Most serious injuries are apparent right when they happen. If you break your leg, you probably won’t walk away regardless of how high your pain tolerance is. Instead, you will have to remain immobile until medical professionals arrive to help stabilize the injured leg and move you somewhere for treatment.
However, not all injuries will be noticeable immediately after an accident. They may take time to develop symptoms. Even a broken bone could be hard to spot right after you get hurt. The flood of stress hormones accompanying a crash or an injury might keep you from noticing the pain.
If you have a stable fracture or a hairline fracture, you might not notice the injury until you try to lift something or go to the gym the next day. What other serious injuries may not be apparent right after you get hurt?
Traumatic brain injuries
Despite movies showing people losing consciousness or suffering nosebleeds immediately after hurting their brain, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will often take days to present symptoms.
The bleeding or swelling of the brain will continue to increase to a point where it puts pressure on certain parts of the brain. Many people go days with an undiagnosed TBI. Their symptoms could become progressively worse the longer they wait for treatment.
Internal bleeding in the abdomen
Internal bleeding is a serious concern when you fall from a significant height or get hurt in a car crash. Not only will blood loss affect your health and safety, but the pressure caused by that internal bleeding could also result in severe symptoms.
People may go hours or even several days after an abdominal injury without realizing the dangerous amount of blood they have lost. They may not seek care until they experience signs like dizziness and weakness.
Spinal cord injuries
A complete spinal cord injury is immediately obvious. Once you entirely sever the spinal cord, you will lose motor function and sensation below the injury site.
However, many people who hurt their spinal cords don’t sever it but pinch, cut or tear it. They may experience impaired function or reduced sensation. They also potentially have the opportunity for their condition to get better or worse. Not recognizing and quickly treating an incomplete spinal cord injury might mean that someone does additional damage and might worsen their prognosis.
Receiving a medical evaluation after a car crash or other serious incident can help you identify worrying medical conditions before they worsen.