Auto Accident Injury – Delayed Onset

I am often asked by patients after an accident why their pain came came on a little later. In some cases, patient’s experience immediate symptoms and in others it takes a little while to reveal its true colors.

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be experiencing symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, achiness, swelling, ringing in the ears, blurry vision, etc. As mentioned above, they may occur immediately or several days to weeks later. While numerous theories have been advanced to explain this delay, which is typically 24-72 hours, no one knows for certain.

The injury is now known to involve spinal structures that includes tissues that are known to have a more sparse nerve ending supply than most tissues. This may be one of the reasons why injuries in these tissues does not cause immediate pain.

In contrast, our hands have one of the richest nerve supplies in the body in order that we can feel, touch, manipulate objects, etc. When you injure a hand, the brain becomes aware of it immediately as a result of this rich afferent innervation.

It is also known that one of the common pain producing processes in any injury is inflammation. These chemical agents are released into the tissues after trauma. They may not reach peak levels for a little while and thus, not cause their pain inducing effect. This may also help to explain the common delay in onset of symptoms after whiplash or similar injury.

In any case, it is imperative to help the body with gentle adjustments to restore proper joint function and reduce scar tissue adhesions that can develop into chronic pain patterns. Incorporating light trigger point therapy with some specific spinal stretching techniques will further bring the joint to its normal state.  Click here to view an article on our website about delayed onset.

– Dr. Michael Lau, D.C.

Natural Health & Chiropractic Center
6130 S Maplewood Ave # D
Tulsa OK 74136
United States


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