Car accidents can be devastating, especially those that result in severe injuries. When those injuries lead to extended or chronic pain, the results can be life-altering. Even car accidents with minimal damage can result in severe injuries and chronic pain.
Car accidents cause soreness and pain, even if you have no apparent injuries, and minor injuries often heal with time. Generally, the more serious the injury, the longer you are likely to experience pain.
It is important to note that everyone experiences pain differently, and the length of time until you no longer experience soreness or pain varies. The length of time you experience pain and soreness depends on several factors, such as whether it was a minor or significant accident, the speed at the time of the accident, whether you were wearing a seat belt, or have preexisting medical conditions. Only a medical professional can determine if you are injured and give you a time frame on how long you might experience pain.
What Types of Injuries Can Cause Lingering Soreness?
Pain and soreness are expected following a car accident, as the body is subjected to trauma and often brute force during a collision. Many injuries heal over time, but some can lead to extended periods of pain, such as the following:
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries are common in car accidents, either from your head striking an object or something in the car thrown against your head during the crash. The CDC estimates that 20 percent of all traumatic brain injuries occur in car accidents. Traumatic brain injuries are serious emergencies that need treatment as soon as possible. If you have continued throbbing or stabbing headaches, seek emergency medical treatment, especially if you still have the pain several days after the accident.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a very common injury in rear-end accidents. The crash’s impact sends your seat forward while your head and neck are braced back in the seat, but as the car moves forward, your head and neck are suddenly thrust forward. The violent movement causes tearing-type injuries to the muscles and tendons in your head, back, and neck, resulting in herniated discs.
- Spinal cord injuries: In the United States, car accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries. Some back pain is normal following an accident; however, spinal cord injuries usually cause extreme pain and severe pressure in the back. Spinal cord injuries need emergency medical care and possibly surgery to repair.
- Sprains and strains: Car accidents force the body to move unnaturally and into positions that strain tendons and muscles, causing them to tear. Muscles and tendons become inflamed due to the tear, resulting in soreness and pain. Generally, strains and sprains repair themselves over time but may require medical attention if the pain persists.
Could Pain Be a Sign of More Serious Injuries?
Soreness and pain are expected following a car accident. Even if there are no obvious signs of injury, the body experiences a lot of trauma during a car accident. It is in your best interest to seek medical attention the same day as the accident, even if you think your injuries are minor.
Not all serious injuries are external, and many do not present symptoms for hours or even days after an accident. You should pay close attention to the following symptoms:
- Persistent headache: Injuries such as whiplash create tension in the shoulder and neck muscles, which often result in headaches. As the muscles begin to relax, headaches generally go away as well. If you experience a persistent headache that does not ease, you could be suffering from a brain injury. A medical doctor should evaluate you.
- Sharp pain: If you are suffering from a sharp pain, especially new sharp pain, in the days following the accident, you should see a doctor. Adrenaline can mask the pain for some time after an accident, and the sudden onset of pain could mean you have a severe injury.
- Extremity weakness: If you are experiencing weakness in your extremities, you must seek immediate medical attention, especially if the weakness worsens over time.
- Worsening pain: If your soreness worsens rather than improves, this could indicate more severe injuries.
- Confusion and disorientation: If these feelings persist, they could indicate an injury, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Vision or hearing problems: If you experience symptoms such as blurred or tunnel vision, or ringing in the ears, see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Chest or abdominal pain: Seat belts, steering wheels, and airbags can cause severe bruising due to the crash’s impact. These painful bruises can mask internal pain in the chest or abdominal areas. They could indicate internal organ damage or internal bleeding.
- Drowsiness: If drowsiness lingers and you find it difficult to stay awake or focus, you could be suffering from an injury and need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
No matter how severe your injuries seem, it is always critical to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. A medical professional is the only person who can tell you if you are injured.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Help Clients Injured in Car Crashes
Car accidents can be devastating, especially when injuries lead to chronic pain. If you have been injured in an accident, speak with one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers. Our legal team at East Coast Trial Lawyers will protect your rights. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.