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The First Steps of Recovery After a Car Accident Pain

car accident pain

In 2017, there were 6,452,000 car accidents in the U.S. with 1,889,000 result in injuries. 

Those statistics become more meaningful when you’re the one dealing with car accident pain. Dealing with pain after injuries can be devastating, but you can help yourself recover faster.

Getting medical care immediately after a car accident is an important first step in figuring out what’s wrong and deciding how to treat it.

We’ve put together a guide for dealing with pain right after a car accident. Keep reading to find out what to do.

Common Types of Injuries

Car accidents can cause many different types of injuries, depending on how the vehicles collide and the severity of the accident. They can range from minor bruises and abrasions to severe head injuries.

Some of the most common car accident injuries include:

The specific injuries you suffer determine the recovery process. Your doctor will decide on a treatment plan based on the severity of those injuries.  

See a Doctor Immediately

Your first step is finding a doctor to examine you after the car accident. Even if you don’t feel like you’re injured, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor.

You may not feel all of the pain immediately due to the stress of the situation. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cut or bruise on your skin. Others are internal and are more difficult to spot.

A doctor may be able to spot those hidden injuries before you realize you have a problem. This allows you to start the treatment plan immediately, which may help you avoid or minimize the pain you feel.

It’s always best to get to the doctor as soon as possible after the accident for the exam. Delaying treatment could make the injury worse or make the healing process slower.

The doctor’s exam can also come in handy if you have to fight the insurance company to pay your claim. You prove that you took steps immediately to get medical care. If you wait, the insurance company may try to blame you for not receiving care immediately.

Follow the Treatment Plan

Now that you’ve had your injuries assessed, follow the recommendations your doctor gives you. It’s important to do those things as your doctor prescribes to help you heal faster and avoid more serious injury.

If you’re dealing with insurance claims related to the car accident, following your doctor’s orders is also important for that. If you don’t do what the doctor says, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were worse or took longer to heal because of that. 

Take the medications your doctor prescribes according to the instructions. If you have concerns about the medications, bring them up during your appointment instead of just not taking them.

If your doctor wants you to come back for a follow-up exam, schedule that appointment before you leave. Follow through with the appointment.

The follow-up exam can be important in assessing the healing process. Your doctor may find your injuries aren’t healing properly. You may need other treatments to help.

If your injury doctor refers you to physical therapy or other types of therapy, set those appointments immediately. Don’t skip any of the therapy sessions.

Always do the at-home exercises that your doctor or therapist recommends. Physical therapy sessions are typically short. While helpful, you’ll need to do more exercises at home to really get the benefits of the therapy.

It’s also important to listen to your doctor’s advice about returning to work. You may worry about missing lots of workdays, but your body needs time to heal.

Your doctor may put restrictions on work when you return, especially if you have a physically demanding job. Make sure you follow those restrictions to avoid making the injuries worse. 

It’s tempting to do more than you should or stop your treatments once you start feeling better. But it’s important to continue doing those things until your doctor tells you to stop. Even though you’re feeling better, your body may still need the therapies and treatments to recover properly.

Manage the Pain

The pain caused by car accidents takes time to go away. Your body needs to heal the injuries for you to feel better.

You can manage the pain to make it more tolerable. Over-the-counter pain medication may help with minor car accident pain.

Your doctor may prescribe more powerful painkillers for severe pain. Always take the medication as prescribed. Prescription pain relievers can lead to addiction.

Icing injuries in the first few days can help reduce pain. Ice can also cut down on the swelling.

Seeing a chiropractor may also help with post-accident pain. The accident may cause misalignment of your musculoskeletal system. That misalignment can stress the muscles and cause more pain.

Having an adjustment can get your body back into alignment. That may relieve some of the pain immediately. It also helps your body heal faster. 

Take Time to Rest

Everyone has a busy schedule, so it’s tempting to get right back into action after an accident. But giving your body time to heal is important. It can speed up the healing process.

When you rest, your body can focus on healing. If you’re going about your normal day, those activities are taking energy away from the healing processes in your body.

Pushing yourself too far and failing to rest could delay your healing. You may end up missing more work time in the long run because your body isn’t healing properly.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body best, and you know when something doesn’t seem right. You’ll naturally be sore for some time after the accident but watch for anything unusual.

Note any severe pain, whether it happens right away or after a few days. Always check with your doctor on those pains because it could be a sign of a serious injury.

Let your body rest when you need it. Don’t try to push yourself too far. If your body is telling you to ease up, slow down a little.

