A car accident can be traumatic, both physically and mentally. Recovering from it can be a long journey since there are no shortcuts to the healing process. Some injuries take weeks (or even months) to heal completely, depending on the severity of the injury, the patients’ existing health conditions and compliance to the treatment.
It’s a long process. The sooner you start, however, the quicker you’ll begin to feel better. Your behavior in the days following your accident sets the tone for the rest of your recovery.
Fortunately, you don’t have to walk alone in this journey. Together with your family, friends and auto injury chiropractor, you can move forward from the accident by following these steps.
Seek Medical Care Immediately After the Accident
Not all injuries from vehicular accidents are visible. Symptoms and pain from whiplash and concussions can take hours, days or even weeks to manifest. If you think you feel fine after the accident, don’t be too sure. The longer you wait to see a doctor, your unknown injuries may worsen and require more extensive medical care and recovery period.
If left untreated, auto accident injuries like herniated spinal discs and whiplash can result in chronic pain. Plus, internal bleeding or untreated concussions can cause permanent brain damage or life-threatening.
Even if you don’t experience pain after the accident, seek medical care. A doctor can run imaging tests to check for fractures, swelling, soft tissue damage and internal bleeding.
Work with the Right Auto Accident Doctor
Right after an accident, your first instinct may be to consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your physician, however, may not be the best doctor to help you recover fully from the accident. PCPs can treat internal injuries, but many of them are not equipped to identify, diagnose and treat accident injuries like soft tissue injuries, fractures, whiplash and concussions.
Instead, seek special care from a doctor who has experience treating auto accident injuries. Look for a specialist who provides orthopedic care and pain management services for bone, joint, spine and muscle conditions.
Follow Your Prescribed Treatment Plan
As mentioned above, the recovery and treatment process may be slow and long. To ensure a complete recovery (in the shortest time) possible, follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan.
- Taking all the medications as prescribed
- Taking time off work to allow your body to heal
- Participating in physical therapy
- Performing all recommended exercises at home
- Attending follow-up appointments with your physician
If you feel like your treatment plan needs improvement, don’t drop it immediately. Instead, talk to your physician to discuss alternate treatment options.
Get Enough Rest
Rest and sleep are important to the recovery process. During sleep, the body increases its blood flow to the muscles, encouraging tissue and muscle repair and growth. Also, your stress hormone levels drop when you sleep, reducing your risk of internal inflammation.
After the accident, prioritize winding down, resting and sleeping frequently so your body can fully heal. Quality sleep will also improve your alertness, mood and energy levels during the day.
The key is to know your limits and not push yourself too soon or too hard. “Powering through” is not always an option, especially after a serious car accident. If you need to rest and unwind, do so. Listen your favorite music, read up on Harry Styles dating life or finish the Harry Potter series.
Learn How to Manage Your Pain
You will experience pain for several weeks or months after your accident. The pain can cause you to feel sad, frustrated, angry, hopeless and less motivated to take other steps in your recovery. Still, it’s important to push through when your body allows you. Managing your pain can help you progress forward.
Pain management often includes frequent rest during the day, the use of cold or hot compresses and over-the-counter pain medications. Regular massages can also help with sore ligaments, tendons and muscles. Talk to your physician if you’re struggling with the pain, so they can prescribe stronger painkillers or other treatment options.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated
A balanced diet keeps your recovery on track. As you heal, your body will need plenty of vitamins and protein to repair the damage – something whole, fresh foods can give. Try to eat healthy meals regularly, even on the days when you’re in pain or struggling with the recovery process. Your body is like a car; it needs gas to function properly. Gas up your body so you can recover your lost energy and strength.
Also, don’t forget to drink eight glasses of water. Your body needs to stay hydrated to repair tissues and muscles inside the body.
Wrap up all the steps above by surrounding yourself with a good support system. Family and friends can assist you in your daily routine, as well as encourage you when you feel frustrated with your journey. Together with your loved ones,