may experience shooting pain in the arms. A herniated disc happens when the spinal discs that are the bone exterior filled with a soft gel-like interior and the soft interior can swell out of the hardened surface.
- Pinched Nerve: Pinched nerves are compressed due to pressure by surrounding tissue and this or a sudden movement of the neck while sneezing can cause pain in the arms.
- Dislocated Vertebras: Vertebras are small bones in the spine that can become dislocated due to trauma such as a fracture and may cause pain in the arms during or after the individual sneezes.
The act of sneezing causes a temporary pressure on the spine. So this means neck and spinal problems with the pain traveling through these nerves. And that can result in pain in the shoulders, arms, hands, fingers and some case the chest.
Thus, post car accident victims who notice shooting pain in the arms after they sneeze, and especially in between the shoulder blades, may be suffering from a serious back injury. Conversely, people who have these above ailments and don’t know it could be suffering from this shooting pain when they sneeze. And they may not even know it is due to a more serious condition.
Stopping Pain from Sneezing
In some cases, the pain caused in the arms or shoulder can be stopped by proper medical treatment for the underlying condition. So treating your pinched nerve or herniated disc may be the answer. Getting a diagnosis from a physician is the first step. And your doctor may ask questions about the location of the pain and how long it lasts after sneezing.
The doctor may send the patient for an X-ray of the spinal cord or an MRI to identify the neck or back problem. If the problem is a pinched nerve, the physician may recommend physical therapy. Chiropractic treatments and acupuncture may also be recommended to relieve the condition.
Exercise is recommended for the person with a muscle strain. In the event the issue causing the pain is inflammation of the spinal cord or a back injury, ice and heat may be recommended. Or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed for the condition.
The question of whether or not this condition could cause a car accident is plausible. As of yet, we have not located any sources that catalog reports of sneezing and car accidents. Hypothetically speaking, if a person is suffering badly enough from this condition, he or she could be liable for negligence. But that assumes this situation leads to a pileup or crash on the freeways, tollways, or highways in the U.S.