5 Delayed Symptoms to Watch For After an Auto Accident

If you’ve ever been in a car accident (or know someone who has), you know that serious injuries can occur. However, not everyone realizes that there are some injuries — even very serious injuries — that may not show up immediately.

It’s always a good idea to get medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident, but in the hours and days following a crash, be on the lookout for delayed injury symptoms. Knowing what they are might save your life!

1. Abdominal Pain

It’s normal to go into shock after a car accident. The sudden rush of adrenaline makes it difficult to feel pain, and if you don’t see outward bleeding or bruising, you might not realize you have internal injuries as well.

The impact of a car accident can cause internal bleeding. Abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms of internal bleeding, but dizziness or the development of large bruises are symptoms as well.

2. Cognitive Issues and Mood Changes

Often, victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI) will suffer memory issues and problems with cognition. They’re frequently delayed symptoms, so it’s possible to come out of an accident thinking you’re okay and then start noticing concussion symptoms or symptoms of a more severe TBI hours or days later.

These are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble with short-term or long-term memory
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Processing delays (taking longer than normal to understand what someone says)
  • Light sensitivity
  • Changes in your ability to smell or taste
  • Dizziness and headaches

If you have a concussion (a kind of mild TBI), symptoms generally resolve quickly. However, some people experience something called post-concussion syndrome. This is when symptoms take much longer to resolve than normal.

Mood changes can be associated with traumatic brain injuries, but they can also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder. Not all post-traumatic symptoms are physical — serious accidents can cause mental and emotional damage, too.

3. Constant Headache and Nausea

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle collision, you might experience a post-traumatic headache. However, if that headache also involves nausea and neither symptom goes away, it might be a symptom of a more serious TBI.

Without the help of a medical professional, it’s impossible to tell if a persistent headache is caused by a minor injury or something more serious, so you should always seek medical attention if the headache develops after a crash.

4. Back Pain and Neck Pain

Some pain and soreness in your back and neck are normal after a car accident — back and neck pain are among the most common car accident symptoms. Your spine absorbs significant force in a crash, and in many cases, the impact causes a “snapping” motion that can cause injuries.

Whiplash is one of the most common car crash injuries. Technically, whiplash is a collection of injuries. The snapping motion of your spine stresses the bones, nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other tissues of your neck.

You might not notice these symptoms right away, but if you notice neck and shoulder pain the next day, there’s a good chance you have whiplash.

Your spine is a very complex structure, and back pain can be a sign of many different auto accident injuries. You can suffer soft tissue injuries, dislocate the facet joints (the tiny joints connecting your vertebrae), or even develop fractures in your vertebrae.

You also may rupture one or more of the collagen discs between your vertebrae. If this happens, the portion of the disc that’s pushed outward can put pressure on your spinal nerves and cause significant pain.

5. Numbness or Lack of Sensation

One of the biggest misconceptions many people have about spinal cord injuries is that all symptoms show up immediately. However, in some cases, symptoms develop later. Your spinal cord connects your brain to the rest of the nerves in your body, so if your spinal cord is damaged, the nerves below the injury don’t function as they should.

Complete spinal cord injuries (injuries in which the spinal cord is completely severed) result in a complete lack of movement or feeling beneath the injury. Partial injuries will usually cause some impairment. You might experience numbness or tingling, or you might have difficulty moving certain limbs.

If this happens, it’s a medical emergency. Spinal cord injuries cannot be reversed, but if a doctor can stabilize the injury, you might be able to minimize the damage.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

Injuries from CT auto accidents can have long-lasting, life-altering impacts on your mental and physical health. Even relatively minor injuries can cause significant pain and disrupt your ability to perform day-to-day tasks until your injury recovery is complete.

If your delayed car accident injuries were caused by another person’s carelessness, you shouldn’t be left to handle them on your own — and the person who caused your injuries should be held accountable.

At Holth & Kollman, LLC, we’ve been standing up for Connecticut injury victims for more than 45 years. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to hear from you! Call us or get in touch online to set up a free consultation.

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