Why Pain Sustained After an Auto Accident Is Often Delayed

Even if you feel fine after a car accident, it’s always best to see a doctor right away. The spike in adrenaline levels after a crash can mask pain, and some injuries sustained following a motor vehicle collision don’t present themselves immediately. Only a medical assessment can reveal the extent of your injuries. 

Dr. Robert Mitchell and the team at Tulsa Accident Care Center want to raise awareness of delayed pain from auto accidents so you don’t brush off minor or absent aches. It’s crucial to receive a complete and thorough evaluation following any car accident, no matter how minor, so you can receive treatment as quickly as possible. 

Why prompt care matters after a car crash

Car accidents are sudden, violent events that take you by surprise. Unless you’re knocked unconscious or sustain a broken bone or other serious injury, most people typically walk away from auto accidents shaken, but feeling seemingly okay. However, it’s important to know that delayed pain from injuries is extremely common after auto accidents.

 Over the course of hours or days after a car crash, you may start to feel worse and symptoms of injury may begin to arise. Waiting to receive care compromises your recovery. If you’re in an auto accident you should be seen by a medical professional right away. Even minor fender benders can cause serious injuries that aren’t noticeable immediately after the accident.

Common injuries that cause delayed pain

Given the speed and force involved in motor vehicle collisions, it’s no surprise that injuries occur and can be quite severe. Some injuries may take longer before symptoms become apparent. Some of the most common auto accident injuries that may cause delayed pain include concussions and neck and back injuries.


A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs when your brain slams against your skull, and even a mild concussion can have lasting effects. Symptoms of a concussion aren’t always pronounced following a car accident, and it may take a day or longer before you notice symptoms.

Concussion symptoms may include:

 Early treatment can reduce further damage and help your brain to heal. 


The force from the impact of a car crash can cause soft tissue damage to the neck. This is especially common in rear-end auto accidents. Whiplash can cause chronic neck pain, but symptoms may not appear right away.

Back pain

The back is vulnerable to injury during a car accident, and even if your back feels OK in the immediate aftermath, there’s still a chance that symptoms are looming. That’s because you don’t always feel back pain right after a car accident. A pinched nerve, herniated disc, or other back injury may take several hours or even a few days before symptoms are noticeable. 

These are just a few auto injuries that may cause delayed pain. Nerve damage, abdominal pain, shoulder pain, and other types of injuries may also go unnoticed for days following a car crash. 

The stress of a car accident can make it difficult to assess your own physical or emotional well-being. It can sometimes take hours or days for symptoms of certain injuries to arise and delaying treatment can lead to complications. 

If you’ve been in a car crash, schedule a visit right away for a thorough evaluation with the Tulsa Accident Care Center team by calling our office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or request an appointment online right now.

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