After a car accident, some injuries are apparent right from the bat. Lacerations, broken bones, dislocations, and other types of injuries can be felt immediately after a car accident, even with the increased levels of adrenaline in the blood. In these types of injuries, the victim seeks medical help right away.
There are other types of injuries, however, that do not result in symptoms until hours or even days after the accident, but this doesn’t mean that they are not serious. If you have recently gotten into a car accident, here are delayed injury symptoms to look out for, even if they seem unrelated to the accident:
1. Shoulder and neck pain
Pain in the neck and shoulders can indicate a herniated disc, a spinal injury, whiplash (common in rear-end collisions), or some other type of injury that requires swift medical attention. If you start to feel this symptom, it is imperative to seek help from a reputable clinic such as Rushmore Family Chiropractic that deals with auto accident injuries right away.
2. Back pain
Back pain is another common symptom of injury after a car accident. It is usually indicative of damage to the vertebrae or the ligaments, nerves, or muscles in the back. If the pain is accompanied by tingling or numbness, you may also be suffering from pinched nerves.
When back injuries are left untreated, they can lead to a lifetime of problems, including severe chronic pain and limited mobility. If you start experiencing back pain hours or even days after the accident, seek medical attention immediately.
3. Headaches or dizziness
Experiencing headaches or dizziness long after the car accident may seem like unrelated symptoms, but there is a good chance that they are effects of the undetected injuries you’ve sustained in the crash.
The most threatening type of injury that these symptoms could be pointing to is a traumatic brain injury, which can happen if your head sustains a significant impact during the crash. Most cases of traumatic brain injury that go undetected after a crash are mild, since symptoms may not appear immediately after the accident. Nevertheless, they are just as life-threatening as more severe cases of traumatic brain injuries.
If you experience headaches or dizziness after the accident, don’t ignore it even if days or weeks have already passed, especially if you are also experiencing nausea, drowsiness, and loss of balance.
4. Stomach pain or swelling
Never, ever ignore stomach pain after an accident. This symptom can indicate internal bleeding, which requires emergency medical attention by trained emergency personnel. It can also come with other symptoms such as welling, deep purple bruising, fainting, and dizziness, but not always.
Internal bleeding can go unnoticed at first because you can’t see the bleeding. So when you start to feel pain or notice discoloration on your stomach, it can mean that the blood is already pushing against your internal structures or forming discoloration underneath your skin.
When left ignored for too long, internal bleeding can be a life-threatening condition, especially in severe cases. But whether the case is mild or severe, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately.
5. Tingling or numbness
A herniated disc, whiplash, or a pinched nerve can result in tingling or numbness anywhere on your body. These injuries can become worse over time and cause severe pain when left untreated. Hence, even if tingling or numbness don’t seem like significant symptoms, you should still see a doctor about it.
6. PTSD symptoms
Car accidents are the leading causes of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the general population. And while PTSD is not an injury, per se, it is a very common negative effect of a car accident that should never be ignored.
After a traumatic event, it is normal to experience symptoms like changes in emotional reactions, avoidance behaviors, recurring flashbacks, night terrors, and negative changes in mood. These symptoms will naturally go away for people who don’t develop PTSD. But for those who do, these symptoms don’t subside over time and can even get worse.
If you suspect that you have PTSD, or are generally feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, seek help from a mental health professional. The sooner you do this, the better since the effects of PTSD can easily bleed into other aspects of your life and make it harder to cope.
The most important thing to do after you get into a car accident is to get a full examination from a doctor. Doing this will help spot any hidden injuries that you may have and address them immediately. However, there also injuries that may go unnoticed at first and manifest through the symptoms we’ve highlighted above. If you experience any of these symptoms, go back to the doctor as soon as possible.