Car accidents are stressful no matter how minor. When you’ve been in a car accident, a good rule of thumb is that if there is any damage to your car then there is likely damage to your body. Scrapes and bruises are obvious injuries that you can see and get treated right away. The combination of stress from the accident and mild discomfort you might feel after a car accident is sometimes enough to cause a headache. While you might find it tempting to wait out a headache after a car accident, it can actually be a sign that something more is going on, especially when you notice your headache just won’t go away.
Here are three car accident injuries that have headaches as a symptom:
Whiplash is the most common car accident injury and persistent headaches are one symptom of many that can help your doctor diagnose it. In a car accident, the force of impact can cause your head to fling forward and snap backward, affecting the muscles, bones, and soft tissues in your neck. Your neck muscles help support your spine and also provide you with the range of motion to turn your head all around. When whiplash occurs, these neck muscles are often strained out of their normal range of motion which can lead to muscle strains and even tears. The pain and discomfort from muscle strains can lead to headaches, as well as the inflammation that occurs around the injury site.
The bones in your neck are also affected by whiplash and can lead to a headache after a car accident. A car accident doctor can identify and diagnose any damage to your vertebrae or the discs that separate them. Inflammation, swelling, and pressure on nerves can cause headaches. It is common to have headaches after whiplash because it is whiplash causes your head and neck to be jostled violently, naturally resulting in pain in the head and neck. Whiplash treatment will include managing the pain of your headaches while also treating the injury itself.
You can get a concussion from a car accident if your head hits the steering wheel, dashboard, or one of the windows. But did you know that you can also get a concussion with whiplash? Because the force of the accident causes your head and neck to move around so violently, it can actually put pressure on your brain and lead to a headache after a car accident and even to a concussion. Even car accidents that occurred at relatively low speed can lead to a concussion, especially if you weren’t able to brace for impact. The actual motion of the whiplash can cause a concussion.
While most concussions don’t require serious medical interventions like surgery, it is still important that you are evaluated by your doctor to avoid any long-term effects. Your car accident doctor will develop a treatment plan for you that will include treating the symptoms of your headaches with pain management and medication. Headaches related to a concussion can be severe and feel similar to a migraine, where you feel a throbbing pain. Sometimes these headaches can lead to sensitivity to light and even make you feel nauseous. It is important that you seek treatment to not only address the symptoms of the concussion but also the injury itself.
3. Spinal Misalignment
Spinal misalignments refer to any time there is an injury to your neck and back that causes the vertebrae in your spine to shift out of place. One sign of a misalignment, often referred to as a subluxation by a chiropractor, can be a persistent headache after a car accident that won’t go away. When a vertebra in your neck is misaligned, it can cause significant pain and discomfort. Simple chiropractic adjustments can help resolve a misalignment and restore proper posture so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.
The spongy discs that separate your vertebrae also help absorb shock. If a disc slips out of place, what doctors refer to as a herniated disc, the disc can put pressure on nearby nerves and cause pain to radiate through parts of your body. A slipped disc can also lead to two vertebrae rubbing against one another, causing pain too. When these discs and vertebrae are misaligned in your neck, the supportive muscles and tissues may even be inflamed. Any type of inflammation from an injury can lead to headaches and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Chiro Atlanta has a team of car accident doctors who can help you identify the source of your persistent headache and develop an individualized treatment plan that will address your headaches as well as the root problem so you can experience full healing and recovery!