What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Thousands of people get into car accidents every day in the United States, and many of those accidents result in some type of injury. Many victims of a crash may not realize they have suffered any car accident injuries right away, so it can be difficult to know what to expect. However, there are certain symptoms after a car accident to look out for and ways to tell if you’ve suffered an injury from a car accident. You might be surprised and grateful that you don’t feel any pain after a car accident. As the hours and days go by, you want to keep an eye out for car accident symptoms that might surprise you as minor or major interferences to your daily routines and activities.

How a Car Accident Can Affect You

Here’s what to expect physically after a car accident and what you can do about it.

Shock and Adrenaline in the Immediate Aftermath

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your body will start pumping adrenaline as an automatic response to such a surprising and potentially traumatic experience. You might experience shock along with the stress of such an atypical event. Both shock and adrenaline can cause delayed symptoms of injuries, so you might not even realize you are injured right away.

Injury Symptoms May Appear Slowly After the Accident

As the adrenaline and shock start to wear off, you might slowly start to notice pain and discomfort start to settle in. You may start to feel stiff and sore in the hours after a car accident, especially in your neck and back. Once you have had a chance to get home and relax, you might become more aware of the signs and symptoms of car accident injuries.

Gradual Return to Regular Routine and Activities

If you suffered a car accident injury, you will want to work with a car accident doctor to determine the best plan for treatment and recovery. A car accident injury can impact your mobility and even keep you from performing regular duties or the ability to go to work. As you get treatment for a car accident injury, you will gradually start to return to your regular routine and activities.

Common Signs and Symptoms After a Car Accident

Even if you don’t feel any discomfort immediately after the accident occurs, these are some of the most common signs and symptoms that you may experience in the hours and days after a car accident.


Headaches can occur after a car accident for several reasons: a stress response to such a traumatic event or as a sign of a car accident injury. Many car accident injuries have headaches as a main sign or symptom, including whiplash, concussion, and strained or torn muscles in the neck and upper back.

Neck & Back Pain

Neck and back pain are also common after a car accident because of how much pressure is put on your spine during an accident. The force of impact can jostle and jolt your whole body, stretching and straining the muscles that help support your spine. Neck and back pain can occur due to stress, muscle tension, soft tissue injuries, along with spine and joint injuries.


Just like when you bump your shin on a coffee table, it can take bruises a while to fully appear. You may not realize you have serious bruising from an accident for a few hours or even days. While some bruises are merely surface level on your skin and go away on their own, other times, bruising accompanied by extreme pain and tenderness can be a sign of a more serious internal injury that you want to get checked out by a doctor right away.


Many car accident injuries can lead to swelling and inflammation. Swelling can occur gradually, and you may be able to help remedy this with icing and elevating the area. However, swelling can also be a sign of car accident injuries like pulled or torn muscles, sprains, whiplash, tissue damage, and more. Swelling can also increase your pain and cause your muscles to become stiff and uncomfortable.

Pins & Needles

If you start to experience tingling and numbness after a car accident, that can be a sign that your nerves have been aggravated or damaged. Nerves can become pressured or compressed by car accident injuries near the spine and cause tingling, weakness, and numbness in your extremities.

Talk to your car accident chiropractor at Killeen Affordable Chiropractic if you experience any of these symptoms and get started on personalized treatment and care that will help you heal and recover!