Even the most careful drivers might find themselves in a car accident at some point in their lives. The average driver will file an accident-related insurance claim about once every eighteen years. If you’ve been on the road for a while, the odds aren’t in your favor.
If you’re injured in an accident, the next step is to prioritize your own health. To make a full recovery, you need to put yourself first.
Feeling some aches and pains after a crash? Read on for seven recovery tips that will get you feeling back to normal in no time.
1. Document Your Injuries
In the initial shock after an accident, when you’re still trying to process what happened, you might have said that you were completely fine.
Then, when you get home and the adrenaline has started to go down, you realize that you’re not as fine as you thought. You’re sore where the seatbelt held you back and you think you’re starting to feel the effects of whiplash.
Document every injury you have, even the ones that crop up a day or two after the accident. It’s important to have a record of this for the car insurance company so that you can get the care you need.
2. Know the Symptoms of Serious Injuries
Sometimes, serious injuries can masquerade as things that “aren’t a big deal.”
A sore shoulder, for example, might seem like a muscle ache that will go away eventually. Depending on how you were wearing your seatbelt and the speed of the car that hit you, a sore shoulder might be a sign of torn ligaments that need surgery.
In the same vein, too many people brush off the symptoms of a herniated disc as simple whiplash. If you’re in severe pain or have lost feeling anywhere in your body, that’s a sign that you have a serious injury.
Research the symptoms of things like herniated discs, brain injuries, and torn ligaments. If you’re unsure about something, get it checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Go to the Doctor
We can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t think you’ve suffered a serious injury, it is always a good idea to go to the doctor.
If you’ve documented your injuries and reported everything to your insurance, you should get some help with medical bills. A doctor can determine if there are any areas of concern or injuries you didn’t notice. You never know what you missed in the chaos after the crash.
This is especially important if you hit your head during the accident. What might seem like an annoying headache could actually be the beginning of something serious. If there’s internal bleeding, bruising, or other abrasions, you need to know right away before it gets worse.
A doctor can determine if you have a concussion or a more threatening injury.
4. Make Follow Up Appointments
Going to the doctor once is great, but to take care of your health, you should make and attend follow up appointments.
Some injuries take a while to heal while others can show themselves after that initial visit to the doctor’s office. Your primary care physician might also refer you to specialist practices like this company to treat specific injuries like herniated discs or back pain.
Being proactive about seeing a specialist and following up on your care plan will increase the chances of a speedy recovery. It also gives you an easy time to talk to your doctor about any new concerns you have.
5. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, you still might be in pain throughout the day. Knowing the problem doesn’t mean that it magically goes away.
If you’re in physical therapy or have a specific routine to follow to help you heal, make sure you follow the instructions to the letter. With your doctor’s okay, it might also be a good idea to take some over-the-counter pain relief to make your days a little more pleasant.
Medicine like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and ease your pain. You don’t need to suffer while you heal!
Here’s the unfortunate reality of things — the world doesn’t stop because we’re hurt. We still have responsibilities that we need to take care of.
You might have a job to go to or a family to look after, but don’t forget to take some time for you. Your body will do its best healing when you’re asleep or resting, so make sure that you get plenty of both.
If you push yourself past your limits, your body won’t be able to slow down enough to heal. You could actually make your injuries worse as you do so.
If you have a simple injury like a sprain, we’d also recommend the RICE method:
Get some rest, wrap the injured area, and put it up on a pillow as you ice it. You’ll feel better much faster.
7. Take Care of Your Mind
After a car accident, everyone’s first concern is always their body. However, don’t forget to take care of your mind, too.
In bad car accidents, there could be mental trauma even if you don’t realize it. You could be afraid to get behind the wheel again, drive past the place where your accident happened, or even to be in a car at all.
If you notice this happening, you might be experiencing PTSD or other forms of anxiety. There’s no shame in seeking out help from a psychologist to help you talk through what happened.
Take charge of your mental health like you would your physical health.
Recover After a Car Accident
Getting back to normal after a car accident can be a long effort. Both your body and your mind are going to need time to heal.
If you follow the advice of medical professionals and take charge of your health, you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time.
Looking for more ways to put your health first? Check out the rest of our health-related articles.