Millions of Americans are injured in car accidents each year. Common injuries can cause pain and other symptoms that may take hours or even days to fully appear. When you’ve been in an accident, the shock and adrenaline can keep you from fully recognizing your injuries. Once you have a chance to rest, you may start to notice signs and symptoms of an injury. Even something as simple as a headache can be a sign that you have suffered an injury after a car accident. Take precautions and get checked by a car accident doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after a car accident:
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Back Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Swelling and Inflammation
- Stiffness and Restricted Mobility
- Numbness and Tingling
- Mood or Behavior Changes
What Are The Common Back Injuries From Car Accidents
Strains, sprains, and spinal disc injuries in the lower back are some of the most common car accident injuries. When another vehicle collides with yours, you may get jolted and jostled around. The sudden force of impact from a car accident can damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments, especially those in your lower back that support your lumbar spine. An injury to your lower back can cause pain, stiffness, tightness, and muscle spasms. The lumbar spine bears your body’s weight while muscles, tendons, and ligaments provide stability and support to the spine. These soft tissues also help you move and provide flexibility for you to twist and bend with ease.
Strain and sprain injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can make common, everyday movements painful and uncomfortable. Too much force or pressure on your lower back can lead to lumbar spine sprains and strains that your car accident doctor can treat. The force of impact from a car accident can even lead to a misalignment of the spinal discs that separate your vertebra. A spinal disc injury can cause pain, tingling, and numbness that radiates elsewhere in the body. Talk to your car accident doctor if you start to notice signs and symptoms of a sprain or spinal disc injury so you can get the quality treatment and care you need as soon as possible.
Lumbar Strains And Sprains From Car Accidents
Visit a car accident doctor to find out if you are dealing with a strain or sprain in your lower back. While strains and sprains may cause similar symptoms, your doctor will be able to determine the type of injury to the lumbar spine. The main difference between strains and sprains is what type of soft tissue is injured. A sprain refers to an injury that affects ligaments, while strains affect muscles and tendons.
Ligaments connect bones and also help hold joints together. Joints throughout the body rely on ligaments to help keep them stable. A sudden blow to the body or twist of the spine can force a joint out of place. When this happens, the ligaments that support the joint may stretch out of their typical range of motion, leading to a sprain.
Muscles and tendons are two other types of soft tissues that provide support and stability to the spine and elsewhere in the body. Muscles in your lower back help you twist, turn, and extend the spinal column. Tendons connect muscle to bone, which means they help with support and movement. A car accident can lead to strained muscles or tendons, which can cause discomfort when you bend, twist, or lift.
Both sprains and strains in the lumbar spine region can cause pain that gets worse with certain movements. You may also experience muscle cramping or spasms in the lower back. If you suffered a lumbar sprain or strain in a car accident, you may notice a decrease in range of motion. This means you might find it more difficult to bend or straighten your back without exacerbating your pain.
Spinal Disc Damage From Auto Accidents
A car accident can also cause damage to your spinal discs. The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae stacked one on top of the other and separated by spinal discs. Each spinal disc has a tough outer shell with a soft, gel-like center that offers cushion and shock absorption to the spine. A sudden pressure or jostling of the body can force a spinal disc out of alignment or damage the disc itself. There are many different ways a car accident can cause damage to one or more spinal discs. Here are two main types of spinal disc injuries after a car accident:
- Bulging Disc: A bulging disc is a type of spinal disc injury where one part of the disc bulges out due to strain or pressure. The tough outer shell of the spinal disc does not tear or crack with a bulging disc. However, a bulging disc can cause pain and inflammation in the area.
- Herniated Disc: A herniated disc is a type of spinal disc injury where the outer shell becomes cracked or torn. This leads to the gel-like inner part of the disc to slip out and press against the spinal cord or even nearby nerves. A bulging disc can turn into a herniated disc, or a disc herniation can occur on its own. Common symptoms include soreness, pain, tingling, and numbness.
What Back Injury Symptoms To Expect After A Car Crash
Car accident injuries can be tricky because symptoms do not always occur right away. The stress of the accident can cause adrenaline to start pumping and prevent you from feeling pain right away. In the hours and days after the accident, you may start to recognize symptoms of a car accident injury. Here are the types of symptoms you may experience if you suffer a lower back injury in a car accident:
- Pain & Tenderness: Pain is the first thing you may notice with a lumbar spine injury. It can start out as a dull, throbbing pain or may feel like a sharp, shooting pain. You may have visible signs of an injury, like bruising or swelling. When you touch your lower back, it may feel tender and cause more pain. The pain from a lower back injury after a car accident may also worsen with certain movements.
- Stiffness & Spasms: As the soft tissues in your lower back react to an injury, they may stiffen. Stiffness in the muscles of your lower back can start to limit your mobility in the area. You may notice that once stiffness settles in, you lose some range of motion. This can make it difficult to bend or twist your lower back. You may also notice muscle spasms in the area, which can feel a painful twitch in your lower back.
