Car accidents are unexpected and shocking. It is hard to know what to do after experiencing a car crash, and sometimes people are unaware they have been injured for weeks or even months after their accident.
It’s critical to give yourself enough time to recover after an auto accident. When you allow yourself to heal and process what happened, you will be better prepared to deal with the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of an accident.
Here’s our guide to taking care of yourself after a car accident to help you get back to normal life as quickly as possible
Visit an auto injury doctor.
Not all car accident injuries are immediately visible.
Concussion, whiplash, and spine damage can cause pain and symptoms to appear hours, days, or even weeks later.
The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more likely your injuries will worsen and necessitate a longer recovery period.
Accident injuries such as whiplash and herniated spinal discs, if left untreated, can lead to chronic pain in the future. Untreated concussions or internal bleeding can be fatal or result in permanent brain damage.
Even if you are not in pain following a car accident, you should see a doctor for a checkup. Imaging tests can be performed to look for internal bleeding, swelling, fractures, and soft tissue damage.
After a car accident, your primary care physician is not the best doctor to see. Primary care physicians are trained to treat internal injuries; however, many lack the necessary training and qualifications to recognize, diagnose, and treat common accident injuries such as whiplash, concussions, soft tissue injuries, and fractures. Instead, seek treatment from a specialist who has treated similar injuries in the past.
Listen to and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
The treatment process may be long and slow. The most effective way you can ensure complete recovery in as short a time span as possible is to follow the prescribed treatment plan created by your doctor.
This could include:
- Taking time off work and limiting normal activities to allow your body time to heal
- Participating in physical therapy
- Performing therapist-recommended exercises at home
- Setting and attending follow-up appointments with your physician
If you feel like some parts of your treatment plan aren’t effective, don’t just stop following the plan. Instead, talk to your doctor.
Together, you can discuss alternative treatment options that will be more effective for you.
Practice self-care at home.
Sleep and rest are essential components of the healing process. When you sleep, your body increases blood flow to your muscles and repairs and grows tissue and muscles.
Following a major injury from an accident, it’s critical to slow down and frequently rest so your body can heal. A good night’s sleep will also improve your energy, alertness, and mood during the day.
Know your limits and avoid pushing yourself too far or too soon. You risk injuring yourself further if you try to “power through” serious car accident injuries.
Pain can make you angry, hopeless, frustrated, and less motivated to participate in physical therapy and other recovery activities. It is critical that you find ways to manage your pain; suffering in silence will only impede your progress.
Pain management may include taking frequent breaks during the day and applying hot or cold compresses. Massage may also be beneficial for sore muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Exercise and stretching are essential for regaining full range of motion, flexibility, balance, and endurance.
Regular movement will help keep your muscles and joints from stiffening and weakening and reduce the pain and inflammation from your injuries. Gentle stretching such as yoga is an excellent way to incorporate movement into your day.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations for the amount and type of exercise you can do safely.
Eating a nutritious diet can help you stay on track with your recovery. Your body requires good fuel to function properly, and eating well will make you feel stronger and more energetic. Your body requires adequate fluids to repair muscle and tissue damage, so don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Continue to move forward by adhering to your treatment plan and taking care of your body.
Everyone’s healing process is unique and takes place on a different timetable. However, by following the steps outlined above, you will give yourself the best chance of fully recovering and returning to your favorite activities.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, contact the Natural Health Center in Clifton, NJ. Our board-certified doctors have treated common car accident injuries such as whiplash, concussions, soft tissue damage, and spine damage. To schedule an appointment, call us at 973-370-9155 or fill out our online contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.