9 Steps You Need to Take After a Car Accident

August 4, 2023Kolton Opdahl
Auto AccidentsBack & Neck Pain

After an auto accident injury, healing requires proper care and patience. Depending on the severity of the injury and your willingness to care for it, healing times will vary between weeks or months. In this brief, we have compiled 9 steps to take after a car accident. 

1. Seek Medical Care as Soon as Possible

If you get in an accident, there’s a chance that you may not be in pain immediately afterward. However, if you have back & neck damage, a concussion, and / or whiplash, then they may not be noticeable right away. In fact, it can take symptoms hours, days, or even weeks to become visible. Hidden injuries that go untreated can cause more harm to your body and take longer to heal. Sometimes, they can contribute towards chronic pain or even be life-threatening. Because of this, it is recommended to seek medical care as soon as possible after a car accident. A simple visit to the doctor can help determine if there are any serious internal issues such as fractures or internal bleeding.

2. Find the Ideal Doctor

You will want to find a doctor that specializes in treating auto accident injuries because your primary care physician more than likely will not have the proper training to diagnose accident injuries such as concussions, fractures, and whiplash. This is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident. Consider seeking care with a local orthopedic / chiropractic / joint specialist. At Joint and Arthritis Pain Relief, our doctors are carefully trained to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate musculoskeletal problems to help support a speedy recovery and get you back to doing the things you love after a car accident.

3. Be Compliant with Treatment

It’s easy to expect immediate results after completing part of the treatment process. Unfortunately, injuries don’t always heal that quickly. The best thing to do to encourage a full recovery as soon as possible is to follow your prescribed treatment plan outlined by your doctor. Depending on the doctor, you can expect a treatment plan to include things like:

  • Exercises / Physical Therapy
  • Medications / Supplements
  • Rest
  • Ice & Heat
  • Compression
  • Follow-up appointments

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the provided plan. 

4. Rest

Resting is a vital factor of recovery, as it allows your body to relax and heal. This process involves the increase of blood flow to the muscles & tissues, which in turn promotes growth and repair. If you’re in pain, don’t push yourself past your limits. It’s okay to sit down and give your body a break. Failing to get adequate rest or pushing yourself too hard can cause further damage to your injury, so keep this in mind through the healing process.

5. Pain Management

When in pain, it is important to make care a top priority. We recommend keeping track of your pain levels and mood throughout the day, as it’s common for pain to cause feelings of helplessness, frustration, and anger. You may also struggle with finding the motivation to consistently follow a treatment plan. If you experience any of these things, then you must learn how to manage them. You are the one who knows your body the best, so take over-the-counter medication if necessary. However, don’t rely solely on your knowledge. Talk to your doctor if you have constant pain that is affecting your everyday function because they may prescribe a stronger painkiller. Other pain management alternatives can include massages, icing the affected area, or using a hot compress

steps to take after a car accident

6. Exercise & Stretch

A great way to improve range of motion and overall flexibility in the joints after an injury is to stretch and exercise. Before incorporating this into your routine, ensure that you are following your doctor’s exercise recommendations so that you are safe, fully comfortable, and don’t worsen the injury. Gentle stretching & movements such as yoga is a good place to start.

7. Watch Your Diet

Focusing on rehabbing an injury is crucial, but so is maintaining a healthy diet through the process. While your body heals, it’s important to eat whole, nutritious foods with plenty of vitamins that will fuel your body and help it function. Eating consistent, healthy meals will give you more physical strength and may improve your mental health; both of which are desirable during the recovery process. In addition to a good diet, remember to drink a lot of water everyday to keep your body hydrated. This will help repair tissue & muscle damage inside the body.

8. Find a Solid Support System

Don’t go through the healing process all by yourself! Surround yourself with positive influences who will bring you up and hold you accountable to your treatment plan while you work towards a full recovery. If your injury requires you to have some kind of assistance, then the best thing to do is find friends or family members who are willing & able to physically help you. Also, keep in mind that your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical well-being! If you find yourself experiencing any kind of trauma or mental conditions related to your auto accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or even a counselor. 

9. Patience is Key

As we’ve already discussed, injuries don’t heal overnight. The treatment process may sometimes feel like a drag, and sometimes you might not always feel like you’re getting better. Don’t let this discourage you! Now that you’ve learned the right steps to take after a car accident, practice being patient and continue persevering through your treatment plan so you can heal. Your body will thank you in the long-run for properly rehabbing your auto accident injury.

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