- Tingling & Numbness: If nearby nerves are affected by a back injury, it can lead to tingling and numbness. Nerve damage to your lower back can cause pain, tingling, and numbness that radiates into your legs. A common condition that can occur with a lower back injury is sciatica. Sciatica is a specific type of pain where the sciatic nerve in the lower back becomes aggravated or damaged by an injury. This can cause shooting, stabbing pains that move through your hips and into your leg and foot.
Back Injury Treatment Options After An Auto Accident
After an auto accident, you may be looking for non-surgical treatment options for a more conservative approach to managing your injury. In many cases, these non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment options can address a wide range of back injuries from a car accident. These are the best non-surgical treatment options for back pain and injuries after a car accident:
- Home Remedies: If you experience mild symptoms after a car accident, then your car accident doctor may recommend at-home remedies to help. Mild pain and discomfort, like sore muscles, may respond well to gentle, non-invasive remedies you can do at home. At-home remedies may include ways to address pain, inflammation, and swelling, like resting. You may also try over-the-counter medications to help reduce inflammation and pain symptoms. Alternating ice and heat to your lower back can also help soothe aches and pains, reduce inflammation, and improve the circulation of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the area. Your doctor may also recommend at-home remedies alongside other treatment approaches, like chiropractic care and physical therapy.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors treat a wide range of spine injuries, including auto accident injuries. While chiropractors are commonly associated with treating the spine, they actually address the whole musculoskeletal system and nervous system. Your spinal column houses the central nervous system, which helps your brain effectively communicate with the rest of your body. Muscles, spinal discs, and other soft tissues all play a significant role in supporting your spine. An auto accident chiropractor will identify any misalignments in the spine caused by the accident. They will use gentle chiropractic adjustments and other natural treatment techniques to resolve misalignments in the spine. Chiropractors help restore joints in the spine to their optimal positioning to support healthy functioning that impacts your whole body. When you visit a chiropractor after a car accident, they may use techniques like soft tissue mobilization to address pain, tightness, and stiffness in your muscles to help improve the range of motion in your lower back.
- Physical Therapy: Another non-surgical treatment option for back injuries is physical therapy. You can work with a physical therapist to help you regain strength, flexibility, and mobility after a car accident. A lower back injury can affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your spine, causing them to tense and weaken. A physical therapist will pinpoint the cause of your lower back symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan that will help you recover. Physical therapy will typically involve a combination of stretches, exercises, and therapeutic massage to support your healing process. Stretches and exercises help strengthen damaged muscles and tissues so they can better support your back. These techniques also help you regain mobility in the area, so you can twist, turn, and bend safely and without discomfort. When you work with a physical therapist for a car accident injury, you will notice improved flexibility as your back becomes more supported.
Why Is There Shoulder And Neck Pain After A Car Crash
he sudden force of impact from a car accident can cause your upper body to jolt or jostle around. While wearing a seatbelt can prevent you from being ejected from the vehicle, it cannot protect you from all types of injuries. Neck and shoulder injuries are common after a car accident because of the amount of pressure and stress on the area when the accident occurs. In fact, whiplash is the most common car accident injury. Whiplash causes the muscles in your neck to stretch and strain out of their typical range of motion. When another vehicle collides with yours, it can cause your head and neck to snap forward and backward violently. This can lead to strained or torn muscles in your neck and other soft tissue damage. A whiplash injury can also impact your spine in your neck and upper back, causing pain and other symptoms in the area. Your shoulder joints are also more susceptible to injury during a car accident, which can cause pain, tenderness, and reduced range of motion. Pain and discomfort in your neck and shoulders is common after a car accident. Visit your car accident doctor to find out more about what is causing your pain and get started on treatment for your injuries as soon as possible to experience lasting pain relief.
Whiplash Caused By Motor Vehicle Accidents
Whiplash is the most common car accident injury. The sudden impact during a car accident can cause your head and neck to snap forward and backward violently. When this occurs, your neck muscles stretch and strain out of their typical range of motion in both directions. A whiplash injury can cause muscle sprains and tears in your neck. This can cause symptoms that radiate into your head, shoulders, and back. Whiplash caused by a motor vehicle accident can cause tenderness in your neck, and you may notice your shoulders and upper back become tender to the touch. The pain of a whiplash injury can radiate into other parts of the body, especially if nearby nerves become aggravated or damaged. Strained or torn muscles in your neck can impact the stability and healthy functioning of your spine, too. This disruption can negatively impact the functioning of your central nervous system
Symptoms of whiplash can take hours or even days to appear. As your muscles and soft tissues react to the sudden trauma to the body, it can take a bit of time for the pain and inflammation to set in. Muscle strains can cause pain and discomfort to develop in your neck. As your body responds to the injury and trauma of the car accident, stiffness will start to develop. You may start to notice difficulty turning your head without increased pain and other symptoms. You may experience pain, tingling, and numbness if whiplash causes a spinal disc injury or a pinched nerve. When whiplash causes a pinched nerve, you may notice tingling and numbness that radiates from your neck and into your shoulder, arm, and hand. Whiplash pain can also affect your whole back, putting more pressure on certain areas of the spine to help carry the load. Visit your car accident doctor as soon as possible to get checked out for a possible whiplash injury before the pain and discomfort starts to impact your healthy functioning.
