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What if your pain is delayed following an accident?

When you suffer a work accident, such as a fall from a ladder or traffic collision, you may feel pain immediately. In some cases however, the onset of pain can be delayed. This is particularly true in cases involving traffic accidents.

Delayed pain can be merely bothersome, but it can also indicate the presence of a serious, even life-threatening, medical problem. For this reason, it's very important to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. The onset of delayed pain can also complicate a workers' compensation claim.

Types of delayed pain

Here are some of the types of pain you may experience after an accident:

Abdominal pain -- This type of pain may indicate that you have suffered tissue damage in one or more of your organs. Internal injuries can be fatal. If you feel abdominal pain after an accident, get medical attention immediately. In addition, headaches, dizziness, or deep bruising could indicate the existence of internal bleeding.

Headaches -- These could be related to stress. But headaches could also mean that you have suffered a neck injury, concussion, traumatic brain injury or whiplash. Severe headaches could indicate that you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Neck or shoulder pain -- This could mean that you have suffered whiplash or a spinal cord injury such as a herniated disc.

Back pain -- This could mean that you are suffering whiplash, a sprain, a herniated disc, or a soft-tissue injury such as muscle damage.

Numbness or tingling -- If you feel numbness or tingling in your back, it could mean that you are suffering from a herniated disc that is pinching a nerve. The presence of a pinched nerve can also result in weakness in one or more limbs.

Emotional suffering -- After a work injury, a person can suffer depression, anxiety, or PTSD. A brain injury can also result in these types of emotional disorders.  

What to do if you are suffering delayed pain

After a work accident, you should tell your doctor about all of the symptoms you are suffering. Though you may think some of your symptoms are trivial or unrelated to your accident, they may in fact be directly related. It is important to get these noted in your medical record for the purposes of your workers' compensation claim.

In addition, you may want to speak with a workers' compensation attorney. This person can review your situation, help you get an independent medical evaluation if needed, and help you get all of the benefits you are entitled to receive.

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