Follow Up With Your Doctor

If your body is telling you something else is wrong, contact your doctor immediately. Don’t wait for your follow-up exam if you’re concerned about something.

Some injuries take a few days to appear. It could take 24 hours or longer for whiplash symptoms to show.

Contact your doctor if you have severe pain or if the pain you initially experienced gets worse. Let your doctor know if you don’t seem to be recovering as fast as expected. You should also check if any of your body parts seem to be misshapen or if the swelling doesn’t go down after a few days.

Never hesitate to call your doctor about any concerns you have. It’s better to follow up sooner before an issue gets worse. It may be nothing, or your doctor may decide to change the treatment plan.

Document Everything

After a car accident, the last thing you may think of is documenting everything. But it’s important to have that information, especially if you need to file an insurance claim for compensation.

Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible as evidence of the physical injuries. Write down relevant information about the injuries and how you’re feeling. Continue documenting this information throughout the healing process.

Keep a copy of all the documents and reports your doctor creates related to the accident. Review the documentation to make sure your doctor accurately documented the accident and your injuries.  

If you hire an attorney to handle your insurance claim, those documents can become evidence your lawyer can use. You want them to be accurate and easily accessible.

Hold onto all paperwork and interactions with the insurance company. 

Consider a Car Accident Attorney

Contacting a car accident attorney after your accident could help you get more from the insurance company for your claim. Call an attorney right away to have someone in your corner.

Car accident attorneys are experts in investigating accidents and protecting evidence. They can advocate for you when negotiating with the insurance company to ensure you get fair compensation.

Hiring an attorney could get you a bigger payout. One survey showed that people who had a car accident attorney received nearly a payout nearly three times higher on average than those who didn’t have an attorney.

Most car accident attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis. That means they only get paid if you get money from the insurance company. They take a percentage of what you get, so you don’t have to come up with money upfront.  

Keep Your Body Moving

Movement can help your body recover and prevent your muscles from getting stiff after a car accident. If your injuries limit your range of motion or cause pain with movement, you may be tempted to limit movement. But that can make the pain worse and cause increased stiffness.

Always consult with your doctor for advice on exercise after an accident, especially if you have a serious injury. Wait until your doctor gives you the okay to start exercising again. Do the exercises and stretches your doctor recommends to improve healing.

Physical Therapy for Accident Recovery

Physical therapy for car accident injuries can help you recover faster and experience less pain. Getting the therapy early can also prevent you from having long-term pain and health effects from the injuries.

Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the damaged tissues and repairing those tissues. The techniques used may help cut down on the pain and swelling to leave you feeling more comfortable until you heal completely. They can also help decrease the scar tissue that forms at the injury location, which can prevent future pain and discomfort.

Your physical therapy sessions can also help restore your mobility if your injuries are limiting your movement. The therapy can help you return to your normal activities faster.

Physical therapists start with a full evaluation to get a complete picture of your injury. They’ll review your records from your doctor and ask questions about your injuries. Always give them complete and honest answers to get the proper care.

Therapy techniques vary depending on your injuries. Manual manipulation is often used. You may do different exercises and stretches under the supervision of the physical therapist.

Dealing With Back Injuries

Car accidents often cause back injuries, which can cause severe pain, limited mobility, and missed work time.

Minor back injuries may ease up with rest, icing, and over-the-counter pain reliever. Seeing a chiropractor may also help by realigning your spine.

Close to half of spinal cord injuries happen in motor vehicle accidents. If you experience a spinal cord injury, you’ll likely undergo extensive medical care. 

Handling Muscle Soreness

The impact of a car accident often leads to soreness and muscle pain. You might have overall soreness or specific pains where you have injuries. 

Sometimes the pain doesn’t come on immediately. As you brace for impact, your muscles tighten, which can cause damage to them. But the endorphins and adrenaline released during the accident may hide the pain initially.

As the stress decreases and your muscles relax, the pain may set in. 

If the pain is relatively minor, you may be able to treat it at home after seeing your doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious.

Rest and stay hydrated to let your muscles heal properly. Yoga and stretching exercises can help with muscle stiffness and soreness. 

You may need interventions to help the pain go away faster. Massage therapy can help if you’re dealing with tense muscles. The massage may help ease some of your pain.

For an injury that’s causing muscle pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Your therapist can help you with stretches and exercises to speed up the healing process and reduce the pain.

Handle Car Accident Pain

Car accident pain can be debilitating. Knowing how to deal with the pain after the accident can help you heal faster and get back to your regular activities.

Have you been in a car accident recently? Find a doctor or call 1-800-897-8440 now to get medical attention for your injuries.