Why Car Crashes Cause Rotator Cuff Tears
You can suffer a shoulder injury from a car crash even if you were responsibly wearing your seatbelt. While your seatbelt helps prevent serious injury, shoulder damage can still occur during an accident. Even a minor car accident can cause chronic pain if left untreated. The sudden jerking movement of your upper body in a car accident can cause a tear in your shoulder joint, known as a rotator cuff injury. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a tough band of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff that helps hold the joint in place. The rotator cuff helps support your shoulder’s wide range of motion. A torn rotator cuff can occur whether or not you saw the accident coming. If you brace yourself for impact, you may tense your shoulders, which is a natural reaction to an incoming stressor. However, this can actually lead to more damage, especially in the tissues that support your joints.
The most common signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are pain, weakness, and limited shoulder mobility. You may even hear a cracking or snapping sound when you move your shoulder in certain ways. A rotator cuff tear can cause symptoms that occur in your neck and upper back, along with your shoulder joint. Significant pain from a rotator cuff tear may get worse when you reach your arms over your head or behind your back. Pain may also get worse at night, and you may have difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep in. A rotator cuff tear can also lead to progressive weakness in your shoulder. When your shoulder is injured, it can put additional stress and pressure on your neck and upper back. Pain and inflammation can occur in your shoulder, neck, and back, causing muscle weakness and tightness.
Signs Of Neck And Shoulder Pain After A Car Accident
Neck and shoulder injuries can cause a wide range of symptoms after a car accident. You may be surprised to learn that pain does not appear instantly after a car accident. That is because your body is likely flooded with adrenaline and the shock of the situation can limit your pain receptors. In the hours and days after the accident, the pain may start to set in. Soft tissue injuries from a car accident can cause pain and discomfort as tenderness and stiffness develop. What might seem like mild discomfort after a car accident can turn into more serious pain and reduced mobility as injury symptoms set in. That’s why it is better to see a car accident doctor as soon as possible.
Car accident doctors know how to recognize the signs of neck and shoulder injuries even before all your symptoms appear. Injuries like whiplash and shoulder damage can cause pain and other symptoms to gradually appear. In addition to neck and shoulder pain, you may also start to experience headaches, back pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness. You might think a headache after a car accident is simply a reaction to the stress of the situation. However, a headache can also be a sign of something more serious going on. Tingling and numbness, like a pins and needles sensation, can also signal that you have suffered some type of nerve damage. In addition to more obvious symptoms of an injury, like bruising and discoloration, you should talk to your car accident doctor right away about any pain or discomfort out of the ordinary.
Common symptoms of neck and shoulder injuries include:
- Pain and tenderness
- Bruising and contusions
- Swelling and inflammation
- Stiffness and soreness
- Tingling and numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced range of motion
Neck And Shoulder Pain Treatment Options After A Car Crash
Visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible to determine the best treatment options for you. In many cases, a car accident doctor can provide you with conservative and non-invasive treatment options to effectively manage your pain and effectively heal the injured area. Here are 3 examples of common treatments for neck and shoulder injuries after a car accident:
- Home Remedies: For mild injuries, your car accident doctor may recommend home remedies to help address your neck and shoulder pain. The best thing you can do for a recent injury is to rest. This gives your body a chance to start the natural healing process and prevents you from experiencing further damage or injury. However, too much rest without other approaches can contribute to stiffness and an increase in pain. That’s why you want to use other home remedies like cold and warm compresses to help. Applying ice to your neck or shoulder will restrict blood flow to the area, which helps reduce inflammation and swelling. A warm compress or heating pad will soothe sore, aching muscles and promote oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the area. You may also try over-the-counter medications to assist with reducing inflammation and managing pain, though these do not address the root cause of your pain. Other home remedies may include gentle stretches or other techniques recommended by your car accident doctor.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors use an all-natural and hands-on approach to managing your neck and shoulder pain after a car accident. While chiropractors are primarily associated with spine injuries, they can actually treat a wide range of issues that impact your musculoskeletal system. Damage to the soft tissues like muscles and tendons that support your spine can benefit greatly from chiropractic care. A neck injury may also cause issues with the spinal discs or a misalignment in your spine. A chiropractor can use gentle chiropractic adjustments to help resolve any misalignments and restore healthy functioning to the area. This will also help restore normal movement to your neck. Chiropractors can also perform adjustments to other joints in the body, like the shoulder. Once they determine your shoulder is properly aligned, a car accident chiropractor can use other hands-on approaches like soft tissue mobilization to promote healing in the area.
