What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Life is unpredictable. Every day has the potential to be wonderful, or take a turn towards the unexpected. When it comes to car accidents, they can be out of your control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. We’re here to help you understand what to expect physically after a car accident so you can feel prepared even in the worst-case scenario.

Rush of Adrenaline

If you’ve ever seen an action movie or been spooked by something unexpected, you are familiar with a rush of adrenaline. When our nervous system senses you are in danger, it releases adrenaline to keep you alert and protected as you move through the situation. Adrenaline works by making your heart beat faster and increasing your oxygen intake. The elevated amount of blood and oxygen is then sent to the brain and muscles so they can function better in the high-stress situation.

After a car accident, the rush of adrenaline may make you feel alert, jumpy, tense, or difficult to calm down, but the rush of adrenaline is temporary and will go away once your body realizes you are out of danger. After the adrenaline wears off, it’s common to feel exhausted. Your body has been through a lot during and directly after the car accident, and sometimes it needs rest to recover.

Shock

When you’re in a traumatic event like a car accident, sometimes your body may go into shock in an attempt to protect itself physically or mentally. If you are severely injured in a traumatic event, your body may try to shut down as it tries to heal itself, but it may cause even further damage. This often happens in cases of severe blood loss. Symptoms of shock can be present right away, or they can be delayed until days later. If you experience symptoms of shock, seek medical care right away.

Some symptoms of shock include

  • Clammy skin
  • Hyperventilating
  • Elevated or rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety

Shock may also occur as a mental reaction to processing trauma. This kind of shock is known as non-medical shock. It often occurs when you are in a lot of emotional distress or when there’s an influx of adrenaline into the bloodstream. It’s similar to the fight or flight response, though if you are in shock, you are more likely to freeze or faint. Untreated shock may develop into PTSD, so don’t struggle with it longer than you have to and seek care after your car accident.

What Your Pain Tells You

Pain is a symptom, which means it’s a method of communication for your body. It can be telling you that you are injured, under emotional stress, or experiencing something out of the ordinary. After a car accident, you may experience pain right after or not until a few days later, or not at all. Everyone experiences pain differently. It’s even possible to experience pain even if you’re not injured. Here are some of the most common types of pain you may develop.
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Headaches

Headaches are extremely common following a car accident. They can occur from a concussion, stress, or any other kind of traumatic brain injury.
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Back Pain

The back and spine are vulnerable areas. If you have back pain, it may be from your seatbelt, a herniated or slipped disc, a fracture, or a sprain.
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Neck and Shoulder Pain

Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. It occurs when the neck muscle is overextended and often results in neck and shoulder pain.

Other Symptoms

Along with pain, you may experience other symptoms in the body and mind. When learning what to expect physically after a car accident, here are some other symptoms to keep in mind:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Short-term Memory Issues
  • Mood changes
  • Trouble Sleeping

Care You Need to Move Forward

If you start to experience any pain or other symptoms that are out of the ordinary following your car accident, seek medical care. Another option for professional care after a car accident is to see a chiropractor or physical therapist to help you overcome your pain and symptoms. At Essential Chirocare and Physical Therapy, our goal is to help you return to a better quality of life and give you the tools you need to move forward. If you want more information on what to expect physically after a car accident, we have more resources explaining pain after a car accident for you to explore.

About Essential ChiroCare

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Whether your pain and discomfort is longstanding or new, we are a Tampa chiropractor who will work with you to get to its root cause so that you don’t just feel well, but are well. Set up a consultation with us to get started.

Schedule Your Consultation

Whether your pain and discomfort is longstanding or new, we are a Tampa chiropractor who will work with you to get to its root cause so that you don’t just feel well, but are well. Set up a consultation with us to get started.