Recovery Tips After Being In Car Accident
Immediately after a car accident, you’ll likely experience whiplash-type symptoms, which can include neck and back pain, headaches, stiffness, fatigue, swelling and bruising, difficulty sleeping, and more.
So besides getting checked by an injury-trained doctor, preferably a Chiropractor, what else can you do?
First, acknowledge that you are injured and behave accordingly. Allow your body the time to heal properly and completely. Sleep an extra 30-60 minutes each night, and your healing will improve.
Expect the unexpected. Pain levels will fluctuate, as well as painful regions of your body. One day your neck and right shoulder are hurting, the next day, you wake up, and now the right shoulder is “fine,” and it’s your left knee and low back. Symptoms can “jump around,” and this happens very frequently and shouldn’t be a cause for major concern—it happens. Expect it. Embrace it. Address it. Make sure your doctor documents all your injuries accurately.
Stay cool! Ice and heat can help take the edge off the pain and discomfort. Ice is a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic and is most effective in the first 2-3 days post-accident. You can introduce heat as well to increase blood flow to the sore regions. Apply directly for 15-20 minutes each, as often as necessary. Typically, 3-4 times per day is very effective. As a general rule, with some exceptions, ice for swelling and heat for stiffness and tension. As always, listen to your own body as we are all different, and what works for one person may not work for another.
For post-whiplash headaches, gentle movement and stretching of the neck can help, as well as applying ice to the base of the neck for 15-20 minutes. During the icing session, focus on your breathing, taking in full breaths and breathing out completely, slowly, and in a steady, rhythmic, controlled manner.
This stretching will also minimize tension and stiffness. It will help counteract the body’s natural tendency to stiffen up to protect itself after major physical trauma such as a car accident or a slip and fall.
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