A car accident puts your body under a tremendous amount of trauma in just a few seconds. Even if you walk away without any visible injuries, you can develop pain after the event.
At Edward Carden, MD, Dr. Carden is a motor vehicle accidents specialist who understands the serious impact they can have on your body. He uses interventional pain management techniques to help you heal and recover.
Here’s why you should get medical attention right after your accident and why you might not notice symptoms until later.
Hormones block your pain
When you experience any trauma or shocking experience, your body releases a sudden surge of a hormone called adrenaline, which causes a “fight or flight” response when you’re in danger.
Adrenaline helps you in traumatic or intense situations by:
- Increasing energy
- Reducing or eliminating pain
- Dilating blood vessels and airways that increase the flow of oxygen
- Increasing strength because of more blood going to your muscles
- Changing your vision and hearing so you can focus on sights and sounds within range
Your body also releases endorphins that make you feel calm and in total control, and they can mute your response to pain and stress. When adrenaline and endorphins wear off and you begin to let down, pain starts to kick in.
Your body needs time to process your injury
Your hormones block pain immediately after an auto accident. It can also take time for injuries to appear while your body settles back down after the trauma.
During a crash, you go from moving at the speed of your vehicle to a sudden and immediate stop. Thank goodness — you’re held back by your seatbelt, airbag, or another barrier, but these don’t stop all injuries.
The abrupt change in momentum can cause soft tissue damage, like what happens with whiplash. These types of ligament or muscle strains take time to develop because inflammation, swelling, and stiffness don’t occur immediately.
The intervertebral discs in your spine also potentially suffer damage during a car accident. They act as cushions between your vertebral bones and give your spine flexibility. A crash can lead to a tear, bulge, or herniation in these discs, putting progressive pressure on your nerves and resulting in pain.
Types of injuries to watch for after an accident
Common delayed symptoms after a car accident may include:
- Back or shoulder pain
- Neck stiffness
- Blurry vision or dizziness
- Difficulty remembering things or problems concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Numbness in your hands or feet
- Reduced range of motion
If you seek treatment from Dr. Carden before these symptoms arise or at least before they become severe, you can reduce your risks of long-term pain and complications in the future. Early diagnosis and treatment mean more effective healing.
If you’ve been in a car crash or even a minor fender bender, it’s smart to get checked out to make sure you don’t have lingering problems later on. Click here to call us or to book your appointment online today.