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Dr. Timothy HowardDec 21, 2015 11:39:59 AM8 min read

How Long Will I Be Sore After A Car Accident?

How Long Will I Have Pain After My Accident?

Accident victims are forced to deal with hospitalization, medical treatments, missed work, and lost income, often while trying to manage pain and disability from their injuries. 

Accident victims may also be asking How Long do you Have to See a Doctor or Personal Injury Attorney after a Car Accident?

In this blog, we discuss auto accident injury soreness and where to seek medical attention and pain relief.

Table of contents:

Car Accidents are over in seconds, but the ramifications of the impact can last for days or even years if the injuries are not treated soon enough.

People can experience different levels of pain after an auto accident.  It's important that no matter how good you may feel, that you are examined by a medical professional.

There are over 4 million emergency room visits reported each year following Car Accidents.

North Carolina School of Medicine study, "More than 70 percent of people who visit the emergency room after a car crash still feel pain six weeks later." 

Being injured in a serious Car Accident is always a shocking experience for the mind and body. 

Common injuries range from multiple bone fractures to third-degree burns.

When you suffer a personal injury after a car accident, your chiropractor will be able to estimate how long you will experience physical pain after a car accident based on your diagnosis and prognosis.

If you never seek medical attention or did not think you had injuries, however, there's no way to know how long your soreness will last.

The answer can depend on many factors.


Why Do We Experience Pain After an Accident?

It seems like such a simple question, yet there are so many different answers. Pain is usually the result of trauma.

It’s your body’s natural alarm system that lets you know something is wrong.

Pain happens from all sorts of injuries. From stepping on something laying around the house to a serious car accident, pain lets us know we need to exercise more caution in the future.

As humans, we experience different types of pain. This includes:

  • Sharp pain: People often describe this pain as stabbing or shooting. The pain is severe and spontaneous, but it usually goes away relatively quickly.
  • Aching pain: Aching pain is common. It’s that pain that’s not too bothersome, but it just doesn’t go away. This pain may get worse with movement.
  • Radiating pain: Radiating pain starts from one location and travels to different locations. This is often the case with neck or back pain which may radiate down the arms or legs.
  • Throbbing pain: This type of pain feels like your heartbeat at the point of injury and can cause extreme discomfort.


How Long Will I Be Sore After a Car Accident?

It depends on some factors:

  1. How Serious Were Your Injuries
  2. How Fast Were You Driving?
  3. Were you Wearing a Seatbelt?
  4. Do you Have Pre-Existing Conditions?
  5. Did You See A Doctor?

These questions are all important for a Doctor or Chiropractor to know because they help determine an injury pattern of how violent the crash was and what your body did during the accident to protect itself.

Once the doctors have their answers to these questions, then they can begin to diagnose what is going on with your body.

The Car Accident Doctors will use a series of diagnostic tools such as X-Rays, Neurological Tests, MRI's and Range of Motion tests to observe if your injuries are soft-tissue injuries or if you have structural issues such as broken bones.

Once the doctors know the extent of your accident injuries, they can begin to give you a time-frame of how long it will take before your soreness alleviates and you can resume your normal activities.

How Serious Were Your Injuries?

Minor car accidents can still cause pain and suffering to the people involved.

A rear-end collision that hardly damages a car could lead to a physical injury such as whiplash.

Whiplash is a neck injury that damages the muscles or tendons in due to the vehicle's rapid back-and-forth motion.

Minor whiplash may not seem like a severe injury, but it could cause chronic pain and a level of disability for weeks or even months after the accident.

The more serious your injuries, the longer you can expect to experience pain and soreness after your car accident.

Six weeks is the average recovery time after a car accident. Some victims will feel back to normal sooner than this, while others will experience pain and suffering for a lifetime.

The exact amount of time you are sore will depend on your the recovery time and severity of your injuries.

Several injuries that lead to extended recovery times include:

  • neck or back injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • traumatic brain injuries

Severe burns can also take several months to heal and leave behind residual pain for a lifetime.


Several factors determine how sore you will be after a car accident

How Fast Were You Driving?

It can be expected that high-speed car accidents generally cause more severe or life-threatening injuries than low-speed accidents.

When two vehicles collide, the gravitational force exerted on the vehicle occupants is the combined speed of both vehicles.

So, if you were traveling at 60 miles per hour and the person who hit you was traveling at 70, the total speed at which your collision occurred would be 130 miles per hour.

