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Why People Experience Delayed Pain After Car Accidents

Treatment for Delayed Pain After Car Accidents in New York

Many people are so familiar with such catastrophic imagery due to car accidents that they cannot imagine injuries that don’t hurt immediately following the collision. However, numerous injuries may have occurred during the accident that you or other parties may not notice the symptoms of until much later.

Despite the delayed aches and pains, the injury has been present since the time of impact. If left untreated, your injury can worsen and even cause other serious problems. Learn why people experience delayed pain days or weeks after vehicular crashes and what injuries cause the pain after car accidents are delayed.

Why Is Pain Delayed If the Injury Is Present 

When people experience a traumatic event, like a car accident, bodily reactions can delay pain. Your body releases certain chemicals to help deal with the environment around you. You will release both adrenaline and endorphins as a natural response to being in a car accident. People have also been known to experience physical shock as a result. 

Adrenaline Rush 

Adrenaline works to support your body’s fight or flight response system. Since you are trapped in a dangerous situation, your body is responding with fight mode. Adrenaline will surge through your body to better adapt to the problem. For a certain amount of time, your senses will be sharper, your pain threshold will be more significant, and some people even report gaining the strength to move jammed car doors. 

Endorphin Rush 

Endorphins are also released as part of your fight or flight response to the collision. Endorphins are released, and your body responds by entering a state of increased well-being, almost akin to extended endurance to support your fight response. The chemical release of endorphins makes your body feel good and can sometimes overcompensate for the injuries you sustained during the accident. 

Physical Shock

Your body can undergo several different types of shock. Additionally, shock can last for far longer than just a few moments following a car accident; psychological shock can be a form of prolonged PTSD. Physical shock, however, is when your body experiences trauma that leads to the loss of blood flow to your organs, often resulting in dangerous oxygen depletion. During this experience, many people do not feel pain or notice their injuries due to the lack of oxygen. If you think that you or someone else in the collision is experiencing any kind of physical shock, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. 

What To Do After an Accident for Best Results 

Some injuries are apparent, and emergency medical care usually transports them to the hospital. However, most people who are in car accidents still suffer some kind of injury. Whether or not you are in pain, it is vital to seek medical treatment after you experience a car accident to be sure that you are injury-free and not just pain-free at the moment. Professional evaluation is integral in identifying injuries with delayed pain that may cause dangerous problems after you are away from medical support. 

Identifying Head Injuries With Delayed Pain 

Head injuries can leave lasting effects and change the outlook of a person’s life. The faster a head injury is identified, the better the chances are of full recovery. As time passes, head injuries compound with additional swelling, pressure, and bleeding that cause more problems. 

Dental Injuries 

Because your skull and facial cartilage absorb impact in car accidents, your teeth may also suffer. Delayed pain may come in the days or weeks following the accident as other symptoms arise, prompting you to see a dental expert. Getting X-rays after your car accident will identify any dental injuries you may have sustained, including crushed teeth, damaged roots, or fractured bones in the jaw. You may also experience delayed pain from aggravated nerves after injuries in the accident. 

Eye Injuries 

Unfortunately, eye injuries are common head injuries in car accidents. At the very least, many people walk away with bruising to the eye and cheekbones due to a collision with something in the vehicle, usually a window or steering wheel. Other people may fracture eye sockets or even experience more severe eye trauma. The force of airbags can sometimes crush or damage the actual eyeball, causing swelling and pain that reaches its peak in the days following the accident. Detached retinas and damaged pupils are common eye injuries that could lead to partial or permanent blindness if left untreated. 

Aural Injuries 

Despite a small amount of blood coming from the ear and constant ringing, many people who experience ear injuries from car accidents report not feeling any symptoms until days later. The pain in aural injuries is often due to the time it takes for the fluid to swell and increase pressure on the sensitive part of your ear, known as the eardrum. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

When you experience a car accident, your body travels at high speeds, and the impact stops you with a great force. Your brain is dually affected by a collision because it continues to travel, impacting your skull in addition to the other outside parties. Car accidents may cause bruising, bleeding, or swelling of the brain. When identified and treated early, many people make a remarkable recovery from brain injuries. The longer you wait to address a brain injury, the worse symptoms become and the less likely it is to return to life before the damage occurs. Undetected TBIs are the number one reason to seek treatment after a car accident because, often, only a medical specialist can determine the presence and severity of a brain injury. It’s critical to seek medical advice from the right doctor experienced in treating injuries related to TBI

Identifying Neck Injuries With Delayed Pain 

Neck injuries are common car accident injuries and can range from soreness and stiffness to severe vertebral fractures or misalignments. Because many neck injuries take time to reveal their actual intensity, victims of car accidents often discount their aches and pains as expected side effects of being in a crash. However, many neck injuries are not typical, and if left untreated, neck injuries will worsen over time. 

Whiplash Injuries 

Whiplash occurs when your head and neck hurry back and forth due to two or more colliding forces. The tendons and muscles in your neck are often damaged in this process. Sometimes, nerves can also be affected by soft tissue injuries like whiplash. Whiplash can take a few hours to a few days to reach full severity after a crash. Some people experience minor stiffness, while others have symptoms that are near paralysis. Consulting a doctor after your crash will help identify your injuries and find the proper treatment before the pain increases. 

