In the shock and confusion following a vehicle accident, you may not realize the seriousness of your injuries. Furthermore, you may not experience symptoms of injuries for days or even weeks. Even if you feel okay in the minutes and hours after an accident, it’s important to visit your doctor and watch for symptoms.
Everyone involved in a vehicle accident reacts differently. No matter how minor the accident might seem, people often have difficulty thinking or focusing. That’s normal. You’re thinking about being late to an appointment or how you will explain what happened to the police.
Besides the emotional disorientation, vehicle accidents can cause physical damage that’s hard to immediately notice. You may be more hurt than you realize. This is because the release of adrenaline that causes a rapid heartbeat and increased perspiration can also decrease the sensation of pain. Serious physical issues might not present any signs for several days.
Common Injuries Following a Vehicle Accident
Some of the more common injuries that can appear several days after a vehicle accident include tension headaches, whiplash, as well as neck and back pain.
- Headaches. Headaches that develop several days after a vehicle accident are quite common. You may not experience pain or discomfort right away. However, you may wake up one morning after the accident and find you have an unexplained headache. It could be a simple tension headache or a potentially serious problem. The headache could be the sign of a blood clot on the brain, injury to the neck or head, even a concussion.
- Concussion. A concussion can be very serious, requiring a healthcare professional’s attention. Concussions usually have other symptoms, such as:
- Blurred or double vision.
- Sensitivity to light or noise.
- Mood, sleep, and appetite changes.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is the classic delayed symptom injury associated with accidents and can exhibit many of the same symptoms as a concussion. The sudden jarring force of the impact can stretch and injure the muscles and tendons in and around the neck, resulting in intense pain. Most cases of a whiplash injury occur in rear-end collisions at speeds of less than 14 miles per hour.
- Neck and Shoulder Pain. Neck and shoulder pain after car accidents can be the result of tension and stress. Or it can be the result of nerve or tissue damage.
- Back Pain. Back pain that appears after an accident can be caused by injury to the muscles, ligaments, nerves in the back, or damage to the vertebrae. Back pain can be due to muscle tightness or bruising if the pain is aching and generalized discomfort. If pain travels down the spine or extremities, it can be from damaged or pinched nerves. Low back pain is found in more than half of rear-impact collisions in which an injury is reported.
- Abdominal Pain or Swelling. Seatbelts pulling tight across the abdomen in an accident can cause pain that may not be fully realized until days later. The belts can be a cause of internal injury, internal bruising, or more serious internal bleeding. It can take hours or even days before internal bleeding is discovered.
- Swelling or Stiffness. Swelling and stiffness are common following a motor vehicle accident, but it may not become apparent until a few hours or even days later. This swelling can add to stiffness and reduce your range of motion for the affected area.
- Tingling or Numbness. Experiencing tingling, numbness, or a loss of feeling in your neck, shoulder, arms, and hands, or back can be a symptom of nerve or tissue damage. The loss of sensation is the result of damage to the neck or spinal column.
See Your Doctor
After any vehicle accident, it is a good idea to seek medical attention. In the days following any vehicle accident, pay close attention to any symptoms you experience. Do not discount symptoms that appear days or weeks after the accident. Visit a doctor experienced in post vehicle accident symptoms to diagnose and treat any potential lingering problems.
Novus Spine & Pain Center
The Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and specializes in treating chronic pain. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting-edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle, while minimizing the need for opiates.
Our Mission Statement: To provide the best quality of life to people suffering from pain, by providing state of the art treatments, knowledge and skill, compassion, and respect for all.