Top 3 Delayed Auto Accident Injury Symptoms to Look For

whiplash, chiropractic, Vanguard Spine and Sport

Almost 3 million women, men, and children were injured in car accidents in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Whether your accident was a little fender bender or a major crash, you may not experience the full effects it had on your body for days, weeks, or even months. That’s why it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible after your crash, even if you feel perfectly fine.

Endorphins dull your pain

The shock and fear of being in even a minor fender bender causes your body to release hormones called endorphins, which possess opioid-like effects. Endorphins dull your pain and also create a feeling of overall well-being.

When your body is pumped full of your own natural endorphins, you might not notice that you’ve been injured, particularly if you have no outward signs of trauma. But after the endorphins wear off hours to weeks later, you may feel twinges of pain or have symptoms that you may not associate with the accident at first.

If you were seriously injured and hospitalized, your attention may be on those traumatic injuries. Although you’re under medical supervision, you should pay attention to any new sensations or impairments once you’re released from the hospital.

Delayed symptoms after an accident

The integrated medical team at Vanguard Spine & Sport in Houston are experts at evaluating victims of car accidents for signs of injury that aren’t always obvious at first. In addition to coming in for a comprehensive physical after your car accident, you should contact your doctor if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms:

1. Delayed pain

While you may not have felt pain at the time of the accident, you may notice pain and stiffness days or weeks later. You may have suffered soft-tissue injuries, such as deep bruises on your muscles or other inner tissues, sprains, or strains. You may also have developed bursitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that decrease friction between your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin.

One of the most common auto accident injuries is whiplash, which occurs when your head and neck are snapped forward and back very rapidly. Neck pain, jaw pain, or even pain in your shoulders or hands could be a sign of whiplash.  

2. Stiffness, tingling, or numbness

If you’ve noticed that your neck, back, or joints feel stiff or painful even months after your accident, you may be developing arthritis. An accident can damage the cartilage that protects your bones from rubbing against one another at the joint. Damaged cartilage can also become inflamed, putting pressure on your nerves.

Tingling or numbness in your hands, feet, or limbs could be another sign of whiplash. You also may have a pinched nerve that’s causing your symptoms.

3. Cognitive changes

Whiplash can cause symptoms that are not pain-related, especially if you suffered a concussion (which is basically a bruise on your brain). If you notice any changes in cognition, mood, or sleep patterns, contact the experts at Vanguard Spine & Sport right away.

Individualized treatments help you heal

If you’ve been in a car accident, the team at Vanguard Spine & Sport first conducts a complete physical examination, including a range-of-motion evaluation, and orders or refers you for any necessary tests, such as X-rays or MRIs.

Based on the results, they make a diagnosis and then design an individualized treatment plan that may include:

Don’t wait until you’re in pain or experiencing troubling symptoms before getting a medical evaluation. Call us today or use the online appointment form to book a visit at Vanguard Spine and Sport.

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