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Yes, your back injury can have a delayed onset

You were involved in a serious collision, and, days later, the pain started to catch up to you. Your lower back was so stiff that you could barely move to get to your vehicle and drive to the emergency room. Getting there was nearly impossible, causing you pain with every movement.

Once there, you told the medical providers that you'd been involved in a car crash days before. They were not surprised that your back was starting to hurt now, since many symptoms can be delayed after crashes. They took an X-ray, and you quickly learned that you had a fracture that could be extremely dangerous to your health if it's not set. You've been living with a broken back for two days, which could have left you paralyzed.

Situations like this aren't as uncommon as you may believe. Many catastrophic injuries emerge hours or days after a crash. For instance, lower back pain might not signal how seriously you've been hurt until hours later. Brain injuries may not have the symptoms you'd expect until swelling continues to cause compression. Even internal bleeding doesn't always cause symptoms right away.

These catastrophic injuries need care immediately. Back injuries can press on the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness and paralysis. Long-term problems, like arthritis and other painful conditions, can also develop after an injury to your lower back.

What should you do when you discover that you have a more serious injury than you thought?

It's important to complete the treatments advised by your medical provider. If surgery is necessary, don't put it off for fear of not receiving compensation. As long as your injury can be tied to the collision you were in, you can pursue a claim to recover any expenses you have as a result.

Lower back injuries sometimes take time to emerge, especially if you have other injuries that are more painful or disrupting. Once you know that you have a condition, immediate treatment is the best way to reduce the chance of ongoing complications and problems that could impact your ability to walk, use your arms or live without chronic pain.

Victims of crashes should always go to the hospital following a collision. Even if you feel fine, delayed onset injuries are a potential problem. Even life-threatening injuries aren't always apparent immediately, so the best thing for you to do is to go to the hospital for an exam.

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