It's common for people involved in car accidents to feel sore for days, weeks, or months. Some studies have estimated that as many as 75-90% of people who are involved in car accidents experience some form of pain. This pain can range from mild to severe, and can affect different parts of the body. There are several reasons why your body may hurt days or weeks after a car accident. Here are some common reasons why this can happen:
- Delayed onset of symptoms: In some cases, the symptoms of an injury may not appear immediately after the accident. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as when the body releases chemicals that mask the pain or when the body is in shock. As a result, the symptoms of an injury may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.
- Chronic pain: In some cases, an injury sustained in a car accident can lead to chronic pain. This can happen when the injury damages the nerves, muscles, or other tissues in the body, and the pain persists even after the injury has healed. Chronic pain can be severe and debilitating, and it may require medical treatment and therapy to manage.
- Psychological effects: Car accidents can also have psychological effects, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological effects can manifest as physical symptoms, such as body pain, headache, and fatigue.
- Other factors: There are many other factors that can contribute to body pain after a car accident, such as stress, lack of sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. These factors can affect the body's ability to heal and recover from an injury, and can make the pain worse.
The human body comprises more than 600 muscles, 900 ligaments, and 4,000 tendons. That's an extensive network of soft tissues, any of which can get injured in car accidents.
The leading cause of muscle aches and soreness is overstretching and tearing during an accident, commonly referred to as a muscle strain.
The abrupt impact of a car accident can rip individual muscle fibers, leading to swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury. This inflammation can irritate the nerves around the muscle fibers, causing pain, tingling, and a burning sensation. It can take a few days for inflammation to develop, which explains why some symptoms of muscle injury may not appear until 24 to 48 hours later.
To recover from a car crash, the body attempts to guard the damaged tissue by immobilizing the area. This causes the muscle to contract, leading to painful spasms, typically indicative of muscle injury rather than mere soreness.