Following any kind of automobile accident, it is not uncommon for the persons involved to insist that they are fine. Although a natural aversion to doctors may be partially responsible, there is something else at play in these situations.
The reason many people claim to be OK is they are not actually in any pain. Within a few days, however, the aches set in, as does the realization that something might be wrong. Why does this happen?
Why does pain not occur until later?
If you have seen enough action films, you have heard an actor credit his ability to carry on, despite serious injury, to adrenaline. Though exaggeration is a factor, there is some truth to this concept.
In times of intense stress or fear, adrenaline is the hormone that kicks in. It triggers the body’s survival instincts, including biological responses that make you stronger and more aware. This hormone also reduces pain receptors in your brain, which is why it acts as a physiological painkiller. The effects can last for some time following exposure, which means you may not feel anything until well after the stress is gone.
Car accidents are sudden. Without time to prepare, it is natural for your body to respond by releasing adrenaline. However, just because you do not feel pain, this does not mean that you are not injured.
Does a delay mean the injury is minor?
Even though you might not be in agony after an auto collision, injuries can become quite serious if you delay treatment. A few headaches could be the sign of major brain trauma; a sore chest may mean broken ribs. You also might have significant spinal injuries or internal bleeding that only gets worse.
No matter how you feel, you should see a doctor immediately. If an ambulance does not come to the scene of the accident, go to the hospital yourself. Not only can a medical professional detect these seemingly painless injuries early on, but you can also obtain enough information to help you secure damages if you decide to pursue them.
Not feeling immediate pain is common, but that does not mean you should ignore traumatic circumstances when they occur. If your body has just been through an ordeal, be proactive and get a doctor to give you the final OK.