If you can walk away after a car accident without any catastrophic injuries, you may consider yourself lucky! Even if you feel ok after exchanging information and speaking with the police, it’s always a good idea to see a Chiropractor following an auto accident. With your adrenaline pumping in the aftermath, your brain may not immediately register the pain signals coming from your body. Often only after you’ve had some time to calm down do you notice you may be struggling with aches and pains.
Why it Matters: Ignoring a new ache or pain after a car accident and hoping it will go away is not smart. Even minor symptoms can be an indication of a more significant problem. Receiving a complete and thorough evaluation is critical to discovering any injuries early on so that you can receive the best care and treatment to put those injuries in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible. The following symptoms often have a delayed onset and may not appear for hours (or even days!) after an auto accident:
Headaches: A concussion, neck injury, mild traumatic brain injury, or whiplash can lead to chronic headaches after a car accident. Don't dismiss a headache or dizziness until it's been adequately evaluated by a doctor.
Back pain: Pain in your back following a car accident can take hours or days to surface. This could be a sign of a spinal disc, soft tissue, or whiplash injury.
Neck/Shoulder Pain: If you notice pain in your neck, shoulders, or arms, it may be a sign of a whiplash or spinal injury.
Next Steps: Delayed onset of symptoms after a car accident is quite common. It doesn't mean that you're "making it up." The stress of a car accident can make it difficult to truly assess how you feel minutes after the event. It takes time for swelling and inflammation to begin, and if you notice pain hours or days after your auto accident, don't dismiss it. Get a proper evaluation as soon as you can. Doing so has the potential to make a massive difference in your quality of life!
Science Source(s): Whiplash. WebMD. 2019.