Memory Loss After a Car Accident or Other Head Injury


Traumatic brain injury will always have a special place in my heart because of my past with concussions. Traumatic Brain Injuries are all so different. It could come from a small bump on the head or a major auto accident. The traumatic event can vary greatly, but lead to the same detrimental symptoms. Memory loss after a car accident or any other head injury is probably the most common complaint.

Memory Loss

Did you know there are different types of memory loss that can affect you after a head injury? You have anterograde amnesia, retrograde amnesia, post-traumatic amnesia, short-term memory loss, and long-term memory loss. The type of memory loss aka the type of amnesia you have will vary from person to person. Normally short term vs long term will be based on if you had a mild concussion or head injury vs a moderate to severe concussion or head injury. However, even the force of the head hit doesn’t guarantee it. I’ve seen mild head injuries cause some of the worst memory issues, so don’t blow off your injury regardless of how mild it is. In the world of brain injuries, your type of injury rarely matters in triggering symptoms.

A tree that has red and orange leaves that outline a persons face and head. It shows leaves flying away from the head region depicting the memory loss that happens after a head injury.
Anterograde Amnesia

This type of amnesia makes it hard or impossible for you to form new memories. Extreme injuries can render this a permanent thing (remember the movie 50 First Dates!). Fortunately, most head injuries don’t result in an extreme case but mild cases are very common. (An example would be the inability to remember what you had for breakfast this morning.)

Retrograde Amnesia

This type of amnesia is where you are unable to remember something that happened in the past before the injury occurred. This type of amnesia generally will affect the most recently stored memories and spare your older memories. For example, a lot of people will forget the week before the concussion (in severe cases they will lose a larger range of time).

Post-Traumatic Amnesia

This type of amnesia is a short state of altered brain function causing a temporary memory loss. It is most common after a severe traumatic head injury. This normally happens after the injury rendered you unconscious and upon waking up you may say and do things that are unlike you. Some have behavioral episodes ie attacking someone when before the injury you were the sweetest person. Fortunately, this type of amnesia is only for a short period of time.

Short Term Memory Loss

This is the most common type of memory loss that affects people with head injuries the most. This is your more simple type of memory. Before your head injury, someone could have given you their phone number and you could remember it for a few minutes or hours after they recited it. However, post head injury someone could recite their phone number and you forget the numbers they said as you are physically writing it down. This type of memory loss can be very frustrating and depending on your job can be very detrimental to your work. This type of memory is the one that people know most. “Oh man I’m so forgetful today”

Long Term Memory Loss

This type of memory loss is common in more severe types of head injuries and normally is short-lived. This affects information that has been stored in your memory for a decent amount of time. Your phone number, how to get to your house, how to wash your laundry, etc. Normally this is seen in the first couple of days after a traumatic injury, which is why they always encourage you to have family members around to support you. In rare cases, this can become a more permanent situation.

What To Do?

Seek Out Legal Help

Most car accident victims have already sought out their free consultation with an attorney to help cover their medical expenses. Depending on the type of accident you had the medical bills can definitely stack up quickly. Hopefully, you have an insurance company that is good and is helping with these costs, but a lot of insurance companies sadly fight you in this process. This is why getting legal advice to help you through this process is beneficial. You are going to want financial compensation because it will take time and a lot of money to help get your brain back to where it was before your injury. There are a lot of personal injury attorneys out there, so make sure you find one that truly has your best interest in mind and isn’t just looking for the money from another personal injury claim. The legal process can be daunting so find a law firm that will make this process easier on you!

Medical Care

If you were in a car accident and showed memory loss more than likely you already received immediate medical attention. That medical treatment probably consisted of a ct scan of your brain and a work up from the medical professionals over your case.  Your managing doctor’s treatment plan was probably to take it easy, get some rest, and avoid stimulating factors (lights, sounds, etc). You were probably given a pamphlet that talks about how crash victims will have loss of memory, light sensitivity, and headaches but that this will only last for 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, with modern medicine, they really don’t address what to do if you aren’t back to your daily activities and your daily life routines after those 2-3 weeks.

Functional Neurology

This is a specialty in chiropractic. This is a postdoctoral training that involves an additional 3 years of learning specifically on the different areas of the brain, and how to evaluate the part of the brain that is most affected. Motor vehicle accidents are vastly different, and different people will have different symptoms that pop up. Regardless of how you were hit, how your symptoms present, or even the severity of your symptoms they are the best equipped to evaluate your specific cognitive impairments. Even better they will provide you with the care and important information you need to get your cognitive function back to where it was before your injury if not even better!

