In the hours and even days after a car accident, you might start noticing some pain and discomfort start to show up. It is common to experience a headache after a car accident, whether from the stress and trauma of the accident or even as a symptom of a bigger injury. However, when you notice that your headache just won’t go away after trying a few home remedies and pain medications, it might start to worry you. A headache that won’t go away can be a sign that there is something more serious going on.
Headaches as a Sign of Whiplash
In a car accident, the seatbelt and airbags can protect you from the neck down, but there is nothing that can truly help restrain your head and neck from getting really shaken up. Whiplash is the most common car accident injury, especially in rear-end collisions. If you’ve been in a fender-bender and maybe only have a few scrapes and bruises you might think you’ve made it through okay. But whiplash is a sneaky type of car accident injury that often doesn’t present with symptoms right away. It can hours and even days for symptoms like a persistent headache to show up and signal something is wrong.
When your head jostles forward and back or side to side with the force of the accident, it can affect the muscles, tendons, and bones in your neck. Your muscles and tendons may strain out of their usual range of motion and they can even tear. The nervous system actually runs through the spinal column in your neck and damage to your neck can affect your nerves. Even the discs that separate the vertebrae in your neck can get dislodged and put pressure on nearby nerves or cause the vertebrae to rub together painfully. Any of these injuries can cause swelling and pain, which can also contribute to your headache after a car accident.
Going to the Doctor after a Car Accident
The best thing you can do for your health and safety after a car accident is to visit the doctor. Because whiplash is so common and also slow to develop symptoms, many people go home after an accident feeling okay and thinking they don’t need a doctor after all. Once the symptoms set in, the pain and discomfort can become unbearable and you may wish you’d gone to the doctor sooner. When a doctor is able to assess you right away after an accident they can help provide you with proactive treatments to help when the pain does arrive.
Any time you suspect an injury to your head, neck, or spine it is important to see a doctor to rule out anything serious. The spine supports your whole body and also houses the nervous system so that your brain can communicate to the rest of your body and tell your feet when to walk and your legs when to sit. Even a small injury to the spine can affect your body’s ability to function at its best and can make going through your daily tasks more difficult. A knowledgeable doctor skilled in treating car accident injuries can help identify and issues and help to minimize the pain and discomfort before it even begins.
Treating Headaches and Whiplash
Part of treatment for whiplash will include treating your headache after a car accident that just won’t go away. A car accident doctor will treat both your symptoms and the injury itself so you can experience immediate pain relief as well as long-term healing. Your doctor may recommend a combination of pain medication, ice and heat therapies, and rest to help ease the pain immediately after the accident. Alternating ice and heat will help bring the swelling down and also encourage blood flow to the area so it can heal. Sore and strained muscles can benefit from both rest and gentle stretches to help you maintain your range of motion so your neck doesn’t become stiff.
Headaches are common when you have a neck injury like whiplash so treating the torn muscles or injured spine in your neck can help alleviate the headache. If your whiplash goes untreated, you run the risk of experiencing chronic pain and headaches, especially if the muscles don’t heal right or the discs separating your vertebrae stay out of place and begin to deteriorate. That is why it is best to be cautious and seek treatment for your headache after a car accident to make sure it doesn’t become something more serious. The team of car accident doctors at AICA Atlanta will develop a treatment plan just for you so you can experience pain relief and start recovering as soon as possible.