From the moment you see that vehicle hurtling your way and knowing there’s nothing you can do to escape the impending crash, to the moment you finally crash on your couch with an ice pack on your back – your system is in a state of shock.
With all that adrenaline flowing, the damage and disruption to your routine – not to mention your car – it’s hard to stop thinking about the trauma that just hit your life. So why does it not immediately sink in that something in your body physically hurts?
Causes of Delayed Injuries
You might not seem injured at the scene of an accident, or even sometime after, because of these factors:
Stress Hormones and Endorphins
Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol get released into your bloodstream, and neurotransmitters known as endorphins get activated in your brain and nervous system during periods of high stress or trauma. You could “be fine” at the scene, only to realize later that something aches terribly, or that a certain type of movement causes massive pain. The release of these hormones and endorphins can temporarily shield you from feeling any pain until some time passes. Consider them a defensive mechanism to protect you from the trauma you just experienced.
Soft Tissue Injury
If there is a broken bone involved from your car accident, it normally hurts right away, but when soft tissues sustain damage from the heavy forces involved, they often do not reveal themselves until some time later. Some injuries can take days, weeks, or even longer before they make themselves evident. This is because your body is trying to adapt to what could be bruising or tears in your tissues. You might have spasms as your body’s way of trying to protect any injured areas.
Also, the pain may present itself at another time while taking a normal action, such as trying to lift a heavy object, or sleeping in a certain position. You might not realize that the pain occurring at these times is actually related to injury from the earlier accident. This is why it is crucial to be checked out by a medical professional soon after an auto accident, even if you feel fine. A doctor is trained to recognize symptoms and put the pieces together to compile an accurate diagnosis of your injuries.
Common Types of Auto Accident Injuries
The most common types of auto accident injuries are to the head, neck, chest, and back. But also common are the psychological effects of trauma. The resulting injuries caused by a crash vary widely depending on a person’s age, physical health, and circumstances of the accident.
Here are injuries to look out for after you’ve been in a car accident:
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Whiplash, or the effect of the neck and head being thrown forward or backward
- Back and chest injuries like herniated discs, broken ribs, or collapsed lungs
- Broken arms, legs, hips, and shoulder injuries, especially in side-impact accidents
- Soft tissue damage
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain
- Numbness in the extremities
- Emotional distress, panic attacks, or PTSD.
Expert Accident Treatment in Oklahoma City Area
If you’re in an auto accident, turn to The Brooks Clinic for treatment and relief. We have served the Oklahoma City area with expert auto accident treatment since 1975. We’ll evaluate your condition with diagnostic imaging, provide you with immediate treatment including medication and bracing if needed, and refer you to specialists.