The complexity of evaluating physical pain and damage after an auto collision
People who have been hurt in a collision are nervous, and with good reason! Sometimes they have a lot of questions: “How severe are my injuries?” “Are my injuries permanent?” “Will they heal?” “If they will heal, how long will it take?” “Is my pain related to this injury or is it from a prior injury?” Sometimes people aren’t sure what to ask. Either way, it’s OK. We’re here to help answer all of your questions.
When people are involved in a motor vehicle collision, they are mentally and physically “shaken up.” Imagine these circumstances; Two very large heavy objects collide, often very quickly, and tremendous amounts of energy are absorbed or transferred into the involved vehicles. Depending upon on the sizes of the vehicles, the direction in which they are traveling in relation to one another, the impact points on the vehicle, the occupants positioning in the respective vehicles, if they are braced or unbraced upon impact, are just some of the factors that will determine if a person is at risk for injury. Unfortunately, the quick energy transfer to the unsuspecting occupant, causes injuries. These patients often have injuries to their muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, and bones. Contusions (discoloration and bruising of the skin) are very common as well.
It is also quite common with injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, there are no visible signs of one. This is often the case related to head injuries. In other related injuries like contusions, yellow and purple discoloration to the site of trauma can be quite frightening to patients especially when they cannot recall coming in contact with the interior parts of the car cabin. When skin and bone are damaged, the appearance can be shocking, but the outcome is usually successful. This is because these tissues (muscle and bone) are highly vascularized, meaning they get a large amount of blood through a network of blood vessels. Tissues that receive a lot of blood usually heal rapidly and fully, thanks to the nutrients and oxygen in the blood. But other connective tissue like discs, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons don’t receive as much blood. They can take longer to completely heal – up to a year and a half or longer.