Motor vehicle accidents are generally horrific experiences — even when the vehicle damage is not severe. Everyone reacts differently to a crash. Some experience a mental fog, making it difficult to think or focus. Others might find their minds flooded by thoughts and concerns. In addition to the mental trauma and emotional disorientation, sometimes vehicle accidents cause physical damage that’s hard to notice amidst immediate distractions. Even serious physical issues might not present any signs for several days.
The first six weeks after a whiplash injury are usually conservative in care. Massage, chiropractic care and physical therapy may be part of the comprehensive healing program. Pain that continues past 6 weeks without continued improvement with conservative care is appropriate to seek the care of an interventional pain doctor. Injectable treatments, such as the ones found at Novocur, can reduce inflammation and get back to the road of being pain-free again.
For those who have been in an accident, here are some of the more common symptoms that can appear several days later.
- Headaches: Headaches that develop several days after a vehicle accident are common. Sometimes they can signal a potentially serious problem, such as, a blood clot on the brain, injury to the neck or head or even a serious concussion.
- Neck or shoulder pain or stiffness: Whiplash is the classic delayed symptom injury associated with accidents. “Most cases of whiplash injury occur as the result of rear-end vehicle collisions at speeds of less than 14 miles per hour,” according to patientinfo.com. Whiplash injuries can be serious and may require x-rays, CT scans or MRIs for proper diagnosis.
- Back pain: Back pain that appears after an accident could be caused by injury to the muscles, ligaments or nerves in the back or even by damage to the vertebrae. “Low back pain is found in more than half of rear impact-collisions in which injury was reported, and almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes,” reports the Back & Neck Pain Center.
- Abdominal pain or swelling: These signs could indicate internal bleeding. Other symptoms include large areas of deep purple bruising, dizziness and fainting. Internal bleeding can remain undiscovered for hours or days. It can be a life-threatening condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated by trained emergency medical personnel.
- Numbness: Loss of feeling in arms and hands is another indication of whiplash injury (also called whiplash associated disorder). The loss of feeling results from damage to the neck or spinal column. Modernmedicine.com notes about 20 percent of people involved in rear-end vehicle accidents develop some symptoms of whiplash.
- Changes in personality or physical function: These could signal traumatic brain injury resulting from a concussion. Signs include impaired thinking or memory, movement, problems with vision or hearing, or personality changes or depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle crashes are the third overall leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death from traumatic brain injuries.
- PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common after a vehicle accident. PTSD victims often have vivid and disturbing memories of the event and nightmares. Sometimes victims feel as if the accident is recurring or have flashbacks. Children are especially susceptible.
It’s a good idea for any person involved in a motor vehicle accident to seek immediate medical treatment. If these or any other symptoms appear even several days after the accident, it is important to visit a doctor experienced in post car accident injuries symptoms to diagnose and treat potential lingering problems.
John C. Saylor, Attorney at Law
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