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What symptoms should you look for after a car accident
Dr. Ana KnollaJun 10, 2022 9:15:00 AM4 min read

Symptoms to Watch Out for After a Car Accident

It's easy not to notice any injury symptoms in the immediate aftermath of a car accident.

Due to a rush of adrenaline, it can take hours, days, or even weeks for some accident injury symptoms.

Common car accident injury symptoms range from mild to severe and can impact you from head to toe.

Even if you feel uninjured, and no matter how minor you think your injuries are, you should always visit a car accident chiropractor after a car accident.

In the article below, we will discuss auto accident symptoms you should look out for.

Table Of Contents



How Long Does It Take For Accident Injuries To Show Up?

Some car accident injuries will show symptoms immediately after the wreck.

But some injuries may take several days or even weeks before they present symptoms.

These injuries are referred to as delayed-onset injuries.

To protect you from pain or trauma, your body undergoes a rush of adrenaline that can mask injury symptoms.

Shock may also keep you from feeling or focusing on your physical injury symptoms.

This can all delay your body’s reaction to your physical injuries and the trauma that comes with them.

Delayed injuries can be serious and life-threatening, especially when left undiagnosed and unaddressed, so it's important to seek medical attention right away.

And when a common symptom does appear, some accident victims may not link their new symptom with an accident that happened weeks ago.

This keeps them from seeking appropriate medical attention.

Now here are a few injury symptoms you need to keep an eye out for after a motor vehicle accident.



Headaches are a prevalent pain symptom after a car crash.

Tension headaches can be brought on by stress, which is typical after a traumatic crash.

Headaches can also be caused by a head injury like a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Other concussion symptoms include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

You may also suffer from migraines that result in severe pain and make it difficult to tolerate bright lights or loud noises.

Visit a doctor immediately to ensure your brain has not sustained severe damage and you don't end up with chronic pain.

If you have headaches but did not hit your head during a collision, recurring headaches may also be a sign of whiplash.



Whiplash, also called neck strain or neck sprain, usually occurs after a rear-end crash due to the sharp back-and-forth motion of the neck.

A whiplash injury impacts the soft tissue of the neck.

Neck pain is caused by the overextension of nerves, muscles, and spinal joints.

Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Numbness in the arms or hands

Recovery time for this neck injury varies and can last between a few days to several months.


Back Pain

Several common injuries sustained in car accidents can lead to back pain.

Back pain a few hours or even several days after a car wreck may be a symptom of a herniated disc, soft tissue injury, spinal cord injury, sprain, or whiplash.

If you notice tingling or numbness along with back pain, you may have a pinched nerve.

All of these conditions, especially a spinal injury, can cause debilitating pain and mobility challenges, affecting your overall quality of life.

Seek treatment as soon as back symptoms appear.


Internal Organ Damage

A serious symptom of a collision is delayed abdominal pain.

Ab pain could potentially be a sign of internal injuries and damage to your organs or ribcage.

Left untreated, internal injuries can be life-threatening.

Signs of internal organ damage after a car accident include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Deep purple bruising
  • Stomach pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Constipation

Abdominal pain may also be a sign of internal bleeding.

Symptoms of internal bleeding may present hours or days after a crash.

Go to the emergency room immediately if you're afraid you've suffered internal damage to your kidneys, liver, lungs, or other organs.


Post-Traumatic Stress

Any traumatic event can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

You don't even have to be physically injured to experience post-traumatic stress due to your car accident.

Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder are:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares, or distressing memories of the event
  • Anxiety surrounding anything that reminds you of the accident.
  • The inability to get back behind the wheel due to stress and anxiety
  • Mood changes, appetite, and sleep changes
  • The inability to concentrate, general anxiety, and depression


Visit Arrowhead Clinic

If you were involved in an auto accident that caused an injury, you should contact an experienced Chiropractor for treatment and pain relief. 

Even if you don't feel injured, it's important to see a chiropractor as soon as possible after your accident.

Arrowhead Clinic has a team of chiropractors specializing in helping accident victims return to their normal health and function, and they can help you recover from the injuries listed above.

Each patient gets a free consultation so we can find out the source of your pain and give you the appropriate care.

If you are ready to be pain-free after your motor vehicle accident, click below to schedule your initial free consultation and begin chiropractic care today!

Contact Arrowhead Clinic today



Dr. Ana Knolla

I graduated from Life University in Marietta and I've been practicing for almost 20 years. I started at Arrowhead Clinics in 2001 and have continued in either a part-time or full-time status ever since. I love working with injured patients and having the gratification of seeing them get well! I'm born and raised in North Florida/South Georgia...I've traveled extensively but always enjoy coming home to the South! I have 5 dogs...from chihuahuas to pit bulls... and 4 cats... and we all live in a farmhouse out in the country.