- Physical Therapy: Stretches and exercises play a huge role in supporting your healing and recovery from neck and shoulder injuries. A car accident injury like whiplash or a rotator cuff tear can restrict movement, making it more difficult or painful to turn your head or raise your arm. Physical therapy will provide you with a personalized plan to address your car accident symptoms and support your healing process. Your car accident doctor will walk you through stretches that help soothe aching muscles in and around the injured area. Oftentimes, the muscles and soft tissues around an injured area can become weakened or stiff as a result of the injury. Gentle stretches can help reduce the effects of stiffness and tightened muscles, which helps you maintain your range of motion. Physical therapy exercises help you regain strength and mobility in the muscles and soft tissues that support the injured area.
How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries After A Car Crash?
A sudden blow to the head can lead to a traumatic brain injury. During a car accident, the sudden impact can cause your head to hit part of the vehicle, like the steering wheel, window, or dashboard. This can cause your brain to collide with the skull. The most common type of traumatic brain injury suffered during a car accident is a concussion. Unfortunately, it is common to experience a concussion from a car accident. If you hit your head during the accident, you might notice a raised bump or swelling at the site. Even if it seems like a small bump or bruise, you want to get checked out by a doctor right away to rule out a more serious injury like a traumatic brain injury.
The severity of a traumatic brain injury can vary, but all types of TBIs should be addressed by a medical professional. A concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury can cause a wide range of symptoms, so you might not realize you have suffered a serious injury at first. In addition to pain and headaches, you might experience disorientation, confusion, dizziness, and nausea. Traumatic brain injuries can cause neurological symptoms that may take hours or days to appear. Loss of consciousness and memory loss can also occur with a traumatic brain injury.
Here are examples of the different types of traumatic brain injuries:
- Mild Concussion: A mild concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. While the term mild makes it sound less serious, any type of injury or damage to the brain should be taken very seriously. A mild concussion can cause headaches, pain, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It is possible to lose consciousness with a mild concussion, though this typically occurs briefly, or for less than 30 minutes. You may experience disorientation, confusion, or a dazed feeling after a mild concussion for a few days.
- Moderate TBI: A moderate traumatic brain injury may include a more severe concussion or another type of head injury. This type of traumatic brain injury will typically include a loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and symptoms can last for up to one week.
- Severe TBI: A severe traumatic brain injury can cause you to lose consciousness for a full day or longer. While less common than a mild or moderate TBI, this type of injury will require significant medical intervention to prevent swelling or bleeding on the brain.
The most common type of traumatic brain injury is known as a closed TBI. This means the outside force that caused the injury did not penetrate the skull. Instead, the primary results of the injury cause the brain to swell. An open TBI refers to when something penetrates the skull and may even damage brain tissue. The most common type of traumatic brain injury from a car accident is a closed mild or moderate concussion.
Concussion From A Car Accident
If you hit your head on the dashboard or window during a car accident, the first thing you might notice is a raised bump where the impact occurred. You might be tempted to shrug this off as a “goose egg” or simple bruise, but there could be something more serious going on beneath the surface. A concussion from a car accident can occur from a blow to the head. You can also get a concussion from a severe whiplash-type injury when your head is jolted and shaken intensely. Concussions can cause serious symptoms that should not be ignored. While most concussions are not life-threatening, they do require medical attention. Treatment for a concussion will depend on the symptoms you experience and the severity of damage to your brain.
A concussion can cause a range of symptoms that affect you physically, cognitively, and emotionally. You may also experience symptoms that are more easily observed by others and may not recognize yourself. Here are examples of concussion symptoms from a car accident:
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Vision Disturbances
- Irregular sleep
- Increased anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention
- Memory loss
- A dazed appearance
- Memory problems
- Personality changes
- Slow reflexes
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble waking up
Each person will respond to a concussion injury differently, so it is important to pay attention to your symptoms after a car accident. Symptoms of a mild concussion may last for days to a week. Post-traumatic headaches and dizziness may last for weeks or months after the concussion occurred. The healing time of a concussion will depend on the severity of the traumatic brain injury and whether you have suffered a previous concussion.
Signs Of TBI After Motor Vehicle Accidents
A traumatic brain injury after a motor vehicle accident can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common sign of a traumatic brain injury includes loss of consciousness. A mild traumatic brain injury may result in passing out after a blow to the head. A more severe traumatic brain injury may involve loss of consciousness for hours or even days at a time.
Signs of a traumatic brain injury include physical, cognitive, emotional, and observable symptoms. Physical symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include head pain, headaches, dilated pupils, and blurred vision. Other physical symptoms may include dizziness, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound. A traumatic brain injury can lead to convulsions or seizures. Someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury may sleep for long periods of time or have difficulty falling asleep at all. Cognitive signs of a traumatic brain injury include confusion or difficulty remembering the accident or recent events. A traumatic brain injury can cause restlessness and agitation. Emotional symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include mood swings or changes in personality or behavior. You may experience irritability, an increase in anxiety, feelings of sadness, or frustration. A loved one may also observe symptoms of a traumatic brain injury you might not recognize, like slurred speech, looking dazed and confused, difficulty concentrating or remembering, and loss of consciousness.
