An accident can be a scary event, and often leads to very serious injuries. Sometimes, though, because of the adrenaline pumping and focus on the incident, you may not feel any injuries for a few days. These "delayed onset" injuries can be just as painful and dangerous as those felt on the scene of the accident.
Here are a few of the most common examples:
Whiplash, the jarring motion of an impact and the resulting "whip" of momentum, can result in a variety of injuries. A common one is headaches. The headaches can be the result of a concussion - the result of your brain being pushed around inside your skull - or something much more severe. A blood clot or pressure inside the skull can cause significant long term damage or death. It is extremely important to let your medical provider know you have headaches so they can do a proper diagnosis.
2) Neck and Shoulder Pain
Right after the accident you may not feel it, but waking up the neck morning, the neck and shoulder pain from whiplash can be extremely debilitating. This can be as small as a sharp pain when you turn a certain way, to having your neck locked painfully in a specific position. Let your medical provider know right away so that you can begin treatment to not only relieve the pain, but begin the healing process immediately.
3) Lower back pain
The impact, especially if the seatbelt is worn properly, may cause a shift in the vertebrae in your back. This may not even be noticed after the accident, but the few days after it can become extremely painful. It may simply be a misalignment, or something more severe like torn muscle or ligaments. As with neck and shoulder pain, let your medical provider know right away so that you can begin treatment to not only relieve the pain, but begin the healing process immediately.
4) Swollen or painful stomach
Your stomach may be painful to the touch the next day. This may be just bruising, or something more severe like internal bleeding. It is very important to get a proper medical diagnosis right after your accident.
5) A personality or attitude shift
This is more likely noticed by your friends and family, so please ask them. A dramatic shift may be a sign of brain trauma, whether it is a concussion, a blood clot, or worse. Early diagnosis is key, so let your medical provider know as soon as possible.
With all of these symptoms, it is important to see a medical provider who is familiar with accident injuries, so they are prepared with the proper diagnosis, treatment, and know how to preserve your rights. There are a variety of injury specialists available - for example, in Georgia there is Georgia Injury Centers - who specifically treat accident injuries. Call us at 1-800-HURT911 and we will help you find one near you!