Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and confusing experience. While some injuries are obvious right away, others can take days or even weeks to appear. These delayed onset injuries can catch people by surprise if they are not aware of the potential warning signs. As chiropractors in Shreveport, we have helped many auto accident patients recover from delayed injuries. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common delayed car accident injuries, reasons they may be delayed, the importance of getting checked out, and how to get treatment if problems arise later on.
Common Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident
Neck and Back Pain
It is very common for neck and back pain to appear days or weeks after a collision. The adrenaline and shock from the accident can temporarily mask symptoms. However, once that wears off, people often experience muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain in the spine and neck. These types of delayed injuries can be caused by the violent back and forth movement of the body during impact.
Concussions are one of the most common delayed injuries from auto accidents. Symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and memory problems may not show up right away. Sometimes it takes hours or days for a concussion to fully manifest. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor your symptoms closely after an accident even if you feel fine at first.
Since the force from a car crash can throw passengers around violently inside the vehicle, it can cause internal bruising, bleeding, or damage to organs. However, these types of hidden injuries often don’t have obvious symptoms until days or weeks later as internal swelling and inflammation develops. Some warning signs include abdominal pain, vomiting, dizziness, or blood in urine or stool.
Why Injuries Can Be Delayed After an Accident
There are a few main reasons why accident injuries can sometimes be delayed:
When the body goes into fight or flight mode after a collision, adrenaline is released. This masks pain and allows you to keep going after the crash. The downside is that it makes injuries harder to detect at first.
Not Feeling Pain Right Away
Similar to adrenaline, the shock and disorientation from an accident can alter pain perception. Even if you’re injured, you may not feel it due to your body’s acute stress response.
Injuries Worsen Over Time
Some post-accident injuries start small but get worse progressively. A minor muscle strain can turn into a severe neck sprain over the span of a few days. Disc, ligament, or tendon damage often follows this pattern as tissue becomes more inflamed.
Getting Checked Out After an Accident
Getting promptly evaluated after a car crash is key to identifying and treating any injuries you may have sustained. Here are some steps to take:
See a Doctor
A medical doctor can check for signs of concussion, internal bleeding, fractures, or other injuries. Be sure to mention any symptoms you’re experiencing, even minor ones.
Visit a Chiropractor
Seeing a chiropractor helps detect spinal misalignments, soft tissue injuries, disc damage and other issues that cause back and neck pain. Through methods like imaging, orthopedic testing, and motion palpation, problems can be found and treated early.
Look for Red Flags
Pay attention to any unusual symptoms in the hours and days after an accident, like headache, confusion, nausea, numbness or tingling, pain that worsens, and any signs of internal injury. Getting prompt medical attention for red flags is crucial.
Treatments for Delayed Injuries
If car accident injuries do pop up later on, here are some treatment options available:
Gentle chiropractic adjustments can help realign the spine after accident trauma. This reduces pain, restores mobility, and stimulates healing. Ongoing adjustments help optimize recovery.
Targeted exercises, stretches, and modalities like ultrasound or traction help ease post-accident muscle strains, sprains, and spasms. A customized PT program addresses specific problem areas.
Over-the-counter meds like NSAIDs reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort short-term. Prescription medication might be needed for severe pain. Be cautious of side effects.
Prevention is Key
While you can’t prevent all car accident injuries, some simple precautions can help reduce your risk:
Wear Your Seatbelt
Seat belts keep you securely in place and dramatically lessen the chances of colliding into the interior during impact. They are the most fundamental safety device.
Adjust Headrests Properly
Having headrests tilted forward and centered behind your head limits whiplash and sudden back-and-forth head movement.
Address Aches and Pains
Seeing a chiropractor for minor neck, back or headache issues before an accident happens reduces the likelihood of more severe injury if you do get in a collision. Being proactive pays off.
Being aware of delayed injury patterns can save you a lot of pain and hardship down the road. Always get checked thoroughly after a crash, even if you feel fine initially. And if any concerning symptoms do show up later, get prompt medical attention rather than waiting it out. With proper treatment, most car accident injuries can be managed successfully.
Injuries like neck/back pain, concussions, and internal damage often don’t appear until hours or days after an accident. Reasons for delay include adrenaline masking pain, delayed onset of symptoms, and gradual worsening. Seeking medical help right away aids early detection and recovery.
Don’t take chances with your health after an automobile collision. Monitor for red flags, get evaluated by a doctor even if you feel fine, and follow up quickly on any delayed symptoms. Take steps to minimize injury risk before an accident as well. Being proactive and responsive helps ensure optimal healing.