As a personal injury lawyer, I have seen countless individuals who have been injured in car accidents. Oftentimes, I am told their neck pain did not commence until a few days after the accident.
Surprisingly, this is a very common occurrence. Based on numerous sources, whiplash injuries can remain dormant for weeks after a car accident.
Why does this happen?
According to medical literature, whiplash results from the stretching of ligaments and muscles that can occur from a jarring trauma, such as the sudden forward movement of a rear-end auto collision. In severe cases, there may be tearing of the tissues, but most often the injury is mild to moderate.
There are several reasons why pain is often delayed:
1. Inflammation may occur gradually and eventually cause swelling of the tissues
2. Swelling may lead to muscle spasm and nerve root irritation over time
3. Pain may evolve over the course of a few days as the body responds to the damage, much like a cold develops over time after initial infection
As such, if you have developed neck pain days after a car accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Make sure to let your physician know you were the victim of a car accident and explain when the pain started.