How Long After an Accident Can Injuries Appear?

Sep 14, 2020

How Long After an Accident Can Injuries Appear One of the first things you may do after a car accident is to assess yourself and any passengers for injuries. You may notice any severe injuries at this time, and you will likely see superficial wounds like cuts and bruises, but there may be a number of injuries that are not yet apparent. But just because you appear to be in the clear at this time does not mean you won’t experience an injury. It can be important to visit a car injury doctor even if you don’t notice any issues, as many car accident injuries do not appear until days or even weeks after the initial crash.

Why Some Symptoms Are Delayed

After a car accident, our bodies often have a stress response because of the sudden impact and chaos surrounding the event. When our body is put into a stressful situation like that, we have what is called a “fight or flight” response and release endorphins and adrenaline. This can give you a boost of energy and hide symptoms of even severe injuries.

Once you’ve had time to recover from the initial shock and stress of your accident, your body will begin to return to its normal state. As the adrenaline and endorphins subside, you may finally begin to notice pain and other symptoms of injuries. This can happen in a matter of hours or may take days, depending on your body’s reaction.

Commonly Delayed Symptoms

While it’s normal for many symptoms to be delayed or show up days or weeks after an accident, some injuries can worsen during that time. For this reason, you should always visit a car injury doctor as soon as possible to rule out any severe injuries. Below are some of the symptoms that can commonly appear after a period of no issues.


Headaches are extremely common after a car accident and can be for a variety of reasons. Many people may suffer from headaches simply as a response to the stress and chaos associated with the event, but they can also be a sign of concussion or a more severe traumatic brain injury. When paired with dizziness, nausea, problems with memory and concentration, or sleep problems, headaches can be a sign of injury to the brain that should be evaluated immediately. Headaches can also be a sign of blood clots or bleeding in the brain, which can have severe consequences if left untreated.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Whiplash is the most common injury that results from a car crash, which has symptoms like neck and shoulder pain but it also often isn’t obvious for some time. The sudden movement involved in an accident can damage the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your neck on impact, but you may not experience pain and stiffness immediately. However, as soon as these symptoms begin they should be taken seriously. Ignoring them can lead the condition to worsen, leading to pain that renders you unable to work and enjoy life as normal.

Back Pain

During a car accident, the spine can be moved in unnatural ways, leading to a number of injuries. If you feel back pain, or even pain radiating down into your buttocks and legs, this may be a sign of a back injury. Muscle and ligament damage is common and easy to treat, but you may also have suffered from a more severe injury like a cracked vertebra or herniated disc. These problems can become worse when left untreated, leading to more permanent spinal damage that can affect your quality of life.

Numbness and Tingling

Feeling the “pins and needles” feeling in any area of the body is generally a clue that something is wrong. When this symptom appears following a car accident, it can indicate a number of severe issues. Blood clots, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, and brain injuries are all possible causes of this feeling.

Abdominal Pain

Seatbelts undoubtedly save lives, but they can have effects on the body as well. When the body is restrained, it can cause bruising or damage to the abdomen. In some cases, this can lead to internal bleeding that may become fatal if untreated. Pain and swelling in the abdomen also a sign of these issues that should be treated immediately.

Seek Treatment Before Severe Symptoms

If you are involved in a crash, you should always seek the care of a car injury doctor immediately in order to rule out any severe or life-threatening issues. At AICA Orthopedics, we specialize in treating car accident victims and can help you identify signs and symptoms in the early stages. Give us a call today! Our team is then able to develop a treatment plan personalized to your injuries and begin your recovery as soon as possible.



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