5 Commonly Delayed Injury Symptoms Following an Auto Accident

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5 Commonly Delayed Injury Symptoms Following an Auto Accident

Every year, millions of motor vehicle crashes happen in the United States, leaving many people with injuries that range from mild to severe and even life-threatening. While some injuries are obvious immediately after an impact, others cause more subtle symptoms that can take time — from hours to days or more — to appear.

At Superior Health and Wellness, our team offers comprehensive medical care for women and men involved in motor vehicle accidents, including important evaluations necessary for the insurance claims process. Here, learn about five delayed symptoms you should watch out for.

1. Back pain

Many people associate back pain and other symptoms with severe motor vehicle accidents, but you can have symptoms even with a relatively minor impact. 

Depending on where your car is struck, the speed of the collision, your position in the car, and other factors, the force of an accident can cause muscle strains, ligament sprains, and problems with your discs and nerves. Some people can experience small fractures that can wind up causing long-term symptoms.

While some back-related injuries show up right away, others worsen over time. That means that while you might notice a mild ache or “twinge” soon after your collision, your symptoms can become much worse over the following days.

Because your back contains your spine and your spinal column, you can wind up with painful symptoms that quickly result in disability. Prompt evaluation and treatment is the best way to prevent these problems.

2. Neck pain

Like back pain, neck pain is another symptom that’s often delayed. Like the rest of your spine, your neck (or cervical spine) contains many nerves, muscles, ligaments, and other structures, each of which can be injured during a motor vehicle accident. 

And, like a back injury, a neck injury can happen even if the impact is relatively minor. In fact, because your neck is extremely flexible, it’s especially prone to injuries from any type of jolt. 

It’s not uncommon to have neck pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion developing in the days following a motor vehicle accident. Swelling in the soft tissues can wind up pressing on nerves and causing significant pain and other symptoms, including the symptoms described in the next item on this list.

3. Tingling or numbness

Tingling and numbness are symptoms of nerve-related injuries, and while you may not notice these symptoms right away, they can become more evident — and more troublesome — over time. Many nerve injuries involve your spinal column in your back or neck. The spinal column contains all the nerves that travel from your brain to every other part of your body. 

An impact to your back or neck can cause nerve strain and tearing near the joints where the nerves leave the spine or anywhere along the nerve pathway. The force of a motor vehicle accident can also dislodge a disc in your spine, causing nerve compression and painful nerve symptoms over time.

Soft tissue swelling, sprains, and muscle strains anywhere in your body can press on nerves and cause tingling or numbness, too. Without prompt treatment, worsening nerve injuries can cause permanent damage, along with lifelong pain and related symptoms.

4. Headaches

Headaches are another delayed symptom that’s fairly common following motor vehicle accidents. Headaches often happen because of muscle strain in your neck and upper back, but they can be related to other causes, too.

Sometimes, a headache happens as a symptom of whiplash, when your neck and head are snapped back and forth suddenly. Headaches can also be a symptom of concussions, a head injury that can have very serious consequences unless it’s diagnosed and treated immediately.

5. Confusion or mood changes

Like headaches, confusion and changes in mood or behavior can be symptoms of a concussion, a brain injury that can cause swelling or chemical changes in your brain’s tissues. Cognitive symptoms like problems with memory, concentration, or reasoning can all be delayed since frequently, they’re associated with swelling and inflammation that take time to show up.

When they do show up soon after an accident, many people attribute them to stress or shock, delaying crucial care. It’s important to note that even a minor impact can cause concussion symptoms, so again, prompt medical evaluation is essential, even without immediate symptoms.

Seek medical treatment right away

If you’ve had any type of motor vehicle accident, having a medical evaluation is one of the first steps you should take to make sure you receive the care you need to stay healthy and avoid complications.

To schedule your accident evaluation, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at our offices in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina today.