The Delayed Effects of Whiplash Post Auto-Accident

Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or multi-car collision, the injuries your injuries may not cause pain right away. That often means patients delay getting the medical treatment important for recovery. When it comes to whiplash, for example, the consequences of not getting treatment can cause you trouble for the rest of your life.

At Blue Ridge Pain Management Association, our team of pain management specialists understands the importance of recognizing the signs of whiplash. That’s why we’re here to share the delayed effects of the condition, so you don’t ignore any warning signs and heal from your injury as soon as possible.

After an auto accident

Your number one priority after an auto accident is to ensure that you and your passengers are okay. Scan your body and move your limbs. Don’t rely on your pain sensors to tell you something’s wrong as your body is full of adrenaline and other natural pain killers. Just because nothing hurts doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the accident unscathed.

The human body is incredibly resilient and it’s designed to protect itself when in danger. When put in a high-stress incident, like an auto accident, your fight-or-flight response kicks in and your body releases a healthy dose of adrenaline, the hormone that prepares your body to run or fight. It causes your heart rate to increase, your pupils to dilate, and your blood pressure to go up. Adrenaline also increases your blood glucose levels and sends more blood to your muscles.

Your body continues to release this hormone until you’re no longer in danger. Yet even after the surge of adrenaline ends, the levels remain high as it takes time for the body to readjust to its natural levels. This lingering aftermath can often mask the signs of whiplash and lead to not seeking a medical evaluation after your auto accident.

Understanding whiplash

Whiplash occurs when the head is thrown forward and back in a whipping motion and is common in both front-end and rear-end accidents. The symptoms of whiplash can take 6-12 hours to become noticeable. All too often, we see patients leave the scene of an accident thinking they weren’t injured, only to wake up in the morning with moderate to severe pain and stiffness in their neck or shoulder.

The delayed effects of whiplash occur because of the surge of adrenaline had dissipated and returned to normal levels. To make matters worse, the body has recognized the damage that occurred and started its healing process, which results in inflammation. In addition to pain and stiffness, you may experience other whiplash symptoms like:

We recommend seeking help at the first sign that something’s wrong. Or better yet, after any auto accident. When you see a specialist post-accident, they can determine the extent of your injury and provide the appropriate treatment, reducing your risk of lingering complications.

When whiplash symptoms are delayed

Most of the signs of whiplash appear within a week after a motor vehicle accident, but there is a condition known as the Late Whiplash Syndrome. This neck injury is characterized by symptoms that develop months, or even years, after the accident.

If you’re noticing any whiplash symptoms, even if it’s been some time since your auto accident, it may be beneficial to have a doctor look at it and see if they’re related.

When you’ve been in a car accident, don’t wait to seek help. When left untreated, whiplash and other neck injuries can cause pain and discomfort that lasts longer than it should.

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