Pain resulting from an automobile accident is often dismissed as just bumps and bruises that will go away with time. However, some injuries sustained in an accident can last a long time, and the symptoms may not appear right away.
What are some of the long-term effects of a car accident and how do you know when you should see a doctor?
Long Term Effects of Car Accidents
Many car accident injuries are treated immediately and heal quickly. But certain types of injuries can produce symptoms that last for weeks, months or even years.
Three common long-term effects of car accidents are whiplash, herniated discs and soft tissue damage.
Hyperflexion and hyperextension, better known as “whiplash,” is a common long-term effect from car accidents that can linger for years when not properly treated. Whiplash results from a rapid back and forth jostling of the head and symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness, especially with movement
- Loss of range of motion in the head and neck
- Headaches that start at the base of the skull
- Tenderness, tingling or numbness in the shoulder, arms or upper back
- Dizziness or fatigue
Another long-term effect of a car accident is a herniated disc, which happens when the softer interior of a vertebrae disc pushes through the harder exterior. Most herniated discs occur in the lower back but can also happen in the neck.
Symptoms include sharp pain in the arms and legs, particularly when making sudden movements. Numbness, tingling and weakness in the extremities are also symptoms of a herniated disc.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage involves bruises, muscle strains and sprains to joints and ligaments in the fascia, or connective tissue. Stiffness, soreness, swelling and inflammation are all symptoms of soft tissue damage and the symptoms can be erratic and inconsistent, making it difficult to diagnose and allowing it to linger for the long term.
When to See a Doctor After a Car Accident
You should see a doctor immediately after a car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain or symptoms. A doctor may be able to identify and diagnose an “invisible” injury and perform treatment to prevent the condition from worsening.
But if you find yourself experiencing pain, stiffness, diminished range of motion, numbness, tingling, weakness or fatigue long after a car accident, schedule a consultation with a car accident doctor near you like the ones at Dynamic Health in Charlotte, NC. Our pain specialists can identify the source of your symptoms and provide a variety of treatments to relieve you of pain and improve functionality.
Allow Dynamic Health To Assist You In Overcoming Your Injuries
Contact us today so we can help you recover from your car accident once and for all.