After having your day shaken up by a car accident, you’ve got a lot going through your mind. How did the crash happen? Whose fault is it? When will I get into the auto shop to fix that dent?

At some point you might have concluded that if you didn’t leave the accident scene in an ambulance, then you won’t need to see a doctor. However, there is a whole list of delayed injuries you could develop from the impact of a car collision, and a trip to your physician’s office should be one of your first follow-up actions.

Physical and emotional pain

These are some signs of both physical and emotional injuries that might not immediately appear after a car crash:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is an injury caused by extreme, back-and-forth motion of the neck that often happens in rear-end car accidents. Some symptoms of whiplash include neck, shoulder and back pain. These symptoms could go away after a few weeks with proper treatment or they could signalize other injuries, like a herniated disc, muscle damage or pinched nerve.
  • Headaches: Headaches can also be a result of whiplash, but you should monitor any head pain or aches closely for several days, weeks or even months after your accident. The stress of having to deal with the car wreck can manifest as a headache, but it can also be a symptom of internal bleeding, a concussion or even a traumatic brain injury.
  • Emotional pain: Consistent headaches can also be the result of emotional pain or a mental illness, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some other warning signs of PTSD include constantly feeling uneasy or irritable, ongoing nightmares and being afraid to drive. Stress, anxiety or depression can also be directly related to the car accident or dealing with the aftermath.

Due to the delayed nature of several common car accident injuries, it’s a good idea to keep personal notes on how your symptoms progress or improve for several months after the crash. This is true for both physical and emotional pain — so visiting both a physician and psychologist sooner rather than later and scheduling follow-up appointments as needed is critical.

Not only will medical records, doctor notes and prescriptions help you build a personal injury case, but, most importantly, you’ll address any delayed injuries faster so you can fully recover.