Car accidents happen every day and can be a stressful situation for everyone involved. When you’ve been in a minor car accident, you might not have any obvious injuries other than a few scrapes and bruises. However, even minor car accidents can cause serious injuries, especially to the head and neck. If you experience pain, discomfort, or even a painful headache after a car accident, your body might be trying to signal that something more serious is going on. While the stress of the accident may lead to you sleeping more than normal as your body resets, if you notice your normal sleep schedule continues to be interrupted it may be a sign to talk to your doctor.
How Your Body Copes with Stress
In stressful events like a car accident, you might feel overwhelmed or even experience some level of shock. This type of situation generally causes the body’s adrenaline to start pumping, which can help give you the energy to get through the accident and then leave you exhausted afterward. When your body has been through a stressful experience like this, soreness and sleepiness are common responses. Your body will try to take care of itself and begin the healing process, which may cause you to be more tired than normal. However, if this tiredness or extended sleep time lasts for more than a few days after an accident, then it could be a sign of something more serious going on.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
When you’ve been in a car accident, no matter how minor, the sooner you can get examined the sooner a doctor can properly identify and diagnose any potential issues. Perhaps you were in a minor fender-bender and only really noticed a headache after the car accident, but now that you are sleeping a lot in the days afterward you realize it might be something more. There are many types of car accident injuries that slowly develop symptoms as the shock wears off and any swelling or inflammation goes down. Your doctor might tell you that you need a CT Scan or MRI after a car accident to recognize or rule out these types of more serious injuries.
Signs of Something More Serious
In order to determine if you have an injury after a car accident, it helps if you are able to share all your symptoms with your doctor and how long you’ve been experiencing them. A headache after a car accident coupled with excessive sleepiness may be a sign of the following types of injuries to the head and neck.
One of the most common types of car accident injuries, whiplash occurs when your head gets jolted around with the force of the accident. In a rear-end collision, this could be like your head flinging forward before snapping backward. Whiplash injuries affect the head, neck, and even your back, causing a variety of symptoms in different people.
A concussion is a likely culprit for sleepiness and a headache after a car accident, as these are both symptoms and a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Whether you experienced whiplash or hit your head on part of the car during the accident, with enough force your brain can actually bump against your skull and bruise. This can lead to symptoms like painful headaches and excessive sleepiness. Concussions should always be taken seriously and if you ever bump your head in an accident it is worth getting checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible, just to be safe.
Migraines are a specific type of headache that can be very painful. While there are people who suffer from chronic migraines, it is also possible to experience a migraine after a specific traumatic event, like a car accident. Migraines can cause some people to experience sensitivity to light and noise, making a dark quiet bedroom an optimal place to rest and recover. It is also possible to experience migraines associated with a concussion.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are worried about any symptoms you might be experiencing, then visit a car accident doctor at AICA Orthopedic to help identify what’s going on and also put your mind at ease. You can call or visit us online today to schedule an appointment and our multi-specialty team of orthopedists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and more are here to help you fully heal and recover from any type of car accident injury.