Why You Might Not Feel Pain Immediately After a Car Accident

Why You Might Not Feel Pain Immediately After a Car Accident

It happens all too often: someone is in a car accident, says they feel fine and declines medical attention, then hours or days later starts suffering major pain symptoms. This is why it’s so important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car wreck, and to be very careful with statements like “I’m fine” when you might be anything but.

The team of experts at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute in Mansfield, Texas, knows about the phenomenon of delayed pain after a car accident. We make sure you don’t have a serious injury like whiplash (a specific type of injury that causes neck pain) or a herniated disc (back injury).

Why pain after a car crash is often delayed

When you’re in a car crash, a lot of stuff happens in a short time frame. In reaction, your body dumps a lot of hormones into your system, having to do with shock, fear, panic, and so on.

Unless you’re knocked unconscious instantly, you’re likely to get a good hard dump of adrenalin into your system, as your body gets ready to either fight the danger you’re facing or run away from it.

Adrenalin distracts you from any pain you might be in. You’re so invested in awareness of everything around you that what’s going on with your own body doesn’t even register. 

This can be a good thing if you’re in danger that requires action. Maybe you need to fight your way out of an overturned vehicle, or run before a car fire spreads. Maybe you need to rescue someone else who’s been rendered helpless.

However, if you're hurt, the adrenaline spike can actually work against you. Typically, this manifests in you not feeling any pain, and declining medical attention even though you’ve been injured.

In the aftermath of an accident

Even if you don’t feel in pain right after the accident, a car crash can do a lot of damage to your fragile spine. Most injuries that show up hours or days after a crash are connected to the spine, and by far the most common is whiplash

Whiplash usually manifests as neck pain and stiffness, but there can be plenty of other symptoms as well. Many victims report lightheadedness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Others say their ears ring, they get headaches, and their vision is blurry. Some people notice they have trouble sleeping or are really irritable.

Another common injury is a herniated disc. This usually occurs in the lower (lumbar) spine. The tough, “jelly filled doughnut” between each bone of the spine is vulnerable to getting cracked or ruptured, causing pressure as it bulges outward. It results in nerve pain that runs from your back down into your legs.

You should accept proffered medical help after an accident, or (if you absolutely don’t want to go to the emergency room) schedule an urgent appointment with our office. Not only will a swift and accurate evaluation help you with any insurance issue, rapid treatment after an injury can help prevent serious disability.

 If you’ve been in a car crash, even if you feel fine, it’s critical to get checked out as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute, and we’ll make sure any injuries are identified and documented.

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