Right after a collision happens, certain injuries will be obvious. You’ll know your leg is broken when you can’t put any weight on it, while loss of sensation and motor function could be warning signs of spinal cord injuries.
Those with severe conditions that present immediate symptoms often require emergency trauma care after a collision. However, many others may have injuries that simply aren’t as obvious right away.
You need to pay close attention to how you feel after a car crash and commit yourself to getting medical care right away if you notice any of the five symptoms below, as they could all indicate a severe injury.
1. Difficulty focusing or changes in cognitive function
Have you noticed that it’s harder to recall things in recent days or that your brain seems fuzzy or your thoughts are unclear? Changes in cognitive function are a common warning sign of a brain injury. Left untreated, a traumatic brain injury will get worse, possibly producing more severe or even permanent symptoms.
2. Headache, nausea or unusual sensory symptoms
A persistent, sore, worsening headache can also be a sign of a brain injury after a car crash. Nausea or feeling sick to your stomach could be a warning sign. Some brain injuries produce sensory symptoms, like blurry vision, difficulty balancing or ringing in the ears.
3. Loss of consciousness
If you lose consciousness, even for a few seconds, you probably need careful medical evaluation. Difficulties with staying awake or other disruptions to your sleep pattern could also be signs of a progressing brain injury after a crash.
4. Abdominal pain or swelling
Your brain isn’t the only place where internal bleeding could cause severe problems. Some people have trauma to their midsection during a crash that could cause them to bleed into the abdominal cavity or even into their lungs. Feelings of pain, tenderness or swelling in your abdomen could all be warning signs of ongoing internal bleeding.
Feeling dizzy or like the room has started to spin around can happen after you lose too much blood. Dizziness, weakness and numbness warn of blood loss. Feeling dizzy can also be a sign of pressure on the brain. Either way, a prompt medical examination is necessary.
Anyone with serious medical symptoms or a reason to suspect an injury to their head or abdomen will likely benefit from seeing a doctor after a crash, if only to rule out the possibility of a severe injury.