Still Sore Long After a Car Accident? You May Be Suffering From a Hidden Injury

Motor vehicle accidents happen every day, and almost everyone has had at least one in their lifetime. But just because it is a common occurrence does not make your damage and injuries any less important and significant. The property damage to your vehicle is the easiest to deal with. An appraiser inspects your car and gives a dollar amount to fix it. Occasionally there is hidden damage to your vehicle that requires a supplemental check but, again, the process is pretty simple. But, what about the injuries you sustained in the accident? What if you have hidden injuries? There is nothing simple about that.

After the Accident

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Even a minor auto accident is overwhelming and you might not even notice your pain immediately. Take a look at “Steps to take after a car accident” at for guidance after an accident. Along with taking photos and obtaining the police report, it is important to seek medical attention right away even if your injury seems minor. The medical professional will likely take X-rays and, in the absence of broken bones or severe back injuries, prescribe medicine and recommend rest for a few days.

Pain that Lingers or Increases

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What if your injuries don’t get better or get worse? What do you do then? Do not ignore lingering or increasing pain? It may represent a more significant and hidden injury that was not detected immediately after the accident.

Examples include:

• Exacerbation of a pre-existing condition that was asymptomatic.
• A soft-tissue neck injury that could actually be a herniated disc.
• Lingering headaches could be indicative of a traumatic brain injury.
• A sprained wrist might be a fracture requiring surgery.

The point is to not ignore ongoing or new pain. Maybe you don’t feel you have time to deal with more doctor’s appointments, but a hidden injury will most likely get more serious as time goes on. Living with ongoing pain is also not beneficial to your overall physical, mental, or emotional health. It is hard to sleep with pain, concentrate on your work, or patiently help your children with their homework. Seek follow-up medical treatment sooner rather than later.

Chronic Pain

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What if your injury resolves after therapy and medicine but you are still in pain? If the pain continues three to six months after the initial injury, it is considered chronic pain. This might last for years after the accident. Although not directly caused by the initial trauma, it is definitely related to the accident. Again, seek medical treatment, as they can help.

Ongoing pain and disability can also be caused by a secondary injury. The initial injury is considered acute trauma, and secondary damage occurs as a result of healthy body parts responding to the primary injury. Examples of secondary injuries include weakened joints or vertebrae that are now more susceptible to serious injury such as herniation. A secondary injury is real and directly related to the initial incident. Do not hesitate to take this to your medical professional.

Call Your Doctor

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At what point do you seek treatment for hidden injuries? There is no hard-and-fast answer to that question. You know your body better than anyone and, if you are not starting to feel improvement after a few days, the pain gets worse, or new pain presents itself, it is time to call your doctor. Do not assume that your age, activity level, or any other factor is the cause of your pain. Let your medical provider be the judge of that. And, if the pain is determined to be accident-related, do not hesitate to get the recommended treatment and therapy to prevent it from getting any worse.

As noted earlier, there is nothing easy about even a minor motor vehicle accident. While others take care of the damage to your car, you must take control of your injuries to ensure the best outcome possible.

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