Tag Archives: Car Accident

7 Delayed injury symptoms after a car crash

7 Delayed injury symptoms after a car crash
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Everyone reacts differently to a crash. Some experience pain, headache or a mental fog, making it difficult to think or focus. Others might find their minds flooded by thoughts and concerns. Some have a rush of adrenaline and they don’t feel anything at all.

In addition to the mental disorientation, and emotional trauma, sometimes vehicle accidents cause physical damage that’s hard to notice due to the immediate distractions and flight and fight reflex that occurs. Even serious physical issues might not present any signs for several days.

The first six weeks after a whiplash injury are usually conservative in care. Chiropractic care and physical therapy may be part of the comprehensive healing program. Pain that continues past 6 weeks without continued improvement with conservative care is appropriate to seek the care of an interventional pain doctor and your chiropractor should have a network of doctors both orthopedic and neurosurgical that he or she works with along with the ability to refer for further testing with Credentialing that allows referral to the hospital for that testing.

For those who have been in an accident, here are some of the more common symptoms that can appear several days later.

1. Headaches

Headaches that develop several days after a vehicle accident are common. Sometimes they can signal a potentially serious problem, such as, a blood clot on the brain, injury to the neck or head or even a serious concussion.

2. Neck or shoulder pain or stiffness

Whiplash is the classic delayed symptom injury associated with accidents.

“Most cases of whiplash injury occur as the result of rear-end vehicle collisions at speeds of less than 14 miles per hour,”

Whiplash injuries can be serious and may require x-rays, CT scans or MRIs for proper diagnosis.

3. Back pain

Back pain that appears after an accident could be caused by injury to the muscles, ligaments or nerves in the back or even by damage to the vertebrae.

“Low back pain is found in more than half of rear impact-collisions in which injury was reported, and almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes,” reports the Back & Neck Pain Center.

4. Abdominal pain or swelling

These signs could indicate internal bleeding. Other symptoms include large areas of deep purple bruising, dizziness and fainting. Internal bleeding can remain undiscovered for hours or days. It can be a life-threatening condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated by trained emergency medical personnel.

5. Numbness

Loss of feeling in arms and hands is another indication of whiplash injury (also called whiplash associated disorder). The loss of feeling results from damage to the neck or spinal column. Modernmedicine.com notes about 20 percent of people involved in rear-end vehicle accidents develop some symptoms of whiplash.

6. Changes in personality or physical function

These could signal traumatic brain injury resulting from a concussion. Signs include impaired thinking or memory, movement, problems with vision or hearing, or personality changes or depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle crashes are the third overall leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death from traumatic brain injuries.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common after a vehicle accident. PTSD victims often have vivid and disturbing memories of the event and nightmares. Sometimes victims feel as if the accident is recurring or have flashbacks. Children are especially susceptible.

It’s a good idea for any person involved in an accident to seek immediate evaluation. If these or any other symptoms appear even several days after the accident, it is important to visit a doctor experienced in post car accident injuries symptoms to diagnose and treat potential lingering problems.
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By Dr. Michael Tigges

Dr. Michael Tigges is the Owner and Chiropractic Physician of Tigges Chiropractic & Wellness clinic and has over 28 years of health care experience in private practice with advanced training through The Spine Research Institute of San Diego is committed to providing research and education in the area of spinal health and injury prevention. We are especially concerned about cervical spine injuries that result from whiplash trauma.