How To Treat TBI Caused By Car Crash
The treatment options for a traumatic brain injury will depend on the severity and your symptoms. In the case of a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, you may be able to manage symptoms at home with your doctor’s permission. This may include a short period of rest where you do not engage in activities like sports, school, or work. Certain activities can aggravate your symptoms and worsen your discomfort. A mild TBI may require a few days of rest after the injury, while a more severe TBI may require longer periods of time. In the immediate aftermath of the car accident, you may want to avoid loud sounds, bright lights, and other overstimulating settings that can increase your discomfort. Sometimes, going back to your regular activities too soon can also make your symptoms worse or last longer.
Consider natural and non-invasive approaches to treating a traumatic brain injury after a car accident. Chiropractic care can provide you with an all-natural solution to recovering from a head injury. A chiropractor will address your main symptoms while also addressing the source of your discomfort. A car accident injury like a concussion can cause a wide range of symptoms, so your chiropractor will want to know how the injury affected you. Talk to your car accident chiropractor about what symptoms you experienced, when you first noticed them, and whether they got worse with certain movements or activities. A car accident chiropractor will walk you through concussion protocols to assess the severity of your injury and determine appropriate next steps.
Your chiropractor will recommend that you get enough rest after the car accident. This will include minimizing your use of electronics, like watching TV or using a cell phone or computer. Screens, bright lights, and noises can worsen your symptoms and even delay your recovery. Because your balance, focus, and coordination can be impacted by a traumatic brain injury, it is best to avoid driving a vehicle right away. Your car accident chiropractor will also recommend you drink plenty of water to help prevent dehydration, especially if you have experienced nausea and vomiting. Car accident chiropractors can help you manage your symptoms after the accident with gentle, therapeutic approaches to provide you with pain relief and support your recovery process.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries From Vehicular Crashes?
Soft tissue injuries are common in car accidents. Damage to soft tissues can include contusions, sprains, and strains. A contusion is the medical term for a bruise that typically develops after blunt force trauma like a blow to the head or other part of the body. Contusions are commonly associated with discoloration, pain, and swelling at the site. A sprain refers to a type of ligament injury after a sudden twisting or wrenching of a joint. Sprains commonly occur in the ankles, knees, and wrists. A strain refers to an injury to muscles or tendons where they are stretched out of their typical range of motion. Muscle sprains in the neck from a car accident injury are known as whiplash and are one of the most common car accident injuries.
A car accident can lead to soft tissue injuries because of how much your body is exposed to potential trauma. While a seatbelt can help prevent you from being ejected from the vehicle in the event of a crash, it cannot protect you from injury altogether. The sudden force of impact on your vehicle can cause your body to jolt or jostle violently, which can put a lot of pressure on your soft tissues. These soft tissues are designed to help support and stabilize bones and joints and allow for movement and flexibility. When you experience a soft tissue injury, it can cause pain in the area that extends elsewhere in the body. Soft tissue injuries can lead to stiffness, tenderness, and a restricted range of motion. While you might not think a bruise is that big of a deal, it can be a sign of something more serious going on underneath. That’s why you want to get checked out by a car accident doctor right away to rule out potential injuries.
Pinched Nerve Caused By Car Accidents
You may be surprised to learn that you can get a pinched nerve from a car accident. A pinched nerve refers to any type of swelling, inflammation, or misalignment that puts too much pressure on a nearby nerve. When soft tissues swell due to a car accident injury, they can encroach on nearby nerves. Swollen muscles and other tissues may aggravate nearby nerves, causing symptoms of pain, tingling, and numbness. A spinal injury like a herniated disc or misalignment of the vertebrae can also lead to a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve caused by a car accident will commonly occur in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Here are three examples of common pinched nerves from car accidents:
- Whiplash – Whiplash is the most common type of car accident injury. When your vehicle collides with another, your body can jolt and jostle around. A whiplash injury occurs when your head and neck snap forward and backward violently. Your neck muscles can strain out of their typical range of motion, causing muscle strains or tearing. Swelling and inflammation can occur in your neck, which can compress nearby nerves. A whiplash injury can also lead to a herniated disc, where a damaged spinal disc puts pressure on a nearby nerve root. A pinched nerve from whiplash will typically cause pain, tingling, and numbness that extends from your neck and into your shoulder, arm, and hand.
- Shoulder Injury – A shoulder injury from a car accident can also lead to a pinched nerve. Soft tissue damage in the shoulder joint can affect mobility in your shoulder and arm. Pain, swelling, and inflammation can make it difficult to lift your arm or reach behind your back. When soft tissues around the shoulder joint are damaged, like with a rotator cuff injury, then your joint can become weakened. This can also impact nearby nerves, causing compression and leading to tingling and numbness.
- Sciatica – Sciatica refers to a type of lower back pain from injury or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is located at the base of your spine in your lower back. An injury to your lower back can cause pain, swelling, and restricted movement. If swollen tissues or a slipped disc occur near the sciatic nerve, then you may experience this specific type of pinched nerve pain known as sciatica. Sciatica will typically cause a sharp, shooting pain that runs through the hip and buttock into the leg and foot. It is common for sciatica to only affect one side of your body.
