How Long Should Pain Last After a Car Accident?

It’s normal to experience some soreness and pain after being involved in a car accident. The problem is knowing when the pain has lingered too long and could be an indicator of something more serious.

It’s normal to be sore for a few hours, maybe even a few days after a car accident. However, if it’s been longer than that, you may be wondering just how long you should be sore after your accident. This usually indicates you have had pain that is lingering longer than your other typical injuries.

For more serious injuries, it’s possible that you will be sore for weeks or months after a car accident. But it’s not normal to experience pain and soreness from an accident for more than six weeks. 

Even if you don’t have lasting injuries, you may still feel pain and stiffness. While some injuries take longer to heal than others, some can have long lasting complications, especially if not treated early on, which is why getting treatment for injuries is important after a car accident. 

How Do I Know If It’s Serious?

Signs that your injury may be serious and need treatment may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Recurring dizziness
  • Pain in the neck that makes it difficult to move or turn your neck 
  • Back pain that makes it difficult to twist, crouch, or turn
  • Numbness or tingling in any area of the body

Although a variety of injuries can occur during a car accident, here are some of the most common that we see that may result in pain and serious complications.

  • Head injuries – These injuries can be as small as bruising and cuts, or as serious as a traumatic brain injury.
  • Back injuries – These injuries are common due to the rapid jerking motion and can result in soft tissue injuries to herniated discs and more.
  • Internal injuries – A seatbelt is made to protect you from more serious injuries but can also result in internal damage such as broken or bruised ribs, especially if worn incorrectly. 
  • Neck injuries & whiplash – Neck injuries are extremely common in car accidents due to the abrupt jerking motion. 
  • Spinal cord injuries – Spinal discs and vertebrae are often twisted and pushed out of alignment when a car rapidly changes directions and stops. Some accidents may even result in fractures and other spinal injuries. 

Encourage Your Body to Heal

Unfortunately the healing process takes time. However, there are things you can do at home to help your body begin the healing process and put your recovery on the right track:

  • Stay hydrated – When you are dehydrated your muscles cannot function properly which can lead to tight muscles and cramping. Your muscles are already under stress from your injuries, so keep them hydrated so they don’t tighten and cause more pain. 
  • Stretching – Stretching can relieve the stress and stiffness by requiring deep breathing and the use of full range of motion. This gives your muscles the oxygen they need to relax and reach their full function potential. 
  • Rest – This is vital for whole body healing. Give your body time to recuperate from the damage that was done. 
  • Heat and Ice – When you are in pain, heat and/or ice may help. The warmth of a heating pad can sooth injured tissues and increase blood flow to the area to flush away excess fluid. Plus, it feels good and promotes relaxation. Ice will help reduce inflammation, especially in the first 72 hours after the accident. Apply it for 10-15 minutes and then remove it for at least an hour. Repeat as needed. 

Overwhelmed by the Details and Insurance?

Treatment for your injuries after a car accident is crucial. However, when you are trying to recover from your injuries, dealing with the other party’s insurance or your own medical insurance can be difficult and cause even more stress. 

The good news is you don’t have to handle that on your own. Many chiropractors will work with the insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery. Chiropractic care is almost always covered as a necessary and reasonable medical cost if you have been injured in a car accident, so you likely won’t have to pay anything out of pocket for your treatments. It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the accident. 

However, in some states, Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage, provides coverage for medical expenses in the event of a car accident. To receive coverage under this type of insurance, there may be requirements for the amount of time you must receive treatment in making it even more important to receive prompt care for your injuries. 

Let Us Help Your Body Heal Faster

If you have been involved in a car accident, an accident chiropractor will perform a thorough exam and diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your injuries and create a treatment plan to help your body heal. We will also document your injuries thoroughly which can help your personal injury claim if one arises.

From adjustments, stretches, and other natural pain relief modalities, we offer a multitude of ways to treat your injuries and allow you to recover naturally at a reasonable pace. Prioritize your recovery and health. Schedule an appointment online or call (760) 566-0844. 


This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.