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Understanding Late-Appearing Car Accident Injuries

Sep 30, 2021

Understanding Late-Appearing Car Accident InjuriesCar accidents happen every day, but many people are surprised to learn that car accident injuries aren’t always obvious right away. In fact, many people experience late-appearing car accident injuries and don’t realize they are injured right away. Millions of people get into car accidents each year, and many of those result in a wide range of car accident injuries. While a broken bone or scrapes and bruises might be more obvious after a car accident, other injuries don’t always appear right away. If you experience delayed pain after an accident, then visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and treatment options for you.

Why Car Accidents Can Lead to Late Appearing Injuries

It is very common to experience delayed injuries after an accident. Getting into a car accident is a very stressful experience and can cause your body to respond by sending adrenaline through your body. Adrenaline can help you get through a stressful situation, but it can also mask pain and other symptoms of a potential injury. When you experience something stressful, your body helps initiate your fight or flight response, which helps you stay safe and protect yourself at the moment. Some people experience shock after the trauma of a car accident, which can also mask pain and lead to late-appearing car accident injuries.

Common Late Appearing Car Accident Injuries

Here are three examples of late-appearing car accident injuries and when you might start to notice them.


Whiplash is the most common car accident injury, but many people don’t realize they have it right away. It can take hours or even days for the pain to set in after a car accident. A whiplash injury affects the muscles and tendons in your neck that help support your spine and hold up your head. The force of impact can cause your head and neck to snap forward and backward violently, leading to muscle strains and even tears. In the hours and days after the initial accident, you may start to notice increasing pain and discomfort in your neck. Your neck muscles may also become stiff and sore, making certain movements like turning your head very uncomfortable.

Disc Herniation

The force of impact between vehicles can put a lot of pressure on your body, including your spine. It is common for the body to get jostled around during the accident, which can disrupt healthy functioning in the spine and even lead to misalignments and damage to the spinal discs. These spinal discs separate the vertebrae in the spine and help provide shock absorption and support. When one of these spinal discs cracks or slips out of place, it can put pressure on nerves nearby that causes symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness.


A concussion is a mild to moderate type of traumatic brain injury that most commonly occurs with a blow to the head. If you hit your head during a car accident, you might develop a tender bump where the impact occurred and even experience some pain and headaches. Any type of head trauma should be taken very seriously, and if you suffered a blow to the head, then you want to get checked out by a doctor immediately. If you have a concussion, there can be brain damage like bruising, bleeding, or swelling. You may also experience symptoms like nausea and vomiting, trouble concentrating, and irritability. It can take time for all of the symptoms of a concussion to appear, which is why you should see a car accident doctor as soon as possible.

When to Visit a Car Accident Doctor

It is better to be proactive after a car accident and get cleared of any injuries than to wait and let potential injuries get worse. You should visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible after a car accident to get a thorough examination. Our team of car accident doctors at AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta will perform a physical examination and may also utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays or CT scans for a more detailed look at injured areas. They will then develop a personalized treatment plan that works just for you.

If you were recently in an accident and are worried about late-appearing car accident injuries, then visit our team of car accident doctors at AICA Orthopedics for quality, comprehensive care.


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