If you’re unlucky enough to be involved in a high-speed crash, you may have no choice but to seek medical care. But it’s easy to walk away from a fender bender and shake off any small pains or declare that you feel “just fine.”
Know that even a seemingly minor auto accident can generate significant force and cause soft tissue injury.
Your body releases adrenaline and endorphins instantly after a crash. These hormones mask any pain or discomfort. Plus, your mind is distracted by filling out police reports and contacting your insurance company.
Naturally, these factors mean that any onset of pain and injury may be delayed. But the longer you wait to get care for soft tissue issues, like whiplash or tendon injuries, the longer the inflammation, pain, and dysfunction persists.
Problems can also get worse without treatment, causing lifelong discomfort and limits to long-term mobility.
A visit to Edward Carden, MD, as soon as possible after a car accident is a smart move to assure that you haven’t sustained yet-to-appear damage that could have long-term consequences.
We’re ready to help you with an examination, diagnosis, and treatment, often before the worst of the pain comes.
Here are the types of injuries you may have incurred and why you should come see Dr. Carden.
Whiplash and neck pain
Whiplash occurs when your head is thrust forward and then backward suddenly — too quickly for muscles and ligaments to provide stability. As a result, the tissue in your neck stretches out abnormally.
Whiplash occurs frequently from car accidents, especially when you’re rear-ended. Whiplash can damage your vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, and even the nerves in your back. You can end up with pain in your neck and other disturbing issues.
The pain won’t typically emerge immediately, but you’ll likely experience one or more of the following symptoms within a few days after your injury:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches and migraines
- Decreased mobility
- Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Low back pain
- Numbness or pain in your arm or hand
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating
- Sleep disturbances and fatigue
- Blurred vision
In some cases, it can take several days or even a week or two for you to notice these symptoms.
Damage to your back
A collision can cause the small discs along your spine to push or twist out of alignment, resulting in serious back pain. Back sprains or strains also often result from a car accident.
If you experience a back sprain, the ligaments that connect the bones of your back have stretched or torn. A back strain overstretches or tears muscles or tendons, the tough bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach muscle to bone.
A back injury may also cause nerve compression, resulting in radiating pain and other unpleasant sensations in your buttocks and legs.
An injury to your back can also cause stiffness and muscle spasms, which makes it difficult to maintain regular posture, walk normally, or bend as you usually would. This can lead to reduced productivity at home and lost time at work.
Shoulder pain and injury
Your rotator cuff can suffer injury in a car accident. These muscles give your shoulder stability and mobility, but they’re vulnerable to damage when your shoulder is forced into an unnatural position during the collision. Rotator cuff injuries occur when the tendons tear or overstretch as the result of the impact of the accident.
You should suspect a rotator cuff injury if you have a dull ache in your shoulder and experience pain during sleep. You may also have arm weakness and difficulty reaching behind your back.
If you’ve experienced a car accident, contact the office of Edward Carden, MD, soon afterward to get checked out. If you do have a soft tissue injury, we can treat it right away and give you the best chance of avoiding long-term complications.
You can book online or call our office in Sherman Oaks, California, at 310-842-8668. Also, you can send a message to Dr. Carden and the team here on our website.