Vertebral Injuries 

Depending on what happened during your car accident, your body may have suffered a highly traumatic impact that could have injured your upper spine and neck. More severe than whiplash, vertebral injuries include fractures, herniated vertebrae, or misaligned vertebrae. Unlike whiplash, vertebral injuries will not improve with just time or stretching. Seeking medical care will help determine the best treatment plan for vertebral injuries sustained in the crash. 

Identifying Back Injuries With Delayed Pain 

It’s no secret that back injuries with delayed pain can range anywhere from minor to near paralysis. Spinal injuries are some of the most severe diagnoses you can treat and live with throughout your life. Rather than wait for delayed back pain after a car accident trauma

and correlating symptoms of back injuries, seek medical care directly after your accident. 

Sciatica Injuries 

Your sciatic nerve runs from near your tailbone down the length of your legs. When these nerves are pinched or crushed by compacted discs, the pain can be unbearable. Many people wake up after a car accident with sciatic nerve pain, unable to walk the following day. 

Disc Injuries 

Ruptures, misalignment, compacted, fractured, and herniated discs can all result from car accidents. Your spine is a sturdy structure, meant for intense wear and tear, but not for extreme impact and absorbing great force. You may experience delayed pain as injuries take time to fully develop after the crash. 

Spinal Cord Injuries 

When your spinal cord is damaged after a car crash, you may enter physical shock. Depending on how severe the damage is, you may or may not feel your spinal injuries right away. An important point to keep in mind is that when your spinal cord is partially damaged, it may only take one small slip and fall or sleeping wrong to agitate the injury in such a way that you may experience life-changing effects. It’s vital to seek proper medical advice from a specialist after a spinal trauma as most primary care doctors and family physicians are not equipped to treat a senior injury like this.

Identifying Chest Injuries With Delayed Pain 

Airbags save lives; there is no doubt about it. However, the force of impact from an airbag is enough to cause injuries, in addition to the car accident. Airbags can cause facial and chest trauma due to the pressure they deploy to protect drivers and passengers from worse results. Even when airbags do not inflate, steering wheels are a significant cause of chest injuries in many accidents. 

Organ Injuries 

The most severe injury caused by a car accident is delayed cardiac arrest or the collapse of the lungs. Your rib cage protects your vital chest organs, but sometimes the force of impact is too great for your body to withstand. Your body may go into shock and experience early symptoms of cardiac arrest that you are unaware of due to the hectic nature of the situation. Your lungs may be damaged but not collapse until later when muscles relax around them during sleep. Both injuries can be life-threatening if not identified and treated immediately. 

Rib Injuries 

Cracked, fractured, and broken ribs may feel like everyday aches and pains that you experience when sore. However, if left untreated, broken ribs are more than just delayed chest pain after car accident trauma; fractures can puncture lungs or surrounding tissue and cause additional internal issues. 

Identifying Shared Symptoms With Delayed Pain

Even if you don’t feel pain after a car wreck, it is still unlikely that you feel like your usual self. Be sure to learn the coinciding symptoms of severe injuries with delayed pain so that you will seek treatment directly after an auto accident or convince someone else to do the same. Though each underlying injury will have its unique indicators, in addition to delayed pain, there are commonly shared signs that you can look for to tip you off to the presence of injuries. 

  • Confusion 
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Swelling 
  • Numbness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Abnormal bleeding 
  • Behavior changes 


Treating Injuries With Delayed Pain 

Seeking medical care directly after a motor vehicle accident is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis for your injuries to build a customized treatment plan. Though each person will require a different method based on the damage and response to care, many car accident injuries require the same steps to facilitate healing. More minor injuries may only need a few of the treatment options, like rest and chiropractic care. In contrast, other treatment plans will include those options and also extend to surgery followed by physical therapy in some cases. 


After your injuries, no matter how minor or severe, your doctor will prescribe rest. Your body will need dedicated time to heal from your injuries. 

Pain Management 

Suppose your injuries are too painful and interrupt your daily routine. In that case, medicine can be prescribed as you make your way through the first days or weeks of your injury and participate in your treatment plan prescribed by an experienced interventional pain management doctor. The long-term goal is to become independent of any medically managed pain control.

Chiropractic Care 

Chiropractic care can help with any whiplash, vertebral, or back injuries. Musculoskeletal specialists will work through a series of stretches and massage techniques to help your body reshape itself to heal. 

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Physical therapists are trained doctors that understand the ways your body needs to move to heal. Your therapist will work with you on progress and create a treatment plan that constantly changes based on your needs. 


Though surgery is an invasive response, sometimes it is unavoidable. Most likely, you need a visit to a local emergency room in a local hospital for a serious injury involving broken bones or internal bleeding. Severe injuries require swift correction and medical intervention, and surgery may be the only response that saves your life once your diagnosis has been identified. 

Don’t Wait for Delayed Pain To Seek Treatment. 

Seeking treatment from an experienced doctor after your car accident just got easier. To find an auto accident injury doctor near you in New York or New Jersey, call 1-800-897-8440 now or request an appointment at Injured Call Today.  Physicians listed in our free directory accept no-fault, PIP (personal injury claim protection), medical liens, workers’ compensation, and other insurance plans. The medical office will do third-party billing and submit a car accident claim to an insurance company. This way patients don’t need to worry about out-of-pocket expenses and medical bills. These specialists will thoroughly review medical conditions, properly document your trauma and injuries, and prescribe appropriate and necessary treatment plans. If you are experiencing pain or unsure what to do next, call now and get on your way to recovery! Same-day appointments may be available.