Vehicle accidents are events that nobody should take lightly, even those that seem minor like a fender bender. Depending on where the vehicle is hit, at what angle, and how their bodies are tossed, it can culminate into minor or severe injuries and sometimes even death.
It’s the severe injuries that receive the headlines, but what about those lingering issues? The mental and physical symptoms you can’t yet or barely feel directly after the accident can be debilitating and may take days or even weeks to rise to the surface. That’s why it’s critical that all involved should seek a medical evaluation no matter how severe the crash. If you feel fine, that’s great, but getting a professional assessment may identify something sinister hiding out of sight.
So what are the common side effects we can experience after a vehicle accident?
- Headaches or migraines: The feelings of a minor or severe headache is a semi-regular occurrence after being involved in an accident. If the headaches become consistent, get yourself checked out as the pain could be a symptom of a blood clot in your brain, a neck injury or a concussion.
- Neck and shoulder pain or stiffness: Our bodies get jammed and jolted into positions they aren’t used to, and most of the time, aren’t meant to be put into during a car crash. Thus, whiplash is a frequent post-accident side-effect that may not show itself for a while and can occur in a collision of less than 14 mph.
- Back pain: Back injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained after a vehicle crash. Rear-end crashes result in lower back pain 50% of the time and 75% of the time with side-impact crashes. Pain in your back could indicate muscle and ligament damage, or damage to spinal vertebrae. A neck or spinal injury can also result in numbness to your extremities.
- Abdominal discomfort: Pain or swelling in your abdomen can be a sign of internal bleeding. Other side effects of internal bleeding can include deep purple bruising, fainting and dizziness. Do not brush off these signs and seek immediate medical attention as internal bleeding can be life-threatening.
- Changes in one’s personality or physical abilities: When the personality or one’s physical capabilities drastically shift after they experience a vehicle accident, it is safe to assume they suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites that vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of TBI’s in the United States. Symptoms of a TBI can include poor memory, impaired movement, vision and hearing issues, a sharp change in personality or depression.
Lastly, be aware of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting in nightmares and flashbacks of the crash. Children are more often to experience PTSD than adults with more driving experience.