The higher the speed of your accident, the more likely you will suffer injuries that take longer to heal, and the longer you can expect to be sore.


Were You Wearing a Seat belt?

Seat belts can protect you from severe and often fatal injuries in a car accident.

But, seat belts can also cause or contribute to a few specific injuries, including whiplash, abdominal wounds, organ damage, or respiratory problems.

If you aren't wearing a seat belt when you get in an accident, you will likely suffer injuries that could take weeks or months to heal.

These injuries may include broken bones or a traumatic brain injury from flying forward and striking the steering wheel, windshield, or side window.

If you were wearing a seat belt, though, you might have avoided life-threatening injuries.

But you might have suffered damages to muscles, ligaments, and organs.


Do You Have Pre-Existing Conditions?

Prior medical conditions play a part in determining how long you experience soreness after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident.

For example, if you have existing neck or back pain, a car accident can easily exacerbate those existing injuries.

Pre-existing conditions can affect your recovery rate and even your range of motion after a collision.

Even if your injuries are due in part to existing conditions, you could still be eligible for financial recovery.

An at-fault party could still be liable for accident-related damages, even if the victim had a prior injury or illness.

That's why it's always important to get immediate medical care and speak with an attorney after your accident.


Other Factors Influencing How Long You Will Be Sore After A Car Accident

Following an accident injury, there are so many factors that will affect how sore you are and how long this soreness will last.

Additional factors include:

  • Your age: Younger people tend to bounce back more quickly than older individuals.
  • Your overall health: Someone who takes care of themselves will respond differently to a car accident than someone who doesn't. A car accident can aggravate a previous injury and worsen pain or create new pain.
  • Your position in the vehicle: Were you the driver? A passenger? Where you are in the vehicle can make a big difference in what type of pain you experience. In a front impact accident, the driver may suffer greater injuries if the impact causes the airbag to go off. But in a rear-end accident, the passengers in the backseat may sustain more of the trauma.

It’s impossible to determine how long you will feel sore following an injury. There are so many variables that affect soreness after an accident that no two people will ever experience pain in the same way.


Chiropractic Treatments for Auto Accident Injuries

The only way to get answers about how long you will be sore after a Car Accident is to seek medical attention right away.

If you've suffered a personal injury due to a car accident, a chiropractor who specializes in Car Accident Injuries will give you the best appraisal of how much damage your body has absorbed and how long it will take to recover fully.

If you've suffered a severe injury, like a brain injury, you should go to the emergency room right away.

But, chiropractic care can help with your pain management after your injury occurred. 

The Chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic have been serving their communities for nearly 40 years.

During a free consultation, they will perform a physical exam and then design a treatment plan that will help you return to full strength.

If your personal injury is due to the negligence of another driver, they can also connect you with an experienced car accident lawyer who will help you file a personal injury claim.

If you are in need of a specialist to look into your injuries, or a car accident lawyer to help with a claim, click the banner below to schedule a Free Consultation with one of our Car Accident Doctors right away.


Free Chiropractic Consultation | Arrowhead Clinic



Next Blog: Most Common Injuries Associated with Rear-End Car Accidents


Dr. Timothy Howard

Dr. Howard is Arrowhead Clinic’s Chiropractor in Hinesville, GA. He specializes in the treatment of back and shoulder pain, spine deformation, herniated disk, neck problems, sports injuries, and fibromyalgia. He also conducts sessions for therapeutic exercises, wellness care, stress-related issues, chiropractic consultations, adjustments, and follow-up sessions. Dr. Howard is an experienced and accomplished chiropractor. He began his higher education at Life University, where he received his doctoral degree in chiropractic medicine. He uses the most effective techniques and pieces of equipment to help his patients return to normal health and wellness. Dr. Howard's mission is to deliver high-quality, personalized chiropractic care, focusing on prevention and patient education. He educates his patients about holistic wellness in the hope of providing them with a healthier and more fulfilling life. Dr. Howard is certified in Crash Traumatology from the Croft Institute, specializes in Diversified/Full Spine Technique, and offers an exercise and rehabilitation program for soft tissue injuries. Dr. Howard enjoys working out and Jiu-Jitsu during his free time. A recent patient of Dr. Howards stated, “Amazing staff and a great treatment facility. Everyone is amazing from the front desk staff, physical therapy specialist, and doctor/ chiropractor. I highly recommend this facility.” Dr. Howard offers free, same-day consultations Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.