Why Don’t I Feel Pain Until a Few Days After My Accident?

Many healthcare professionals are asked this question when treating patients after an accident.  In most cases, this lack of pain is because the pain hasn’t manifested itself yet.  In these cases, the pain that does arise is a result of the bodies acute inflammatory reaction.  This reaction happens when the body’s healing properties take effect.

Soft tissue damage is often a result of incidents that lead to delayed pain.  This damage causes a release of chemicals by the body to begin the healing process to the soft tissue damage. The process includes an increase in tissue permeability as well as blood vessel dilation and the production of extra white blood cells. The result of all this activity manifests as pain several hours, or even days, after the incident.

If you aren’t sure how severe your injuries are, a good clue is to gauge how quickly the pain comes on and how severe it is once it does.  This information will help your doctor advise you on the best course of treatment to speed along the healing process.  This information is especially important to avoid prolonging the inflammatory reaction of the body.

Case in point: A woman was in a bad car collision that rear-ended and totaled her vehicle.  Initially, she thought she had come out of it unscathed because she wasn’t feeling any discomfort.  Despite her friends and family advising her to go to her doctor to get checked out, she chose instead to continue about her plans for the week.

She even went as far as relating to the other driver’s insurance company the first day after the collision that she felt fine and didn’t think there would be any need to see a doctor.  (Note: NEVER do that.)

It wasn’t until the second day that she started to feel some discomfort.  She chose to ignore it and as treatment decided she just needed a good soak in her hot tub.

The pain increased daily until she finally decided to see her doctor.  By then, the acute inflammation had been made worse by the heat from the hot tub and heating pads, and it took her 30 minutes every day just to get out of bed.

The moral of this story?  Always see a healthcare professional after you suffer an accident so you’ll know exactly how to move forward. Do not take your body for granted and let the experts help.

Come see us at Unity Physician Services and we can help you understand how best to treat your pain.

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