Being involved in even a minor accident can be life-changing. The impact of a collision can affect your body in ways you didn’t think possible, and it might not even be apparent right away.
Not everyone will seek immediate care after an accident, especially if they believe they’re perfectly okay. However, injuries can present themselves long after a collision has occurred. If you’ve just been involved in an accident and haven’t sought medical care, take note of the following signs that may indicate that you should.
When a Tampa car accident lawyer begins calculating your accident-related costs, they may ask you about any injuries you’ve experienced. One of the most common can be pain and stiffness in the neck area, which is often referred to as whiplash.
This general term describes any shoulder or neck pain post-collision. While some discomfort is generally expected in this area after an accident, it should be checked out with x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs if the pain, discomfort, or stiffness continues.
Whiplash happens when there’s a sudden acceleration or deceleration in a vehicle. It’s generally more common in rear-end accidents but can even occur during contact sports.
Numbness is not a typical symptom to have after an auto accident. It is rarely nothing to worry about and can signal a wide range of serious injuries requiring medical treatment.
Whiplash is one of the more common causes of numbness, resulting in pinched nerves or even nerve damage relating to intense pressure. You may also experience numbness if you have a neck or back injury. Such injuries can lead to disc herniation, causing pinched nerves.
Any deep lacerations may also result in numbness, along with blunt force trauma on your arms, legs, or head, leading to nerve compression. Due to the wide range of injury types potentially responsible for numbness, seeing a medical expert without delay can be paramount.
At least one in six people in the United States experience headaches, and WHO states that half to three-quarters of adults have had one in the last year. Given their prevalence, you may not think a headache after a car accident is anything to worry about.
However, they can be a sign that something isn’t quite right and that you may have experienced a potentially life-threatening injury. See your doctor without delay to rule out a wide range of conditions like whiplash, a head or neck injury, or even a concussion injury.
A blow to the head can be one of the most common causes of headaches. If you’ve hit your head on an object such as the window or steering wheel during your collision, this can cause ongoing or constant headaches that impact your way of life.
A concussion may also be to blame. If you’ve hit your head hard enough, your brain can be rapidly shaken in your skull, leading to headaches, blurred vision, memory problems, confusion, dizziness, and balance problems.
The back-and-forth motion in your neck from your accident could even mean that whiplash has caused your headaches. The only way to know for sure is by paying a visit to your primary healthcare provider or the emergency room immediately after an accident.
Back pain is a common problem associated with car accidents. Any injuries involving the bones, connective tissue, joints, muscles, or nerves often result in discomfort, severe pain, swelling, spasms, bruising, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your back pain, some people with serious back injuries also experience breathing and urinating problems and even have numbness, fever, blood in their urine, and paralysis.
Whether your back pain is minor or severe after a car accident, ensure you seek medical attention without delay. Medical professionals can check the nerves and perform a wide range of tests to get to the source of the pain. Once the problem has been identified, medical health professionals may recommend surgery, pain relief, avoiding particular activities, and the use of warm or cold compresses.
The sheer shock factor and trauma of a car accident have the potential to change how someone behaves temporarily. They might be more withdrawn or sad or require more alone time to reflect.
These are all normal behaviors, but some behaviors can also signal a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sometimes, people may become more moody, depressed, and irritable after a car accident. They may also appear different as they look around the room or have trouble focusing, moving, and thinking.
If you notice these signs in yourself or someone else, consider seeking medical help to diagnose or rule out a TBI. Doctors can begin the diagnostics process using the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale assesses the severity of a brain injury from 3 to 15. The higher the number, the more severe the TBI may be.
They may also perform imaging tests to show swelling, clotting, bruising, bleeding, or fractures. Mild TBIs can often be managed with over-the-counter pain medication, but severe ones may require surgery, medicine, and a multitude of hospital treatments.
Anyone who has experienced a severe TBI may also require rehabilitation to improve their lost or impacted functions. This can sometimes require the assistance of several experts such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, neurologists, and speech pathologists.
Car accidents can take their toll on your physical health, but one of the less often spoken about repercussions relates to your mental health. Some people find themselves reliving the accident in their minds and may also experience anxiety, stress, depression, anger, fear, sleep issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some people might withdraw from their loved ones, stop driving, and avoid the area where their accident happened. They might also have significant changes in their behavior, such as not partaking in activities they once loved, avoiding social interactions, and not going to work.
Addressing any mental health issues post-accident is just as crucial as those relating to your physical health. If you or a loved one shows these symptoms, consider contacting a mental health expert for advice and help.
Identifying and acting on specific car accident symptoms can sometimes be a matter of life or death. Often, your health and wellbeing going forward can also depend on getting treatment for them. Consider paying a visit to a medical professional without delay if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms above.
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