Why Does My Neck Hurt Weeks After A Car Crash?

Were you recently involved in a car crash?

You may have suffered a neck injury without even realizing it. It doesn’t matter if the accident occurred at slow speeds or involved seemingly minimal force; it doesn’t take much to prompt severe injuries and lasting pain.

Neck pain can be mysterious. One day, you feel fine—and the next, all you can think about is how much your neck hurts. If you’re currently aching, but struggling to determine the cause, think back beyond yesterday’s activities. If you suffered an accident—even a minor fender bender—several weeks ago, the symptoms may just now become evident.

Confused about the source of your neck pain and why you’re suffering uncomfortable sensations weeks after your car accident? Contact the injury lawyers at Smiley Law Firm or read on to learn more about car crash related tissue damage:

What Is Soft Tissue Damage? What Are the Symptoms?

Often referred to as whiplash, soft tissue damage of the neck occurs when abnormal force is applied, prompting the neck to extend beyond its usual range of motion. This may pull or strain the neck muscles. Symptoms include:
• Tenderness near the back of the neck or even along the shoulders
• Swelling
• Difficulty nodding or rotating your head
• Difficulty chewing
• Headaches

Read here to learn more about what causes back pain after an accident. 

Why Does Soft Tissue Damage Take So Long to Emerge or Repair?

With car accident-induced whiplash, two scenarios are common: the pain doesn’t become evident until several days after the accident, or it takes weeks to disappear. These scenarios are both frustrating and perfectly normal.

Unfortunately, ongoing symptoms are merely part of the body’s healing process. Inflammation naturally occurs in response to a muscle strain; this is your body’s approach to protecting the injured area from additional damage. Healing is a continuum; your body requires incremental adjustments over time so as to handle future physical demands.

Beyond the normal healing process, the following are a few of the many reasons why soft tissue may take weeks to appear or go away:

We Rarely Notice Soft Tissue Injury Symptoms at the Scene of the Accident

Think back to the moments immediately following your recent car crash. If you’re like most victims, you were overcome with a flood of emotions. Relief, anger, terror…you experienced it all.

You also experienced a surge of adrenaline and endorphins—your body’s natural response to perceived danger. This sudden increase in adrenaline boosted your energy, while extra endorphins dulled the pain. You could have sustained a severe injury, but you wouldn’t have noticed, because those endorphins would have blocked out most of the pain. Even if you suffered pain, you would have been distracted by a surge of emotion.

We Assume an Intact Car Means an Intact Body

After an accident, most people naturally look to their vehicle to assess the damage. If your car is in decent shape, you must also be okay, right?

Actually, your car is way more resilient than you think—and you’re a lot more vulnerable to injury. Research suggests that accidents at just 5 miles per hour can cause cervical damage. Conversely, cars often come away from crashes at 10 miles per hour with nary a scratch.

Unfortunately, because we see minimal damage to our car and assume that we are also okay, we ignore signs of tissue damage. It may take days or even weeks before a distinction between damage (or lack thereof) to the car and to the body becomes fully evident.

Everyday Activities Can Exacerbate Existing Injuries From A Car Crash

If you don’t know you’ve been injured, you’re not likely to give your body the rest and relaxation it needs to recover from physical trauma.

Meanwhile, you may go back to work or resume recreational activities that cause extra strain on your body. Because soft tissue damage takes so long to heal, even minor overuse can compromise this delicate process.

Unfortunately, exacerbating conditions provide a valuable opportunity for the defendant in your personal injury case. The opposition may argue that these activities—and not your car accident—are responsible for your current suffering.

It is your lawyer’s job to use evidence from the scene to demonstrate that the accident was severe enough to cause damage on its own—and that you would have suffered neck pain no matter how you behaved after the crash.

When to Seek Medical Attention After A Car Crash

If you’ve suffered neck pain in the aftermath of your car accident, it’s imperative that you seek medical attention. It doesn’t matter if the accident occurred at low speeds or your car sustained minimal damage; you may be dealing with an injury far more severe than you suspect.

The sooner you seek medical treatment, the sooner you can put your physical suffering in the past—and the better your opportunity for reclaiming the damages you deserve via a personal injury lawsuit.

Consider visiting the doctor even if you haven’t yet suffered severe pain. Even a small twinge of pain could be a sign of trouble if it occurs after your accident. The cliche ‘better safe than sorry’ definitely applies in this situation. I always say, hurt people go to the doctor.

Don’t let careless drivers get away with negligence behind the wheel. Deliver justice with help from the Smiley Law Firm. Get in touch at your earliest convenience to learn how our experienced team can deliver a favorable case outcome.

Learn More From Smiley Law Firm’s Injury Blog

Here at Smiley Law Firm, we write about the topic of car accidents extensively. This may be the most popular topics for our clients and the public. As personal injury attorneys, we believe in educating our clients and the public with the most up to date information available. We have a number of blogs and articles covering the following topics. Please read them and leave comments if you find the information helpful.

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