Car accidents can cause serious injury to your vehicle and your body. While the damage to your car is usually obvious immediately following a crash, that’s not always the case with your body. In fact, you may feel perfectly fine stepping out of the vehicle after impact, and then be overcome with severe pain in your neck, back or legs a few days later. That’s because being involved in a car accident releases adrenaline and endorphins into your system that mask any initial pain so you are more able to deal with the situation at hand.
Brace for impact
It’s estimated that approximately 2.35 million people around the world are injured in car accidents each year. Even if your car was traveling at a low speed right before the crash, an accident can generate a lot of force and cause a host of injuries, including broken bones, cuts, bruises, head and back injuries, and whiplash. While many of these injuries will heal over time, some can remain with you for months or even years after the accident.
Whiplash, the most common car-accident-related injury, is characterized as a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. The pain from whiplash is usually dull and generally takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to be felt. Left untreated, this dull pain can eventually lead to chronic pain. Without intervention, your body produces excessive scar tissue that can cause the injured muscles to become chronically weakened or tight. This, in turn, can lead to long-term issues with the biomechanics of your neck and shoulders, creating pain and numbness that is much more difficult to treat than the whiplash itself.
Watch your back
Back pain is another prevalent car-accident-related injury. It can be caused by a significant car crash or a simple fender bender. Acute back pain generally results from a sudden jolt or trauma to the lower back that places stress on the spinal bones and tissues. Typical symptoms associated with car-accident-related back pain include:
- Pain and discomfort of the lower back
- Stiffness or decreased movement
- Tenderness to touch
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- Pain or numbness that radiates down the leg
Most cases of acute back pain can be cleared up with the help of a pain physician but, left untreated, as many as ten percent of car-accident-related back injuries lead to long-term pain. Chronic back pain presents the same type of pain and symptoms that acute back pain does; however, it typically persists for four or more months.
Don’t delay seeking treatment
Receiving prompt medical attention after a car accident is essential for ensuring your body properly heals. A medical professional will be able to look for bruises, hair-line fractures, concussions and other internal injuries that are not readily visible. If back pain is indicated, most back injuries can be diagnosed through a basic x-ray exam. For a more in-depth look at any back or spine issues, other imaging techniques can be used, including CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, myelograms, discograms and other tests.
A pain physician can diagnose your injuries and develop a treatment plan for you that includes both passive and active care options. Passive care options, which are generally performed until any acute pain from your injuries subsides, might include heat and ice therapy, electrical stimulation, massage and ultrasound therapy. Once the pain is mitigated, simple active care treatments can be utilized, including therapeutic stretching, acupuncture and stabilization techniques, until your neck and spine are restored to their original health.
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, time is of the essence. Make the time to see a pain physician to help you deal with any physical discomfort you may be feeling. Give Pain Management and Injury Relief a call today at (877) 724-6349 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert pain physicians.