Nausea and Vomiting After a Car Accident: What Does it Mean?

The aftermath of a car accident is usually overwhelming. You have to haggle with insurance companies, get broken limbs or sprains treated, and determine the best way to move forward with your life. In all that turmoil, it’s easy to ignore feeling flu-like symptoms after a car accident or nausea and headache after a car accident. 

However, if you experience any of those symptoms, you should not ignore them — you should notify a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They could be indicators of a more severe underlying issue that requires a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Pushing these symptoms to the side could lead to complications and undetected injury that may require even more treatment in the long run. Learn about what it means if you experience flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, or headaches after a car accident.

Young black woman sitting on her couch with a headache from a car accident

Possible causes of nausea and vomiting after a wreck

First, it is important to remember that some injuries after a car accident may not present themselves immediately. You may not feel nausea, vomiting, or even experience diarrhea after a car accident until hours or days later. There are various causes linked to someone experiencing these symptoms after a car crash, and each one can potentially be severe if they are not treated as quickly as possible. If you are vomiting up blood, you need to seek care immediately, as this is usually a symptom of a serious injury. Some common causes of car accident nausea can include:

  • Damage to the digestive system: During a car crash, your abdominal region could be hit and cause damage to those organs. A hematoma or internal bleeding could cause stomach bloating, swelling, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Whiplash: The force from a car accident can lead to whiplash, which can cause varying levels of pain depending on its severity. Intense neck pain, backaches, or headaches all may lead to vomiting or feelings of nausea.
  • Fractures or broken limbs: Pain from a fracture or broken limb can be tough to bear, and if that pain is high, your body may react by vomiting or causing nauseous feelings.
  • Damage to soft tissue: If you suffer damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments, the pain can be very tough to handle and lead to nausea or vomiting.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Whether it’s due to severe whiplash or a blow to the head, you may also suffer traumatic brain injury during an automobile accident. Vomiting or nausea after a car wreck could be due to a traumatic brain injury that needs immediate medical attention.
  • Concussions: A concussion often occurs after a blow to the head, and if you hit your head in a car accident and experience nausea and/or vomiting after, that is a telltale sign of a concussion. These should be inspected and treated as soon as possible to avoid any further brain damage.
  • Internal bleeding: The impact from a car wreck could cause internal bleeding, which in many cases won’t be detectable unless you seek medical care. Pain from internal bleeding may lead to nausea or vomiting.
  • Anxiety: It is normal to experience anxious feelings after an auto accident, and sometimes those can cause you to feel nauseated or sick to your stomach. 

No matter what the cause may be, nausea and vomiting should be taken seriously if you experience it after being involved in a car accident. It is always advised to err on the side of caution when you have these symptoms after a wreck. A qualified medical professional will be able to help figure out the cause and how it should be treated. You’ll need an accurate diagnosis, as each one will be treated differently and some are much more serious than others.

Why you should not wait to seek medical attention

In Florida, you have 14 days after the date of a car accident before the statute of limitations for your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance expires. This insurance will cover your injuries even if you were determined to be at-fault for the wreck, so it is in your best interest to seek medical attention. If you wait, you could end up paying a lot more out of pocket — and you could also end up with more serious complications if your injuries go untreated. 

What to do if you experience nausea or vomiting after a car accident

After you’ve been in a car accident and experience either nausea or vomiting, you need to go to your doctor or even the hospital depending on the severity of your symptoms. Your primary care physician may end up examining you and determining that you need to see a specialist. For example, they could detect that you have an injury to part of your spine that only an orthopedic surgeon can treat. Delaying your treatment is never a good idea as it only delays your recovery, even if it’s determined that your nausea subsides with prescription medication.

How an orthopedic doctor may help you

After you experience car accident nausea or chills after a car accident, your treatment plan may involve orthopedic remedies. These are generally most effective when they’re overseen by an orthopedic doctor or surgeon. They can look at your injuries and figure out the best methods to treat them. 

For example, if you end up with severe whiplash, they can work to help relieve the pain you feel in your neck and back. Whiplash can cause nausea after a car wreck, and if you are vomiting and nauseated you could end up dehydrated. Your orthopedic doctor can treat the injury effectively to try and stop the vomiting and nausea as soon as possible. 

Your orthopedic specialist can also treat any fractures that you may have or soft tissue injuries. Ligaments, tendons, and muscle pain can cause nausea as well, and those need certain types of specialized treatment in order to heal properly. 

What’s involved in orthopedic car accident treatment

When you visit the orthopedic specialist, they will assess your injuries and create a plan. Depending on the severity, they may recommend surgery, but will try to use less invasive methods of treatment if possible. This may include rest, ice, nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and more. If you opt for an outpatient center, you’ll be able to get X-rays, MRIs, exams, physical therapy, and more all under one roof. 

Your orthopedic doctor may decide surgery is needed, and that surgery can also be performed in an outpatient center. At Alexander Orthopaedic Associates, we use a team approach so that our staff can collaborate on cases and work together. That approach allows us to lead you toward a full recovery rather than a temporary fix.

How long it may take to recover from post-accident nausea

Since the causes of nausea after a car accident are so diverse, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Many times, nausea and vomiting after a wreck are directly linked to pain from an injury. Once that pain is treated and the injury is repaired, the vomiting and nauseous feelings will likely subside. 

However, for some injuries, it may take longer for the pain to die down. Traumatic internal injuries will take longer to recover from than some others, and it could take weeks or months to recover from a bad back or neck injury. Each case is different, and the medical professionals who are treating you will be able to best answer this question for you. 

Feeling nauseous after a car accident? We may be able to help.

At Alexander Orthopaedics, we work with car accident victims to help them recover from their injuries. If your injury caused you to feel nausea or vomit after a wreck, then we may be able to help you relieve those symptoms by treating the underlying cause. If it’s bone or soft tissue injuries, our team members can jump in and create a specialized treatment plan that best fits you and your lifestyle. Don’t wait to get your injuries treated, as they may end up getting worse and cause you more problems down the road. Contact us today so we can discuss your injuries and get you in for an appointment as soon as possible. 

Learn More About Auto Accident Recovery at Alexander Orthopaedics.