Car Crash Abrasions, Contusions, And Lacerations
While it might be tempting to wait out a soft tissue injury, you can actually end up dealing with a whole host of complications if left untreated. Soft tissue injuries like abrasions, contusions, and lacerations may seem minor, but they require appropriate medical attention so you can heal properly. A minor injury like an abrasion or contusion can develop into a major problem if not addressed promptly or appropriately. Soft tissues include your skin, connective tissues like muscles and ligaments, fat, blood vessels, tendons, and more. Damage to these soft tissues can appear in the form of scrapes, cuts, and bruises after a car accident.
An abrasion refers to a mild injury where the skin has become scratched or broken. People commonly refer to abrasions as a “skinned elbow” or “skinned knee.” When one or more of the skin’s surface layers become broken, it can cause light bleeding and redness in the area. An abrasion can develop into something more serious if dirt or debris gets into the scraped skin and develops into an infection. Abrasions need to be treated properly to help prevent infection and support proper and efficient healing.
A contusion is the medical term for a bruise. While you may think of a bruise as no big deal, it can be a sign of a more serious injury underneath. A contusion to your arms or legs may look like a black and blue discolored spot on your skin. However, contusions can also occur without leaving a visible sign of injury. One example of a hidden contusion injury is a head injury. You may suffer a blow to the head during a car accident that causes bruising, swelling, or bleeding inside your skull and around the brain. This type of bruising is known as a cerebral contusion and will typically accompany a concussion.
A laceration refers to a cut or gash to the skin. These are the most common type of soft tissue injuries and can range from minor to severe. Minor cuts may require cleaning and a bandage, while a more serious gash could require stitches or even surgery. Broken glass or other pieces of the vehicle can scrape or gouge into the skin, leading to a laceration. The contents of your car can also fly around freely during an accident and cut your skin. Lacerations are easy to spot and will typically require emergency treatment to stop the bleeding.
Tendon Injuries That Can Happen After An Auto Accident
Tough, fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones are called tendons. Tendons help support joint movement by pulling bones when a muscle moves or contracts. Tendon injuries commonly occur in the ankles, elbows, shoulders, hips, and knees. Tendon tears can develop slowly over time due to wear and tear on the body. You can also suffer an acute, or sudden, tendon injury after an auto accident. You may hear a sudden snapping or popping sound when the injury occurs, followed by severe pain and discomfort. Bruising can develop over the area where the tendon injury occurred. A tendon injury can make certain movements more painful or feel impossible. Many tendon injuries will reduce your range of motion and the area may feel tender and warm to the touch.
Here are three different types of tendon injuries that can happen after a car accident:
- ACL tear – ACL stands for the anterior cruciate ligament that supports your knee joint. The ACL connects your femur to your tibia, allowing your knee to bend and straighten. A sudden blow or pressure to the knee can lead to an ACL tear. When the ACL is injured, the area will swell and you may have difficulty standing or walking. Torn soft tissues in the knee joint can leave you feeling unstable, making it difficult to walk. Severe pain in the area may occur after a sudden popping or cracking sound. While ACL tears are more commonly associated with athletes, they can happen to anyone. This ligament runs through the middle of your knee, and if you hit the knee on your dashboard or another part of the car, it can lead to a tear.
- Tendonitis – Soft tissue damage can also develop into tendonitis after a car accident. Irritation or inflammation of tendons can lead to pain and tenderness, which makes it difficult to move nearby joints. Tendonitis commonly occurs in the shoulders, knees, elbows, and wrists. Tendonitis can feel like a dull ache near the affected area that gets worse when you move certain ways. An increase in pain may also occur when you touch the area. Swelling, tightness, and stiffness can also occur due to tendonitis.
- Bursitis – Joints have fluid-filled sacs known as bursa that provide a cushion between the tissues that make up the joint, like tendons. When a bursa becomes inflamed, it is known as bursitis. While bursitis is a temporary condition, it can aggravate your joints and tendons. Bursitis can cause pain and tenderness in and around your joints. Swelling and redness in the area may be visual signs and symptoms of bursitis after a car accident. When the bursa swells, it can cause a limited range of motion to the affected joints.
Signs & Treatments For Soft Tissue Injuries From Car Crash
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then it may take a while for you to recognize the signs and symptoms of a soft tissue injury. If abrasions, contusions, or lacerations aren’t present, then you may not see obvious signs of injury. Car accidents happen so suddenly and can cause your body to flood with adrenaline. While adrenaline helps you manage a stressful situation like a car accident, it can also mask pain and other signs of injury. Here are signs to look out for if you’ve been in a car accident and may have a soft tissue injury:
- Pain and Tenderness
- Stiffness and Tightness
- Reduced Range of Motion
- Tingling and Numbness
- Swelling and Inflammation
If you experience any of these signs of soft tissue injuries after an auto accident, then you want to visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible. Car accident doctors can spot the signs of a soft tissue injury before you even start to feel symptoms. Diagnostic tools like X-rays and CT scans can help your car accident doctor assess the area and get a better picture of what damage may have occurred. They will be able to develop a treatment plan specific to you and your injuries after a car accident.
