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Symptoms to Look for After a Car Accident

Posted December 19, 2017 | Uncategorized

Car accidents are extremely jarring for the drivers and passengers involved. Every car accident involves three collisions: the vehicle collision, the physical collision, and the internal collision. At each phase, a person can sustain serious injuries. While some injuries show immediate symptoms, other symptoms are hidden or delayed. Some signs of injury are more serious than others and deserve immediate emergency attention. Here are five to watch for after a car accident.

Persistent or Intense Headache

Headaches after a car crash are common, as the head may have struck the window or another object in the vehicle. An intense or persistent headache may be cause of alarm – or at least deserves medical attention. Headaches are frequent symptoms of head and brain injuries like concussions. More serious problems that could cause headaches include blood clots on the brain and neck injuries.

Changes in Physical Function or Behavior

Other often-overlooked symptoms of a serious traumatic brain injury are sudden changes in behaviors or physical ability. Brain injuries can affect motor function, cognitive skills, speech, memory, and other aspects. Symptoms such as changes in appetite, mood, behavior, or sleep patterns in the weeks following a car accident may point to a hidden brain injury, and require immediate medical attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of brain-injury related deaths.

Stiffness or Pain in Your Neck

“Whiplash” occurs when the forces in a car accident cause the head and neck to move suddenly backward and then forward, putting the cervical spine under stress. The movement can damage the spinal cord discs and soft tissues at the back of the neck. Whiplash is common in rear-end collisions and can happen even in minor accidents. Neck pain is the most common symptom of whiplash. Other symptoms include headache, reduced range of motion in the neck, shoulder pain, and tingling or numbness in the shoulder or arm.

Back Pain or Numbness

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious outcomes of car accidents. Symptoms of a serious back injury after a crash include extreme pain or pressure in your back or neck, weakness or paralysis anywhere in your body, tingling or loss of sensation in limbs, and loss of bladder or bowel control. If you feel a back injury directly after a collision, don’t move. Moving the wrong way can make a minor back injury a major one. Call 911, and stay put until emergency personnel come to move you carefully.

Back pain isn’t always a signifier of catastrophic injury. It can also point toward a less serious but still painful injury such as a slipped or herniated disc. Nerve pain, numbness, and tingling may occur in the back or limbs from a herniated disc. Accident survivors may not always notice symptoms of a slipped disc right away. This injury can “hide” until something aggravates it, such as trying to lift a heavy box. Go to the doctor after a crash if you experience any back pain at all.

Abdominal Problems

The internal collision describes the body’s organs colliding with one another and with other parts of the body in the final phase of a car accident. The internal collision can cause serious and fatal internal injuries, such as hemorrhaging or organ damage. Look for abdominal pain, swelling, purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting as symptoms of internal problems. Internal bleeding can go on for days without the victim noticing. The more aware you are of serious symptoms after a car accident, the sooner you can detect an injury and receive treatment. You should also seek assistance from a car accident attorney in Salt Lake City even if your symptoms don’t show up right away.