Car accidents can happen in an eye blink. You may feel happy while you’re on your way to work or the grocery store, and the next thing you know, a car T-bones you out of nowhere. If that happens, you will be lucky to walk away with no injuries.
The first thing you’ll need to do after a car wreck is try and ascertain whether the impact injured you. You might feel okay at first and not call for an ambulance. Later, once the adrenaline has worn off, you may realize you’re pretty sore.
Soreness after an accident is normal, and it may go away on its own within a few hours or days. However, it’s also possible that what you think is just soreness is something more severe. Let’s discuss signs that indicate you should see a doctor after a car wreck, even if you thought you were okay initially.
Most doctors will tell you that feeling sore for six weeks after a wreck is normal. Neck, back, or leg soreness are common. Where you hurt often depends on whether a car struck you from the front, back, or side.
If you have a persistent headache in the hours or days after an accident, that could be a sign there’s something worse than ordinary soreness happening. You might not even be aware you hit your head in the accident because the whole experience can be like a whirlwind.
A headache might mean a head injury like a concussion, but it could also be neck or shoulder-related. You might even have broken a bone, and it does not become evident for some hours or even days after the event.
A headache that won’t go away is ample reason to get a doctor to check you out. Head to the emergency room or see your family doctor if they’re available.
Soreness after a wreck is common, but it should get better as time passes. Sometimes you’ll have a situation where the opposite occurs, and you seem to be stiffer and in more pain as the days pass.
That’s another time when seeing a doctor and getting them to check you out thoroughly makes sense. You may have a sprain, a strain, or a pulled muscle.
You may feel okay for a while, but if the pain continues worsening, there’s no reason to try and be a hero and tough it out. Resilience is an admirable quality, but you should also realize when soreness grows worse that you need to seek medical attention.
Your arms and legs are your extremities. After a car wreck, they might feel okay for a while, but then they may start to feel weak or shaky. Perhaps you can’t put your full weight on your legs without them quivering, or you may not be able to hold an object without your arm shaking.
A spinal cord injury sometimes manifests itself in these ways. That can be very serious, so muscle shaking or weakness of the kind we described is another time you’ll need to get to an emergency room after a crash without any delays.
You may feel clearheaded right after a crash, and you may deal with the cops and the other driver okay. Once you get home and take stock of your physical condition a little more, though, you may not know where you are. You may not be able to recall some crash details, what day it is, or other vital facts about yourself or your surroundings.
That could very well mean that you’ve sustained a concussion or some other traumatic brain injury. A little unsteadiness right after an accident might not indicate something dire, but you should get a doctor to look you over, just to be sure.
You might feel after an accident like you want to lie down and take a nap. That could be normal, but it might also mean you’ve sustained a head injury.
Lying down and sleeping might be the worst thing for you. If you feel this way, get to an emergency room, but don’t drive yourself. See if you can get a family member or friend to drive you, or else you can call for an ambulance if no one is around.