Regardless of their complexity, car accidents are traumatic events that result in mental and physical suffering. More often than not, victims suffer severe injuries that make it difficult to adjust to life. While wanting to get back to your routine is normal, keep in mind that car accident recovery takes time. How long? That question is hard to answer, as the healing process looks different for everyone depending on their injuries.
After a car accident, you should seek medical help immediately – even if you don’t believe you’re injured, a doctor will examine you to ensure you don’t have any internal injuries. Then, they will give you recommendations on what you should and shouldn’t do to recover faster, such as seeing a chiropractor, getting enough rest, and staying hydrated. If you’re having difficulty coping with the emotions following the car crash, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Also, if the car accident happened due to another driver’s negligence, you’re entitled to claim compensation for the damage you’ve suffered – you can learn more about it by visiting https://www.howmuchcompensation.co.uk/.
Sticking to a routine to speed up the healing process
If you tell a parent to skip their child’s night time routine, they’ll immediately say doing that is the equivalent of disaster. Nearly everyone understands that children need a routine to thrive, but why is this rule never applied in adult life? After all, healthy habits are vital regardless of your age. Creating a routine is imperative for recovering after a traumatic event like a car accident, as it can help you heal faster and even increase your body’s strength. Adhering to your doctor’s recommendations is crucial to avoid chronic pain and illness.
Here’s a list of the things that can contribute to a faster recovery.
Eat nutritious meals
The importance of nutrition in recovery is often overlooked; however, a healthy diet is crucial in optimising the healing process, as research shows. After physical trauma, your body needs high-quality proteins to recover, including meat, fish, dairy and eggs. You may need specific foods depending on the injuries sustained. For instance, muscle injuries require creatine and zinc, as the former can restore muscle mass. These nutrients are found in fish, nuts, poultry, whole grains, and seeds. For broken bones, magnesium, vitamin K, calcium and silicon are necessary, and you can find these vitamins either in supplements or in legumes, carrots, whole grains and nuts. If you have soft tissue injuries, your body needs Vitamin C, which you can find in vegetables and fruits. This nutrient is crucial for forming collagen, which will help your wounds heal. Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- Bell peppers (orange, red and yellow);
- Citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons and oranges.
Drink enough fluids
The human body is made of 60% water, and staying hydrated is crucial for your body’s natural healing process. If you don’t drink enough fluids, you’ll start to feel sick and exhausted. After suffering an injury, your body is flooded with inflammatory cells, which at some point, can cause pain and discomfort. This is why it’s imperative to hydrate properly so that inflammation flushes out quickly and the pain reduces. Medical experts recommend calculating your fluid intake according to your weight. More precisely, the goal is to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water per pound. Put differently, you should divide your weight in half and then aim to consume just as many ounces of water every day. Suppose you weigh 150 pounds; in that case, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily, which is the equivalent of nine cups.
In the aftermath of an accident, your body experiences significant trauma: your endocrine system sends a rush of adrenaline into your bloodstream, leading to an increased heartbeat and temporarily causing your stamina to increase. While the adrenaline rush is a normal reaction to a car crash, prolonged exposure to it can damage your blood vessels and heart, and you can start feeling exhausted and experience high blood pressure. A vehicle collision can result in damaged tissues, crushed ribs and broken bones, and after suffering such injuries, you may think that the best thing you can do is rest as much as possible. But that can help only to an extent. Studies suggest that too much rest doesn’t help you heal faster.
On the contrary, it makes rehabilitation much more difficult, especially if you suffered injuries to your bones, muscles and soft tissues. Generally, doctors recommend resting for at least 48 hours after a vehicle collision. Then, they may suggest some simple stretches and exercises, depending on your injuries’ severity. In fact, stretching is among the best forms of physical activity, and during the recovery process, it helps rebuild new tissues and reduces scarring. Moreover, it alleviates pain, restoring flexibility and strength. Some simple stretches you can try include downward dog, forward bend, shoulder rolls, and neck extension.
Take care of your mental health
After a car crash, you aren’t only left with physical injuries. There are also the less visible effects that follow a traumatic experience like the one you’ve suffered. While taking care of your physical injuries is a priority, you shouldn’t neglect your mental health either. If you don’t address your feelings, things can quickly get out of control, and the problem can become much bigger, making things worse. You may like you should ‘get over it’, but it’s crucial to process your emotions, whether guilt, anger, or sadness. That way, you’ll begin healing emotionally, too, not only physically.
Besides reaching out to a therapist, there are some things you can do on your own to heal:
- Start journaling. Writing can help you manage difficult emotions. Instead of dwelling on the experience, you can get it all out on paper, and as you do so, you’ll slowly start accepting your experience and healing.
- Seek support from loved ones. Recovering from a car accident can be tough, and you shouldn’t go through it alone. Talking to your family members or friends about what happened and how you feel will be of great help.
- Practice mindfulness. The period after an accident can be incredibly difficult, and it’s normal to experience a lot of anxiety. Mindfulness can help you cope with it as you learn to focus on your breathing and accept your emotions as they happen.
The bottom line
Recovering after a car accident is challenging, but you must be patient and take care of yourself during this time. Over time, as you focus on your physical and emotional healing, you’ll slowly be able to readjust to life.