DELAY OF SYMPTOMS PERSONAL INJURY ARTICLES



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THE DELAY OF SYMPTOMS AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

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By: Dr Gary Robertson DC

If you have been involved in an accident, you may have noticed that there was a delay in the onset of your symptoms. Why does this occur? 

A number of theories have been proposed to explain the delay in symptoms following an accident, however, no one knows exactly why this occurs. It is most likely that the reason is related to several different factors involved in the nature and severity of the injuries.  Accident injuries typically involve spinal structures such as the spinal facet joint and its ligamentous capsule, the intervertebral disc, and even the vertebral end plates (bone). These structures are not supplied with a great number of sensory nerves. In fact, up until the last decade, it was generally taught that intervertebral discs had no innervation at all and wer unlikely to be pain generators. This may be one of the reasons why injuries to these tissues do not cause immediate pain. In contrast, our hands have one of the richest nerve supplies in the body in order that we can feel, tough, manipulate objects, etc. When you injure a hand, the brain becomes aware of it immediately as a result of this rich afferent nerve innervation.

In addition, we know that one of the common pain producing processes in any injury is inflammation, which has cellular and humoral components. Chemical agents such as prostaglandins-which are the targets of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen-are synthesized in a cascade of chemical reactions following injury and probably do not reach peak levels in the body for 12-72 hours. This may also help to explain the common delay in onset of symptoms after whiplash or similar accident injury.

If you have been in an accident and have pain, even if it is minor, consult with a doctor who has experience treating accident injuries. Our professional staff has over 20 years experience in managing Personal Injury cases.
 
Author: Dr. Gary Robertson is a 1989 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. He has over 20 years expreience treating patients with accident injuries and has post-graduate training in Whiplash and Spinal Trauma, Spinal Biomechanics and Spinal Rehabilitation. Dr Robertson serves as the President for the Dade County Chiropractic Society.