The immediate aftermath of a major collision often involves individuals frantically checking themselves and their passengers for obvious injuries. After all, a crash can cause major injuries that result in permanent disabilities or deaths. However, even serious injuries may not be obvious right after an accident.
In fact, those involved in car crashes may not realize for several days just how serious their injuries are. In some cases, it can take quite some time for the symptoms of the injury to become obvious. Both head injuries or soft tissue injuries may have delayed-onset symptoms. Watching for symptoms and seeking medical evaluation after a crash to rule out serious injuries is usually a good decision.
Whiplash, soft tissue injuries can worsen over time
The fear and stress of a collision typically flood your body with adrenaline. That chemical helps you respond to dangerous situations by aiding you in either fighting off a threat or fleeing a dangerous situation. One way that adrenaline helps you in these scenarios is by masking your pain. In other words, you may not realize how seriously injured you really are until the adrenaline is wears off.
Afterward, it could take hours or days for the pain in your muscles, ligaments and even bones to progress to a point where you decide to seek treatment. Left untreated, soft tissue injuries from accidents can cause serious pain, diminishing strength and a decreased range of motion to the affected areas. Patients may require physical therapy, pain medication and/or muscle relaxants to address pain, stiffness and other symptoms.
Medical professionals may not the able to diagnose soft tissue injuries without advanced imaging tests, such as MRIs. Until symptoms develop that necessitate such tests, a diagnosis may not be possible.
Brain injuries often manifest slowly
The impact of a car crash can also do real damage to the human brain. Whether there is a traumatic blow to the head or just violent movement, an auto accident can leave victims with traumatic brain injuries that impact their quality of life and careers.
Brain injuries can affect everything from your motor functions and memory to your personality and mood. In certain situations, a brain injury can prove fatal if bruising or swelling on the brain increases over time. Seeking immediate medical evaluation for head injuries after a crash is usually a wise choice. The sooner doctors intervene, the better the prognosis may be.
Not only should you check yourself for injuries after a crash, but you should also watch yourself and other passengers for signs of injury in the days after the collision. Stiffness, achiness, headaches and many other symptoms could be indicative of a serious condition that requires medical intervention.