After a car accident, you will likely feel physical pain and other unfamiliar sensations as your body heals. Although the healing process can prove trying, knowing what to expect can help you interpret signals from your body and get the treatment you need to recover.
Every person will experience something different physically after an accident, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the injuries and accident. However, some symptoms can prove indicative of a more significant problem.
You May Not Feel Injuries Or Pain Immediately After An Accident
During a car accident, your body senses danger and begins pumping adrenaline into your system to counter the recognition of pain. In fact, many car accident victims report not feeling any pain despite clearly having injuries. Usually, car accident victims notice the pain much later that day or even the next day after the adrenaline wears off.
You should see a doctor immediately after a crash, even if you don’t feel pain. You may have serious injuries that require immediate medical attention.
Soft Tissue Injuries Can Prove Hard To Pinpoint After A Car Accident
Our bodies contain many different soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons, to support hard structures like our bones. In car accidents, injuries to these soft tissues commonly result from the quick jerking motions typical during impact. Common types of soft tissue injuries include whiplash, strains, sprains, and bruises.
However, because these types of injuries don’t show on X-ray scans, a doctor can miss them during your initial examination. If you have lasting muscle or joint pain after an accident, it could signify soft tissue injuries.
Broken Bones Commonly Result From Car Accidents
The force of a car accident may push your body into awkward, painful positions, putting strain on non-flexible structures in your body, like bones. When bones get crushed by the rigid structures of a damaged car, they may break. The severity of a broken bone depends on the location and type of break.
If you have a broken bone after a car accident, you will likely know. However, if you think you have a broken bone but don’t know for sure, your doctor can perform an X-ray to find out and treat the break with the proper remedy for the specific break.
Headaches Or Pain In Your Neck Or Back Can Indicate Something Serious
Car accident victims face a risk of severe injuries, like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries. Although headaches can stem from something relatively mild, like whiplash, they can also indicate that your brain made contact with your skull. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), headaches after a car accident require immediate treatment, as traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term health problems.
If you have pain in your neck or back, especially when accompanied by numbness or tingling, this could indicate that you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries don’t always present immediately, and paralysis can come on slowly. For these reasons, you should seek immediate medical treatment following an accident to rule out the possibility of a spinal cord injury.
Emotional Issues Can Affect You Physically After A Car Accident
Car accident victims may experience emotional issues due to the trauma of a crash.
Some common mental health issues to look for after a crash include:
- PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) commonly results from car accidents, and according to a study by American Family Physician, car accidents constitute a leading cause of PTSD. Victims can experience flashbacks, loss of memory, or fear of getting into a car.
- Depression – After an accident, victims can sometimes feel guilt or shame over the circumstances surrounding the crash, leading to feelings of depression. Many car accident victims experience depression that lasts long after the accident. Depression can affect the day-to-day lives of accident victims, but treatment with therapy and counseling can help.
- Anxiety – After a car accident, some victims feel an increased sense of uneasiness and worry. Some people may experience concern about riding in vehicles or having medical procedures done. Some people may have trouble sleeping or concentrating. Like depression, anxiety can cause severe problems for accident victims daily.
Mental health issues can present with physical symptoms, like nausea, excessive sweating, trouble breathing, vision impairment, and headaches, especially if left untreated. You should get help for any emotional issues as soon as possible after an accident.
What Factors Affect How I Feel Physically After A Car Accident?
Every car accident has its own unique set of circumstances and factors affecting how you feel physically afterward. Take the time to check in with yourself and seek medical treatment if you feel anything off with yourself after the crash.
Certain factors can impact how a car accident affects you physically, including:
- The type and severity of the crash: People in a minor fender bender will likely experience substantially less pain than someone in a head-on collision. Your symptoms may vary depending on what kind of crash you experienced and its severity.
- Your age can affect how you heal: As you age, you may struggle to recover from injuries as quickly as someone younger. This prolonged healing process may come with more pain. Additionally, some soft tissue injuries and broken bones occur more frequently in older individuals.
- Existing medical conditions – If you have existing or old injuries, they can become worse or reappear after a car accident. Although you won’t qualify to recover compensation for an injury that existed before the accident, you should still seek medical treatment for any injury after an accident.
Can A Car Accident Lawyer Help Me If I Have Physical Issues After A Crash?
After an accident, you should prioritize getting the medical treatment that you need. Once you have a comprehensive recovery plan, you may want to work with a car accident lawyer to build a claim for recovery from the at-fault party.
Your lawyer will help use your injuries to create an appropriate value for your case. Contact a car accident attorney near you today to learn more.