Why Is Whiplash Pain Usually Delayed?

Aug 19, 2021

The most common car accident injury with rear-end collisions is whiplash. When you’ve been in a stressful event like a car accident, your body floods with adrenaline that helps initiate your fight or flight response. You may also experience a degree of shock from such a traumatic event. In fact, you might not realize you should seek out treatment for whiplash if you don’t have pain right away. That is why you should visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible to get checked out for possible injuries so you don’t delay treatment that may be necessary.

How a Whiplash Injury Occurs

When your vehicle is rear-ended by another, the force of impact can cause your head and neck to snap forward and backward rapidly. This can put extreme pressure and strain on your head and neck, which is what ends up causing you pain and discomfort. Unlike the rest of your body, your head and neck are not protected in any way during a car accident. While a seat belt helps keep your upper body in place from shoulder to hip, there is nothing to restrain your head and neck except for the headrest or if the airbag deploys. However, you may not recognize you have whiplash right away. Shock and adrenaline can temporarily mask symptoms of an injury like whiplash. It can also take time for your body to react to the injury. With some injuries, swelling may begin right away, while others may take a bit longer for swelling and inflammation to set in. Both swelling and inflammation can contribute to your pain and help you recognize there is something wrong.

Delayed Symptoms of Whiplash

It may take time for swelling and inflammation to set in after a car accident and whiplash injury. This can delay any pain symptoms associated with your whiplash injury or car accident experience. As your muscles react to the physical pressure and stress of the car accident, they may start to experience swelling and the muscle strain can even lead to tears. As muscle strains set in, you will start to experience soreness in your neck muscles, which may even extend to your upper back and shoulders. Over time, your muscles may become stiff and impact your typical range of motion. This means you may not be able to turn your neck in certain directions without experiencing pain and discomfort. You might not experience all symptoms of whiplash until hours or days after the car accident.

Hidden Injuries after a Car Accident

Whiplash is an example of a hidden injury after a car accident because you can go for days without realizing something more serious is going on. Many people try to wait out their pain and discomfort after a car accident, hoping it will go away on its own. However, if you have an injury like whiplash and avoid going to the doctor, then you risk delaying your treatment for whiplash. When you delay treatment for an injury, it can lead to additional complications like chronic pain. Car accident doctors have the knowledge and expertise to recognize and accurately diagnose car accident injuries so you can begin the treatment process as soon as possible. Even if you haven’t developed all the symptoms of your injury yet, the sooner you get started on treatment for whiplash, the sooner you can start experiencing pain relief.

How To Treat a Whiplash Injury

Car accident doctors use a range of treatment options and techniques to address a whiplash injury. When you visit a car accident doctor at AICA Orthopedics, our team of doctors will provide you with individualized treatment and care that address your specific whiplash symptoms. They will also treat the root cause of the injury and source of your pain so you can experience results that last. Depending on your specific symptoms, your doctor may recommend treatment that addresses any misalignments in your spine that are contributing to your pain. Chiropractic adjustments can resolve misalignments and improve healthy functioning for your musculoskeletal system and nervous system. Physical therapy may help you recover from a whiplash injury by helping to improve your strength, stability, and mobility after a car accident. Visit AICA Orthopedics in Tucker to find out what your treatment for whiplash will look like and get started today!


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