Injuries after a car accident aren’t always obvious right away. You may escape the accident with a couple of bumps and bruises or perhaps nothing at all, then a week or even two weeks later you begin to feel discomfort and notice symptoms. The most common late-appearing injuries are Soft Tissue Injuries, Whiplash, and Concussions.
Soft Tissue Injuries and Whiplash
There are many different types of soft tissue injuries, “whiplash” is the most common one caused by car accidents. “Whiplash” is an informal descriptor of soft tissue injuries in the neck, and it’s a useful term mostly because of the public’s familiarity with it. Whiplash is commonly understood as pain in the neck, but can affect any neural pathway, including into the extremities and down the spine. Other possible symptoms of whiplash include:
With these symptoms, whiplash can not only make life unpleasant, it can make everyday tasks around the home and at work considerably more difficult. Treatment can include physical therapy, and chiropractic manipulation may be beneficial in some cases.
In addition to whiplash, concussions are another common injury that may not be immediately evident, especially if you do not have an acquaintance with you who is familiar with you and can judge your post-accident behavior. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury in which the brain strikes the inside of the skull. This can happen either as a result of the skull impacting something or by sudden deceleration — when the head is in motion and suddenly stops. With these acceleration-deceleration concussions, whiplash is also a serious concern.
Concussions present in a variety of ways. A key defining characteristic of concussions are that they cause some sort of (temporary) loss of brain function. This can manifest in a variety of forms, including:
In more routine cases, a concussion can alter the brain’s activity for a time period anywhere between a few hours to weeks.
Treatment for concussions generally treats the symptoms rather than the injury itself, except in very rare cases where surgery is necessary.