Automobile accidents are emotionally and physically traumatic events. After an accident, individuals assume that they are okay if they don’t have any broken bones or gashing cuts. However, even minor accidents can lead to significant damage, but the individual doesn’t know it. An invisible/delayed injury is any injury that is not immediately obvious or is not experienced by the individual until hours, days, or weeks later. The most common are soft tissue injuries, back injuries, whiplash, concussions, and internal bleeding. This is why it is imperative to see a doctor or chiropractic accident specialist as soon as possible after an accident.

Invisible Injuries - Auto Accidents: EP's Chiropractic Specialists

Invisible Injuries Auto Accidents

The body goes into a fight or flight mode in a vehicle accident. That means a massive adrenaline surge makes anything happening to the body go unnoticed and unfelt. The individual does not feel pain and discomfort symptoms until later or much later.

Soft Tissue

  • A soft tissue injury affects muscles, tendons, ligaments, and body parts other than bone.
  • Even at low speeds, accidents, and collisions generate a significant force on the body.
  • Drivers and passengers often come to a sudden stop along with the vehicle or get thrown around.
  • This places intense stress on joints and other areas of the body.


The most common invisible soft-tissue injury is whiplash.

  • Where the neck muscles are suddenly and forcefully thrown forward and then back, causing the muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion.
  • The injury typically results in pain, swelling, reduced mobility, and headaches.
  • Symptoms may not present right away.
  • Left untreated, whiplash can lead to long-term chronic pain.

Head Injuries

  • Head injuries are another common invisible injury.
  • Even if the head did not hit/impact anything, the force and momentum can cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull.
  • This can lead to a concussion or even more serious brain injuries.


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Individuals can have a concussion without losing consciousness, depending on the accident’s severity. Symptoms may be delayed or not experienced, but delayed treatment can lead to a longer recovery. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Confusion.
  • Inability to remember the accident.
  • Nausea.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Dizziness.

Back Muscles or Spine Injuries

Back muscles and spinal cord injuries are invisible injuries that can happen after an automobile accident. Signs of a back injury include:

  • The back muscles can be strained due to the impact and tension build-up.
  • Sore muscles or pain may not present until a day or two later.
  • Body stiffness.
  • Reduced mobility.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Trouble walking, standing, or sitting.
  • Headaches.
  • Numbness and tingling.

Injuries to the spine, even serious ones, may not be apparent immediately.

  • The impact can cause the spine to shift out of alignment profoundly.
  • Swelling and bleeding in or around the spinal cord can cause numbness or paralysis that can gradually progress.
  • This invisible injury can have long-term consequences, including paralysis.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic is an effective treatment for neuromusculoskeletal injuries. The chiropractor will assess the damage and its severity to determine the best treatment for the individual. It relieves pain and discomfort symptoms, loosens and relaxes the muscles, and restores alignment, mobility, and a full range of motion. Chiropractic uses several tools and techniques to restore the spine and body balance. Results include:

  • Pain relieved.
  • Improved circulation.
  • Restored alignment.
  • Released compressed/pinched nerves.
  • Improved posture and balance.
  • Improved flexibility.
  • Restored mobility.

Don’t Ignore Post-Accident Pain


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Binder, Allan I. “Neck pain.” BMJ clinical evidence vol. 2008 1103. 4 Aug. 2008

Duncan, G J, and R Meals. “One hundred years of automobile-induced orthopedic injuries.” Orthopedics vol. 18,2 (1995): 165-70. doi:10.3928/0147-7447-19950201-15

“Motor Vehicle Safety.” Annals of emergency medicine vol. 68,1 (2016): 146-7. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2016.04.045

Sims, J K et al. “Automobile accident occupant injuries.” JACEP vol. 5,10 (1976): 796-808. doi:10.1016/s0361-1124(76)80313-9

Vassiliou, Timon, et al. “Physical therapy and active exercises–an adequate treatment for prevention of late whiplash syndrome? Randomized controlled trial in 200 patients.” Pain vol. 124,1-2 (2006): 69-76. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2006.03.017


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The information herein on "Invisible Injuries - Auto Accidents: EP Health Coach Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


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