You’re at a stoplight and someone rear-ends you. You jump out to make sure that your passengers are OK and to assess the damage. Alas, your rear bumper looks like it’s seen better days. But what about your musculoskeletal structure? The same damage you see on your fender could have occurred in your body and the adrenaline of the moment is covering up the signs.
At Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management, we believe that quick medical intervention after a car accident, even a fender bender, can potentially save you from a lifetime of misery. All too often, the heat of the moment can delay symptoms of an injury, leading you to believe that your car took the brunt of the impact. Hopefully, that’s the case, but you should come see us just to be sure, as many injuries can rear up hours, days, or weeks after your seemingly minor accident.
Here are just a few reasons why shouldn’t wait to seek medical help after a fender bender.
Pain in the neck
One of the most common injuries in a car accident is whiplash — two million cases a year in the US — which can occur at even slow speeds or when you’re stopped. Whiplash is an appropriately named condition in which your head is thrown back and forth, severely stressing the connective tissue in your neck as well as your cervical vertebrae.
The symptoms of whiplash typically appear within 6-12 hours after your accident and include:
- Loss of range of motion in your neck
- Tingling or numbness in your arms
While most people experience symptoms within the first 24 hours after a car accident, some experience delayed symptoms that come on days, or even weeks, after the accident. Because of this, we recommend that you come in and see us — even if we’re just ruling out a neck injury. This type of peace of mind is invaluable as you assess the overall damage of your fender bender — to your car and yourself.
Back it up
While your neck can take a real hit in a fender bender, so can the rest of your spine. Even in a fender bender, the energy from the accident impacts your car and your seat and releases through your body, with your spine absorbing much of it.
This can cause compressions or fractures in your vertebrae, and the muscles in your back can be strained beyond their limits.
If your back feels even the slightest bit stiff or painful after a car accident, it’s best to err on the side of caution and have us take a look with our advanced imaging equipment.
If you’re following the law and wearing your seatbelt, the force against this restraining device can injure your shoulder or chest. To be sure, this type of injury beats the alternative of being unsecured in your car during an accident, making a shoulder problem a minor trade-off for your life.
Still, if your shoulder or chest feels bruised or painful, we can take a quick look with our imaging equipment to ensure that nothing is broken or torn.
Going to the extreme
Rounding out the most common injuries are those to your arms and legs. Even a minor fender bender can send these limbs flying, and if they make contact with anything inside your car, there’s potential for injury.
Again, to be on the safe side, why not have us take a look if your knee aches or your wrist is swollen? Injuries of these kinds may be minor, but if they’re not treated correctly from the start, they can lead to life-long issues.
If you’ve been in a car accident, please don’t wait to contact us. Call one of our two offices in Staten Island and Hartsdale, New York, or book an appointment right now using the tool on this website.