If you have had a head injury regardless of the severity I can tell you that your quality of life has been affected even if you’ve yet to realize it. There are long-term consequences that can happen if you don’t reach out for help, and in the world of head injuries the sooner you seek out help the better!

At Home Treatment Options

Not every head injury is from the result of a car accident. There are so many different ways you can have a head injury. Mine came from a goat head butting a door and it swinging open and hitting me in the head. There was no personal injury lawyer that was going to take my case against my goat (LOL). I didn’t have a severe concussion or a serious car accident, but I was miserable! I told myself it’s not a big deal Krista it will get better, but then it didn’t. The brain fog, the headaches, the light sensitivity, the increased smell, the increased taste of food, poor memory, and my mental health were making this world impossible to live in. These few things helped me navigate a life with concussion until I could get in with my functional neurologist.

Memory Games

Do you remember that game when you were younger where you’d have different shapes or pictures on cards and you had to flip them over and find their matches? That takes your short-term memory functioning properly, and makes it one of the best games to use to help rebuild your memory. Overall it takes calming the brain down and decreasing the vast amounts of stimulus coming in. This means in order to improve memory you also have to decrease the other symptoms involved with concussion.

(Click here for an example found on amazon).

Different animals on different cards. When using this matching game it can help to rebuild your short term memory that is often affected with head injuries.
Blue Therapy Lenses

This induces a relaxation state on the brain by blocking out a lot of the visual stimuli coming in. They don’t look great, but the amount of relief you get from them is incredible! The first time I put them on I started crying because it was instant relief. I had a difficult time being in any light situation but these glasses were a game changer for me and most of my concussion patients I’ve treated as well. Click here to find these on amazon.

Ble colored glasses which can help with light sensitivity caused after a head injury.

Sound can become overwhelming! Having a pair of earplugs helps diminish how much is coming in so your brain doesn’t get overstimulated. You can play around with them and try one in one ear and then the other. I noticed if I put one in my left ear that it helped me more than having them in both ears.

Essential Oils

Smells will also become overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much some things smelt until my concussions. Finding an essential oil that you can tolerate but that is strong enough to put under your nose to combat the smells helps a lot. My personal favorite was Breathe from Doterra!

Cervical Neck Wedge

Research is coming out to show that people who have a flattened curve before their head injury, sustained the most damage from the accident. With my patients, I found that incorporating care to improve the cervical curve helped to decrease their symptoms faster. Click here for the recommended one on Amazon.

A young woman laying on a neck curve correction device. This can help with the symptoms caused after a car accident.
Cook with Natural Seasonings

Your brain becomes much more sensitive to things. Just switching to all-natural seasonings vs ones loaded with MSG makes eating a lot easier.

Weighted Blanket

Your skin can also become very sensitive after a head injury. A weighted blanket adds compression which is a calming sense to the brain.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to stabilize your blood-brain barrier and helps to decrease the edema/swelling in the brain from the head injury. Taking this early on can help you heal faster.

Healthy Fats

Your blood-brain barrier is protected by fats so taking omegas, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc can help repair your blood-brain barrier.

Nitric Balance

This is a liquid supplement that helps to boost the oxygen in your body. Oxygen is an important brain food, so this supplement increases your binding to oxygen. This will help the fatigue, brain fog, and overall brain recovery. (Supplement can be ordered from apex energetics)


There are a lot of things you can do at home to help you handle the symptoms that come from concussion. Whether you’ve had car crashes, a hit to the head, a football injury, a goat head butting you, or any other injury that resulted in memory problems or other mentioned symptoms, I would highly advise finding a functional neurologist. The tools listed above helped me manage the symptoms, but my functional neurologist helped me to heal and recover. Remember the severity of your injury doesn’t matter. Don’t push off your pain and suffering because you had a small head injury! Seek out help and get your life back!

Other helpful articles: What is a stress reaction and how to decrease symptoms, Best effective chiropractic neck exercises and stretches, and Cervical facet syndrome and exercises to help the pain (walks you through how to properly use the neck wedge and other exercises that can help with the straightened neck curve)

*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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