Recovering From a Car Crash

closeup of a hand in a hospital bed

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There is a “club” with 2.9 million members that nobody wants to join. That would be the club of people injured in car accidents each year. The most common injury involves trauma to the brain or head. That is followed by neck, back and face injuries in terms of numbers. There is also the psychological impact to consider: A person could come out of a car crash with just a few bumps and bruises but still be traumatized for years to come. It is not uncommon for these victims to never get behind the wheel of a car again. Recovering from a car crash can take its toll. Here is what you can expect:

Assessing the Damage

Have you ever walked away from a gym after a strong workout feeling great — only to be sore the next day? The same thing can happen with a car crash. You can get walk away feeling fine. In the moment of the accident, your body will probably release a massive amount of adrenaline that could mask pain.

Days later, the headaches and body pain start. At that point, you’ll have to remind yourself that you were actually in an accident days prior. This is why it is important to get checked by a doctor immediately after an accident. Obviously, an accident involving minor bumper taps might not require medical attention, but if an airbag has been deployed, you should absolutely seek medical attention — even if you feel fine.

Following Doctor’s Orders

As with any type of injury, your doctor will prescribe a course of treatment for your post-car accident recovery. Following your doctor’s orders is vital for your recovery on many levels. First, they know best how the body heals. This is no time to be a martyr and stick to your normal routines of lugging groceries or carrying laundry. Rest is at the top of the list of instructions. There are many forms of physical therapy prescribed, including aquatic therapy that specifically targets brain and spinal cord injuries. This is an effective treatment that engages your entire body and almost doesn’t feel like working out!

The other issue with following doctor’s orders comes into play with a possible insurance claim. Car accidents set up lawsuits when the victims of accidents attempt to find remedy from motorists who might have been negligent. That means insurance companies get involved. Their mission is to find any excuse not to pay. If you put off your physical therapy, then the insurance company could claim you’ve intentionally exacerbated your injuries. They might even suggest that your injuries aren’t as extensive as you claim. Bottom line: Go through all of your recovery PT and exercises for the prescribed course regardless of how you feel.

Recovering Psychologically

The psychological recovery after an accident could take longer to heal than the physical injuries. This is a form of post traumatic stress that can manifest itself in feelings of anxiety, anger or depression all around getting in a car. There are many therapeutic approaches to recovering from psychological trauma including hypnotherapy and psychotherapy.

Finally, remember that no matter how extensive your injuries might be, you won’t be making your recovery journey alone. Take full advantage of friends and family members who offer their love and support. Someday soon, you might be able to return the favor.

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