Treatment for your soft tissue injuries after a car accident will depend on your specific injury and symptoms. However, there are a few common things you can expect with soft tissue injury treatment. Many natural and non-invasive treatment options can help reduce your pain and other symptoms so you can begin healing and recovery. Chiropractic care for car accident injuries offers safe and natural solutions to address musculoskeletal issues. Chiropractic adjustments help realign the spine and joints so that everything can function optimally. Soft tissue mobilization and therapeutic massage will also help address damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Work with your car accident chiropractor through stretches, exercises, and other techniques to help you regain strength, flexibility, and mobility after a soft tissue injury.
Common Fractures & Broken Bones Caused By Auto Accidents
You may not realize just how common it is to suffer a broken bone in a car accident. Broken bones, also known as fractures, can occur in any part of the body. In fact, a sudden trauma is the most common cause of broken bones. A car accident is a traumatic experience that puts a lot of pressure and force on the body, which can lead to significant injuries. When enough force is placed on your body, it can cause a bone to crack or break under the pressure. The force of impact during a car accident can cause you to be thrown forward or backward in the car. The jolting and jostling of your body can cause you to accidentally collide with parts of the car or bend your limbs abnormally. You can even be ejected from the vehicle in a serious accident. If you suffer a fracture from a car accident, you will need to seek immediate medical attention to get the treatment and care you need.
Here’s what you need to know about broken bones from a car accident from head to toe. A skull fracture refers to a crack or break in the tough outer shell that protects your brain. You can also suffer a spinal fracture, where one or more vertebrae suffer a crack or break from the accident. While skull fractures and spinal fractures are less common in car accidents, they can still happen and require immediate medical attention. More common broken bones from a car accident include injury to the shoulders, arms, hands, and wrists. The seatbelt helps hold you in place and keep you from getting ejected from the vehicle. However, the sudden impact can cause you to strain against the belt, putting significant pressure on your shoulder socket. Your arms may also jolt or twist around during a car accident, so they may hit part of the car with great force and lead to a break. Broken bones can happen in the lower half of your body too. From broken legs to broken ankles, you can also suffer a fracture due to the amount of force and pressure your body absorbs during a car accident.
How To Recognize Fracture & Broken Bones After Car Crash
If you suffered a broken bone in a car accident, then you may recognize signs and symptoms right away. The most obvious sign of a bone fracture is pain that gets significantly worse when you try to touch or move the area. Severe pain at the site of the break is the easiest way to recognize a broken bone after a car crash. In addition to intense pain, you may also notice redness, swelling, and contusions that appear soon after the injury takes place. The area may become discolored due to bruising and the rush of blood to the area. In some cases, you will be able to visualize a broken bone because it will look like an obvious visible deformity. Here are the different types of fractures and how they can affect you:
- Simple Fracture – A simple fracture is the most common type of broken bone. With a simple fracture, the bone breaks in one place and does not pierce the skin.
- Compound Fracture – A broken bone that does pierce through the skin is called a compound fracture. A compound fracture is also known as an open fracture and can expose internal tissues, which increases your risk for infection.
- Hairline Fracture – A hairline fracture is an incomplete fracture, which means the bone doesn’t break completely. Instead, you may suffer a thin crack in the bone that doesn’t go all the way through.
- Complete Fracture – A complete fracture means the bone breaks completely into two or more pieces. There are multiple types of complete fractures, including a compression fracture, where the bone collapses under pressure or a displaced fracture, where the pieces of broken bone move out of alignment.
Recovering From Fracture & Broken Bones Caused By Car Crash
A car accident doctor will determine what type of fracture you have experienced and determine the best course of treatment. An X-ray or CT scan will provide your doctor with detailed images of the area to determine the type and severity of the broken bone. Your doctor may also want to perform a physical examination and ask you to move the area in different ways to check for other signs of issue or injury. The treatment you need for a broken bone will depend on the type of fracture and where it’s located. A broken bone may be stabilized using a cast made of plaster or fiberglass. This will keep the affected area stabilized while the broken bone heals and prevent pieces from moving out of place. In more serious cases, a broken bone may require surgery. Different types of surgery will help address broken bones like a compound fracture or displaced fracture to restore the pieces to their normal alignment. These types of surgical interventions may require screws, rods, or metal plates to hold the bones together properly.
Once a broken bone is set, your treatment may also involve supporting and stabilizing the surrounding soft tissues. A fracture rarely occurs without injury to soft tissues nearby, too. After a car accident, your doctor will work with you to determine how to best improve your strength and mobility. The cast will be worn for a designated period of time, depending on where the break is located. After the cast is removed, you can start physical therapy and other treatments to help regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. A car accident chiropractor or physical therapist can help you with stretches, exercises, and soft tissue mobilization to help restore healthy functioning to the area. By strengthening supportive tissues like muscles and ligaments, the bone will be able to heal properly.
