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Why Can Pain Be Delayed After a Car Accident?

Why Can Pain Be Delayed After a Car Accident?

Back, neck, head, or shoulder pain and stiffness are common complaints after a car accident. However, many people don’t experience discomfort until hours or days later.

Our team at MyDoc Urgent Care, serving patients from locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, East Meadow, and Little Neck, New York, offers convenient, comprehensive care for non-life-threatening conditions, including injuries sustained during a car accident.

Check these facts about how your body reacts to an injury and why pain related to a car accident may occur long after the incident.

How your body responds to a car accident

Your body goes into overdrive when you sense danger coming your way. If you’ve ever had a near miss in traffic or were stressed over a public speaking engagement, you’ve probably experienced an increased heartbeat, shallow breaths, and a sudden surge of energy that speeds up your reflexes.

These are all related to a release of adrenaline your brain triggers to protect you from perceived harm. It’s often called the “fight-or-flight” response since it prepares you to move faster during a threatening situation like a car accident.

Adrenaline is a powerful hormone that has significant effects on your body, including:

The effects of adrenaline can last for moments to an hour or more, offering a partial explanation for why you may not feel discomfort immediately following a car accident.

Pain and healing

Once the pain-numbing effects of adrenaline and shock wear off after an accident, your body goes into healing mode. Natural substances your immune system produces to repair tissue cause an inflammatory response that often leads to delayed swelling and pain in joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles following an accident.

For instance, symptoms of whiplash typically develop over several days and may include the following:

A whiplash injury can affect the cervical spine muscles, bones, joints, nerves, or discs. Your pain level and recovery rate may depend on which structures were damaged.

Other common injuries sustained during a car accident that may result in delayed pain include concussion, spinal injuries, and muscular strain. In addition, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and other joints are also vulnerable to injuries that may not cause pain immediately.

How do you treat car accident injuries?

Your MyDoc Urgent Care visit starts with a thorough physical exam, a detailed discussion of your symptoms, and diagnostic studies as necessary to identify the cause of your symptoms.

Based on those results, your provider designs a personalized treatment strategy that may include the following:

We also assess and treat open wounds or abrasions that may require meticulous cleaning to remove foreign debris and prevent infection or sutures to close wound edges and speed healing.

Visit MyDoc Urgent Care today for expert medical care in a family-friendly atmosphere. Take advantage of our walk-in services, call the office, or schedule an appointment online.

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