Can you walk away from a crash with no apparent injuries but then develop pain and other symptoms after days, weeks, or even months following the accident?
Yes, it’s not in your head! Below, we asked Dr. Shoeb Mohiuddinour, our expert at Regenerative Pain & Spine, to explain why some people don’t experience pain right away. Read on to learn about the most common injuries that may take longer to cause symptoms.
One of the most common car crash injuries is whiplash. It’s caused by the back-and-forth movement of the neck and head, leading to micro tears in the muscles of the neck.
Whiplash is a complex injury, and it can cause migraines, dizziness, and pain months after the initial injury. Sometimes it does heal on its own, but if the symptoms persist, you may need pain management (oral medications or injections for pain relief), stem cell therapy, and physical therapy.
2. Brain injuries
If the back-and-forth movement of the neck during impact is strong enough, you may also be left with a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms include pain, nausea, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, and chronic fatigue.
3. Damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
It’s normal to wake up with pain in your knee, wrist, or shoulder after an accident that happened even two weeks ago. You may not even associate the pain with the collision in the first place, but delayed inflammation and pain are quite common.
For soft tissue injuries, our expert may manage pain with the help of steroid injections and oral medications. Stem cell therapy, shockwave therapy, and physical therapy are all good options for encouraging tissue regeneration.
4. Back pain
Depending on the severity of the crash, common back injuries include swelling and bleeding in the spinal cord (which can interfere with the transmission of signals between the brain and soft tissues), spinal disc tears, and whiplash in the lower back.
Treatment for lower back pain may include shockwave therapy, stem cell therapy, spinal cord stimulation, medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy.
Why does pain take a while to show up?
Your body is smart. When you feel threatened, your nervous system enters fight or flight mode, suppressing pain signals, increasing alertness and energy levels, and even improving your vision and hearing.
In a state where your adrenaline is pumping to prepare you for quick reactions, you may not feel pain, stiffness, or other symptoms. Also, the shock of an accident may make you unaware of what’s happening to your body.
As time goes by and you leave this state of stress, you become more aware of your injuries. If you do experience symptoms — even if your accident was days, weeks, or even months ago — contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Chicago, Illinois, to determine what could be causing your symptoms.