Over three million people are injured in car accidents every year.
But a lot of those injuries might not present themselves until a few days later. Because of this, you might not think you’ve been hurt in a car accident when, in reality, you have a pretty serious injury that needs attention.
If you even feel sore after a car accident, you should never ignore it. The soreness might be a sign of a delayed-onset injury.
Here are nine common delayed-onset injuries you should be away of after a car accident.
Headaches are one of the most common delayed-onset car accident injuries. The problem is your headache could be no big deal or a warning sign of a traumatic brain injury.
So how do you tell the difference?
If your headache isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, it’s probably a simple tension headache. After all, you have to deal with a lot of stress after a car accident, such as filling out insurance claims, car repairs, recovery time, and maybe even going to court.
But if you experience any of the following symptoms with your headache, you should see a doctor right away:
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Restricted range of movement
- Neck of shoulder pain
- Changes in mood
- Changes in appetite
These symptoms could mean your headache is most likely stemming from whiplash, a concussion, or an even more serious head injury.
2. Neck/Shoulder Pain
If you experience neck and shoulder pain after a car accident, your first thought might be whiplash. But don’t make this mistake. This type of main can be a result of many other issues.
For example, you might have a more serious injury, such as:
- Tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage
- Joint injury
Besides, even if you do think you only have whiplash, you should still see a doctor. You might need to get physical therapy or see an auto injury chiropractor to heal a whiplash injury.
Numbness or tingling in your arms and hands is usually a sign of a serious whiplash injury. You might lose feeling in your neck, shoulders, and back, meaning there’s something wrong with your spinal cord.
Don’t ignore these symptoms.
Ignoring this type of whiplash can make the problem worse in the long run. Even if you don’t feel any numbness, you should talk to a doctor about your whiplash in case it’s more serious than you thought.
4. Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain could be the result of internal bruising, but it could also indicate a more serious problem, such as internal bleeding.
You can get this type of injury from your seatbelt when you’re involved in a car accident. However, you might not start to feel the symptoms until several days later.
Keep in mind, internal bleeding can be life-threatening.
If you experience abdominal pain along with abdominal swelling, dizziness, and fainting, you should go to the hospital right away.
Swelling can occur after a car accident for a number of reasons.
For example, you might have a pulled muscle, sprained ankle, damaged tissue, etc. The swollen area might be tender to the touch and restrict your range of motion in some areas.
Though not common, swelling can be a sign of a more serious injury. If it doesn’t respond to R.I.C.E. treatment or go away in a day or two, you should get professional attention.
Bruises are another common post-onset car accident injury, and most of the time, they are nothing to worry about.
In some cases though, large bruises or discoloration can indicate a more serious problem. You might have bruised an internal organ, broken a bone, or damaged tissue.
If the bruises don’t go away on their own or a more tender than normal, you should have a doctor check them out to make sure they aren’t symptoms of a deeper problem.
7. Back Pain
Back pain can develop over several days after a car accident, and sometimes the pain can be so debilitating it can interfere with your normal daily activities. This pain can come from a number of things, including:
- Muscle tightness
- Pinched nerves
Never take a chance with a back injury. Over 80% of American adults live with some type of back pain, and your pain can get a lot worse if you don’t get the right treatment.
8. Dizziness and Vision Changes
You should pay attention to any dizziness or change in vision after a car accident.
Things like blurred vision and doubled vision might not develop until days or even weeks later, but they can be signs of a concussion, whiplash, PTSD, or another type of head injury.
Don’t take this injury lightly. Even if the dizziness or vision changes only last a few hours, you should head to the doctor as soon as it is safe to do so. (Never drive if you can’t see clearly. Have a friend or family member drive you instead.)
9. Mood and Behavior Changes
Your mood and behavior might be the last thing on your might after a car accident. But don’t let physical injuries distract you from your mental health.
Significant changes in mood and behavior can be symptoms of a concussion, depression, anxiety, or PTSD. But don’t confuse normal resting and recovery with these behavior changes.
Here are a few of the warning signs you should look out for:
- Mood swings
- Withdrawing yourself
- Stress eating
- Lack of appetite
- Changes in sleeping pattern
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should speak to a counselor. Talking to a counselor can help you get through the stress and recovery period after a car accident even if you don’t think you have PTSD.
What to Do If You’re Sore After a Car Accident
Are you feeling sore after a car accident?
Don’t ignore that pain. Many car accident injuries develop hours or even days after the crash itself. As soon as you experience any delayed-onset injury symptoms, you should visit a doctor right away.
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