Getting into a car accident is one of the scariest things that can happen to the average person. Each day, we get into our heavy cars in the hopes that the other bulky cars on the road will stay in their lanes. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that 1.35 million people die in car accidents across the globe every year.
On top of that, many more are injured. Recovering from an intense accident like this is often fraught with stress, uncertainty, and pain. The physical trauma can last for years following an accident while the emotional trauma can extend just as long. These can impair your ability to work, perform simple chores, and even enjoy the ins and outs of everyday life.
If you have recently been in a car accident, recovering from an accident and focusing on your overall wellness should be among your top priorities. Here are some of the best ways you can begin recovering from an accident.
Go to the hospital
The first thing you should do after a car accident is visiting the hospital, even if you don’t think you have any serious injuries. Some traumatic injuries can be subtle, especially if you’re riding the high from adrenaline as a result of the accident. Adrenaline causes your body to ignore pain as it engages the fight or flight response, a common reaction after a car crash. As the adrenaline drains from your system, however, that’s when the aches, pains, and injuries will make themselves readily apparent.
Going to the hospital for a checkup is vital, even if it was just a side swipe of another car. You want to ensure your back and neck are okay since these two areas are among the most commonly damaged body parts in a car accident. You should also tell your doctor if you have hit your head: some signs of brain trauma are not readily apparent but could yield disastrous results down the line. If your doctor mentions that you’re suffering from a brain injury because of your car accident, investing in the help of a brain injury lawyer can help settle some of the expensive medical costs.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to be in shock. When something big like this happens, it can take time to fully process what happened. Sometimes, the shock can last days. Take it one day at a time and listen to what your doctor recommends when it comes to fully recovering from an accident.
Your doctor will typically outline a basic recovery plan, ranging from how to clean your stitches to when you should contact an oral surgeon. The latter is becoming increasingly common for survivors of car accidents. Hitting your head against the steering wheel might result in missing teeth, jaw pain, or worse. More often than not, your doctor will be able to provide a list of oral surgeons in your area that accept your insurance. Follow your doctor’s recovery plan to a T and be sure to lean on them for support whenever necessary.
Get plenty of rest at home
Your body isn’t going to heal if you perform heavy lifting or partake in strenuous physical activity. On top of that, you might soon discover emerging medical issues that didn’t make themselves readily apparent when you visited the hospital.
Sometimes, bodily trauma isn’t noticeable until a few days — or even months — have passed. Think of it like a bruise: one day, you wake up with a couple of bruises on your leg that you don’t remember getting. More likely than not, these bruises came from knocking into the table the day before. You don’t remember getting those bruises because it took a day or so for the bruise to show up. The same theme can be seen when it comes to head injuries, body aches, and other forms of trauma that you might experience after a car accident.
When you’re released from the hospital, it’s important to monitor any changes in your body. Be sure to use bagged ice cubes on your sore spots, including your back, neck, and ribs, if necessary. Ice is essential for reducing swelling and limiting inflammation in certain areas. When used in conjunction with heat, ice bags treatments are vital for helping your body to heal naturally. Just don’t keep the ice on for too long, otherwise, you might burn yourself. Periods of 10-15 minutes are recommended throughout the day.
Fuel your body with the right nutrition
A healthy body starts with the right food. When you’re recovering from an accident, that’s why you will also want to fuel your body with plenty of water and nutrients. It’s common for folks coping with the strain of a car accident to lose their appetite. Unfortunately, your body needs to eat after the accident in order to start making repairs. Protein and vitamins are two essential components to healing your body: proteins are great for your muscles while vitamins will fuel your body’s natural healing process.
Vegetable scrambles with lean meats should be at the top of your shopping list following a car accident. Luckily, there are plenty of personal shoppers available if you cannot make it to the store yourself. Meal delivery kits are also rising in popularity, which is especially key if you have trouble leaving the house after your accident. If you haven’t bought a water filter, now is also a good time to start drinking more cleanly. Plumbing naturally corrodes over time, leading to higher levels of metal in your water. Using a filter and calling a local plumber will help ensure your water is top-notch for leading a healthier life.
What to do if you have a disability
Becoming disabled after a car accident can strike fear in the heart of any driver. But many people suffer from one form of disability or another. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your living situation to better accommodate life with a disability. If you have become disabled because of your car accident, there are a few things you can do to make your life a little easier.
Contact a disability attorney: One of the most frustrating parts of living with a new disability is covering the costs associated with your treatment. However, the trips to the doctor might be covered if you rely on the help of a qualified disability attorney. These lawyers are adept at getting you the rights you deserve. If you were the victim of an accident, these individuals can communicate with the at-fault driver, your insurer, and any other specialists you might have to see as a result of your accident. You might want to think about hiring someone with a specialization in car accidents to ensure all of your bases are covered. Rely on friends and relatives to help you find an accident attorney that works for your situation.
Determine if assisted living is needed: When most people hear of assisted living, they typically think of independent retirement homes. But younger folks need help managing their disabilities, as well. This makes an assisted living community a great option for newly disabled individuals who are trying to cope with their new situation. You might even be able to find temporary caretaker help that enables you to better function in your home. Regardless, the first few weeks following your accident will include many changes and it’s important that you’re not battling through these shifts alone.
Install disability-friendly features in your home: You might have never thought that you would need hydraulic elevators to get in and out of your home, but this is a helpful option for those with limited movement. When you start adapting to your new life at home, installing helpful products like a hydraulic elevator and grab bars can make all the difference. In some cases, a whole home remodel might be a necessary step in navigating wheelchairs around sharp corners.
Improve your home security: It’s natural to feel like your sense of security has been lost following a major accident. One easy way to improve your living situation is by setting up cameras and a new vinyl fence. Fences are great for keeping dogs and children inside and safe, but they serve an additional duty of keeping home invaders at arm’s length. As long as it gives you peace of mind, these security additions can be essential as you start recovering from an accident.
Living with a disability can be a major life change, but modern technology has made it easier than ever. In conjunction with physiotherapy, rely on these tips if you’re struggling to come to terms with your new situation.
Talk to a therapist or another mental health professional
It’s not just your body that’s recovering from an accident: it’s your mind, too. That’s one reason why it’s also recommended that you talk to a mental health professional about your accident, whether you’re recovering from a major injury or not. Many victims of car accidents struggle to cope with the fear of it happening again. Still more will cope with generalized anxiety or trauma as a result of the accident and they might not even realize that the accident was the trigger. Even though there might be a lingering stigma surrounding mental health professionals — and those who seek their services — therapy is vital for receiving new tools for coping. Nowadays, therapists recommend that you visit a mental health professional for mental maintenance, similar to how one might take care of a car. Just like you get the oil changed every few months, checking in with your doctor about your mental health is essential.
But where do you start? You can start the process by looking for therapists that specialize in trauma. You can do this by talking to your doctor as you’re recovering from an accident, or you can look on your own, using a site like Psychology Today. Be sure to read reviews online to get a better idea of what you can expect from a mental health professional.
It’s also important to note that the first therapist you visit might not be the best option for you. If this occurs, don’t give up! There are plenty of adept therapists that you will click with. Be open to the process and don’t be afraid to try someone new if you don’t like your current therapist.
Recovering from an accident
Recovering from an accident takes time, resources, and more than a little help from trusted medical professionals. The process is summarized in this article, but it doesn’t mean it will be a quick process. As you work toward recovering from an accident, rely on these tips to help streamline the process, but don’t be surprised if it takes longer than you thought. The most important thing is that you’re alive and working toward recovery.