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Why You Should Seek a Medical Evaluation After a Car Accident: Pain Is Often Delayed

Why You Should Seek a Medical Evaluation After a Car Accident: Pain Is Often Delayed

Each year in the United States, there are approximately six million motor vehicle accidents on our nation’s roadways. In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, you’re operating in a state of stress as you ensure that everyone is OK. This fight-or-flight response can help you handle the crash itself, but it can also mask symptoms of an injury.

For this reason, and others, the team here at Peak Spine & Sports Medicine, led by Drs. Jill Kalariya and Milind Patel, feel that a post-accident evaluation with us is important.

Here’s a look.

Your stress response

Saying that car accidents can be stressful is a huge understatement. When you’re in an accident, your body responds with lightning speed, and your sympathetic nervous system initiates a stress response. Also called the flight-or-fight response, your body releases hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that are designed to help you safely navigate your way out of a potentially dangerous situation.

One of the effects that these hormones can have is that they suppress pain so that it doesn’t distract or hinder you. As a result, you may feel fine after your accident, but hours, or even days, later, you begin to feel some pain and discomfort.

Your soft tissue response

You go to the gym after some time off and work out — you’re feeling great when you leave and for the rest of the day. The next morning, however, you find that you can barely move because of sore soft tissues.

This same effect can occur when you’re in a car accident. For example, if your head is rocked back and forth (whiplash), the ligaments and other connective tissues in your neck can be damaged, but the symptoms of this damage may not present themselves for a day or two.

This same issue can crop up in your back, which is another common car crash injury. When you’re in an accident, the impact can force your spine to compress and stretch, leading to damage in the soft, connective tissues that you may not feel right away.

Your brain response

Concussions are some of the more common results of a car accident, and the signs of this condition can take hours, days, and even weeks, to present themselves. Brain injuries are complex, and the signs may be subtle — you feel groggy or you have a headache. In other words, just because there’s no lump on your head or bleeding, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a concussion.

Get peace of mind

For all the reasons we outline above, and for peace of mind, it’s always a good idea to have us check you out after a car accident. As medical experts who specialize in auto injuries, we know what to look out for, and we can identify injuries of which you may not be aware.

If we do find an injury, we immediately get to work to address the injury and your comfort through our pain management services.

If you’ve been in a car accident, please contact our office in Marlton, New Jersey, sooner rather than later, for a full evaluation and treatment.

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