Even minor symptoms can be an indication of a more significant problem. The longer you wait to get evaluated and receive care, the higher your likelihood becomes of needing more invasive medical treatment. In fact, without a proper diagnosis and swift treatment, your body may begin to "heal” with more scar tissue and long term impairment than necessary. Ignoring or masking pain following an MVA can lead to more physical stress and compensatory changes from other parts of your body and, ultimately, additional injuries.
Let’s take a look at some common manifestations of delayed pain after a car accident that may not appear for hours or days.
● Headaches: A concussion, neck injury, mild traumatic brain injury, or whiplash (hyperflexion/extension injury) can create headaches after an MVA, so don't dismiss a headache or dizziness until you’ve been adequately evaluated by a doctor.
● Back Pain: Pain in your back after a car accident can take hours or days to begin, and it could be a sign of a spinal disc injury, soft tissue injury such a sprain or strain, or whiplash.
● Neck / Shoulder Pain: If you notice pain in your neck, shoulders, or arms, it may be a sign of whiplash or a spinal injury. It can also manifest as radiating pain, tingling, or numbness indicating need for a more substantial evaluation.
Don't dismiss your symptoms or concerns—delayed symptoms after an MVA are common. Three steps to recovery are as follows:
With the right healthcare team, most people can get back to enjoying their life to the fullest. The most effective treatment for musculoskeletal injuries should always reduce pain/injury, improve function, and increase stability. Put your injuries in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible, and speed your way back to doing the things you love.