Untreated Injuries Lead To Chronic Pain After A Car Accident
An accident can be traumatic. You are left reeling from all the decisions that have to be made, managing car repairs and assessing the economic hit from the accident that you can easily dismiss any underlying pain that you may experience. Even if you don’t have any obvious injuries from an accident, you may have an injury that doesn’t surface until days later. As a result, many people don’t connect the pain they may experience today with the accident they had months ago, and they fail to seek treatment.
Whiplash, the result of the head being jolted quickly back and forth, can cause injury to the tendons or muscles in your neck. It may seem minor, but without treatment, whiplash can have long-term effects for months after the accident.
How long will you be in pain?
A general rule of thumb is the more severe your injuries, the longer it will take to recover. You can expect six weeks of recovery after you’ve been in an accident, although individuals may have different recovery times. Your specific recovery will depend on the pre-existing conditions you had before the accident. It will also be determined by the extent of your injuries and the nature of the accident you endured. Back and neck injuries can take longer to heal, while brain injuries and spinal issues can take months to fully recover from.
What’s causing my pain?
Left untreated, injuries from an accident can cause debilitating pain and suffering long after the event has faded from memory. According to the National Institute of Health, untreated injuries from car accidents can lead to chronic pain, which is characterized by pain that lasts longer than three months.
Concussions are the result of a head trauma causing the brain to move inside a person’s skull.
Blurry vision, vomiting, headaches, and loss of sleep are all potential long term consequences of an untreated concussion. In rare cases, epilepsy and depression can occur as well. The consequences can be both long-lasting and severe, so any injury to the head should be examined by a doctor.
- Back pain
There is no formula for how long back pain can last. If you’re experiencing any of these types of pain, you may have an untreated injury that is causing you difficulty. Back pain can show up when you’ve been standing for a long period of time, or when you transition from sitting to standing. It can present itself when you’re bending or if you’re doing something simple, like putting on your socks.
- Muscle strain
When you are in a car accident, your body will automatically react in an effort to protect itself. In that process, your muscles tighten to keep itself in place. During the impact, your muscles can be torn or strained as a result. Pain from this type of injury can last for weeks or months.
- Herniated disks
A bulged or ruptured disk can affect your spine’s movement. The bulging disc can pinch your spine’s nerves and cause pain without warning. Physical therapy can help relieve the pinching and manage the symptoms of your pain.
Typical whiplash symptoms can last for anywhere from six to eight weeks after an accident. Untreated, however, you can have long-term pain for several years.
- Spine injury
The vertebrae in your spine can be moved out of their normal position as a result of an accident. As a result, you can have a weakness, difficulty walking, pain or numbness in your legs.
- Tissue damage
An accident may cause a tear in tissues around your joints. A sudden jolt may cause your body to shift in different directions and result in small tears. Over time, you may over-correct to avoid putting pressure on an area that is causing you pain, which creates a new set of problems as your walk pattern or muscle movement may be altered. This can cause joints and bones to be worn down, leading to further complications such as osteoarthritis.
In some cases, your pain may seem completely unrelated to your accident. You may not even realize the impact the accident could have had on your muscles, particularly if the accident happened in the past. If you didn’t seek treatment after an accident, or if you have new pain that you can’t identify, it may be time to seek help.
Untreated injuries from an accident can have long-term consequences. A weakened point in your body may be prone to repeated injury, or you can injure it further without realizing how. Chronic pain is a result of untreated injuries, which can prevent you from living life to the fullest.
If you are suffering from unexplained pain, contact our office today to find out how we can help you heal.