Car Accident PTSD: Effects On Mood & Behavior
A car accident can be a stressful experience that can impact both your physical and mental health. One minute you are driving down the road like you normally would, and the next thing you know, you’re getting jolted and jostled around. Whether or not you were physically injured in the accident, you may experience lasting effects on your mental health while you recover from the experience. Car accidents can affect your health due to the trauma of the experience, which can lead to or exacerbate anxiety and depression. A traumatic event like a car accident can even lead to a mental health disorder known as PTSD: post-traumatic stress disorder. While many people associate PTSD with military veterans, this condition can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. Getting into a car accident and witnessing or experiencing injuries can make you more fearful of driving, getting injured, or even dying. A car accident doctor can help you manage both the physical and mental effects of getting into a car accident.
Can Car Accidents Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
The shock and stress of a car accident can lead to a condition known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t have to be in a serious car accident to experience PTSD. If you suffered an injury, saw others injured, or even experienced shock after the accident, then you can develop PTSD symptoms. Immediately after the accident, you may notice your palms start to sweat, your hands shake, and you feel lightheaded or disoriented. Shock and adrenaline start coursing through your body to help support you through the traumatic experience. In fact, the body’s response to a sudden traumatic experience can actually mask pain and other symptoms of a physical injury. Some car accident injuries are more obvious to recognize, but it can take a while for you to fully recognize mental health effects after an accident.
If you feel stressed or overwhelmed after a car accident, then you are not alone! In fact, those are completely normal responses to such a traumatic experience. From waiting for the police to dealing with scheduling car repairs, you have a lot to deal with after a car accident. However, you want to keep an eye out for particular signs and symptoms that a car accident has affected you mentally. Here are a few examples of common signs and symptoms of PTSD:
- Increased Anxiety – A car accident can make you feel more anxious than normal. Even if you already deal with anxiety, you may notice an increase in your symptoms. This can look like increased concern or worry for yourself and others. You may also experience physical symptoms of anxiety, like dizziness, lightheadedness, and a racing heart.
- Mood Changes – PTSD symptoms can also cause changes to your mood and behaviors. The overwhelming guilt of the accident can turn into excessive worry and distress over smaller issues. You may also experience sudden bursts of energy, anger or outbursts, or irritability. PTSD can also look like difficulty concentrating or loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed.
- Fear of Driving – Some people develop a fear of driving after getting into a car accident. This can look like hesitancy to get behind the wheel or discomfort while riding in a car with others. If you have PTSD, you may avoid driving long after the initial accident occurred. This can turn into a fear or avoidance of driving.
- Trouble Sleeping – PTSD can also affect your healthy sleep patterns. You may experience nightmares or intrusive memories that keep you up at night. Recurring flashbacks can increase your anxiety and other symptoms, making it more difficult to sleep. PTSD can also cause increased fatigue and tiredness during the day, especially if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night.
Coping with PTSD From Motor Vehicle Crash
Thankfully, you can address PTSD after a car accident in a wide variety of ways. Talk therapy can help you work through your experience and process your feelings after the accident. Learning more about PTSD and how it affects people after car accidents can also help take away the stigma and help you recognize you are not alone in your experience. Learning how to manage your anxiety, depression, and other changes to your mood can help reduce your symptoms after an auto accident. Your doctor or counselor may also recommend practicing self-care to help reduce the negative effects of PTSD after an accident. Seek out mental health care and talk to your car accident doctor if you are concerned about PTSD and how to recover.
Here are some examples of how to cope and overcome PTSD after a car accident:
- Surround yourself with supportive people
- Learn more about PTSD
- Manage your anxiety symptoms
- Practice self-care
In addition to recovering from the effects of a car accident on your mental health, you may also be recovering from physical injuries. Going to a car accident doctor for your injuries will help you manage the stress and pain with a team who will support you through your recovery. A car accident will develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific symptoms after you’ve been in a wreck. This can include both physical and mental effects of a serious situation like a car accident.
See A Car Accident Doctor Immediately
Duis imperdiet nec massa nec placerat. Curabitur felis turpis, iaculis quiIf you have been injured in a car accident, then you want to see a doctor who specializes in these types of injuries. While you may receive medical attention at the site or go to an emergency room, you will need follow-up care with a trusted doctor. Car accident doctors specialize in treating a wide range of car accident injuries, including whiplash, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and pinched nerves. Even minor injuries from a car accident can have a major impact on your health, especially if left untreated. While you might be tempted to wait out your symptoms and hope they go away on their own, you risk complications or other lingering effects of an untreated injury, like chronic pain or restricted mobility.
You do not need to handle your injuries on your own after a car accident, no matter how small they may seem. Even a headache after an accident can be a sign of a more serious injury. That’s why it’s best to see a car accident doctor as soon as possible. They can recognize the signs and symptoms of a car accident injury even when you don’t. Car accident doctors use state-of-the-art technologies to diagnose injuries and determine the best course of treatment for you. Some injuries can take hours or even days for symptoms to appear, but the sooner you get started on treatment, the sooner you can start healing and recovering.