If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know what a traumatic experience it can be. Car accidents can cause a significant amount physical and emotional damage. And while some injuries are immediately apparent, others take time to manifest. This is especially true if you have a pre-existing condition. Either way, reclaiming your health can be an expense, complex and challenging process. Fortunately, with the right care and support, you can recover. Here are five key steps for reclaiming your health and getting back to living life on your terms.
Step 1: Get Checked Out Immediately
The first step to reclaiming your health is getting checked out immediately by a healthcare professional. Car accidents can damage our bodies in various, complex ways. And pain and other physical symptoms are often not enough to tell the full story of the scope, severity and consequences of an injury. A pre-existing condition, for example, could be worsened by the accident, by an unmanaged recovery or by a treatment plan that doesn’t include the pre-existing condition.
Timing is also an important factor. Delaying treatment and continuing to put stress on an injured area can cause further damage and even limit your chances of making a full recovery. It can also lead to other problems as your body tries to compensate for the injured area. And because symptoms sometimes take time to appear, you could be putting yourself at risk without knowing it. This is another reason why you should get checked out immediately, even if you don’t feel any symptoms.
Finally, depending on the nature of your injury, recovery can be a lengthy and expensive process. Having a formal diagnosis and appropriate documentation can make all the difference when it comes to receiving support from an insurance company or even from your employer.
Step 2: Seek Out A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
As mentioned, car accident injuries can be complex. So, it’s not surprising that working with a team of healthcare professionals from various disciplines enhances your chances of making a full recovery. Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Chiropodists and Registered Massage Therapists all bring different expertise and perspectives to treatment. Car accidents can be emotionally or psychologically damaging too. So, accessing a Psychologist or Psychotherapist may also be important for your recovery.
Multi-disciplinary clinics can also offer a wider range of treatment modalities, equipment and products for support during recovery. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may need some or all of these elements, to varying degrees and at different times, in your treatment plan. That kinds of breadth and depth is also important since what works for one person may not work as well for someone else.
While you can certainly get this breadth and depth by going to different clinics, you won’t get the integration, coordination and supervision you would get from a single clinic. In addition to helping with your recovery, it can also help with managing interactions with lawyers, insurance companies and your employer.
Step 3: Create A Personal Support System
In addition to in-clinic support, having a strong personal support system can also help with your recovery. Physical limitations caused by the accident can make activities of daily living more difficult or even impossible. It can also help you handle frustration whether related to the length or rate of your recovery or interactions with lawyers, insurance companies, your employer or even from certain friends and family members.
To establish your network, talk to friends or family members who you feel you can lean on during this time. Think specifically about what you need and let them know exactly how they can help. Some can help with getting things done while others can provide a sounding board for feedback, an ear for venting or even just a shoulder to cry on. Obviously, communication is key, as is gratitude.
Step 4: Help Your Body Heal
One of the best things you can do to help support your recovery is to help your body heal itself. This means getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet. Sleep is essential. It’s how and when much of our healing and regeneration takes place. It also boosts our immune system, improves our mindset and enhances exercise performance.
Drinking enough water throughout the day and during treatment is also very important. Among other things, water hydrates our cells, delivers oxygen and nutrients to our organs and lubricates our joints. It also regulates our body temperature, boosts exercise performance and influences our mental state. All of these can directly or indirectly impact the rate and extent of your recovery.
Finally, sticking to a balanced, natural food diet and avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks or snacks can make a big difference. It can help ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to repair and strengthen damaged bones, muscles, tissues and fibers. It can also influence inflammation and the amount of energy you have to devote to your recovery. Of course, it’s also important to watch your portion sizes to avoid overloading your digestive system.
Step 5: Stick with Your Treatment Plan
It might seem like a strange thing to have to say, but you’d be surprised how many people stop treatment before they’ve completed their recovery plan. Why? Because they’re using pain as their barometer. Unfortunately, pain alone is not a sufficient measure of recovery. Physical pain often stops well before strength, stability and range of motion are restored. These are essential for performing many daily living activities and their absence indicates an incomplete recovery. Stopping treatment before your body is ready puts you at risk of a relapse or another related injury caused by your body’s attempt to compensate for the still injured area.
Emotional recovery follows a similar process and mitigating pain to allow us to function is just a part of it. The real healing often comes well after the immediate pain has passed. It can involve examining both how certain issues are framed and some of our most deeply held beliefs. We also sometimes subconsciously supress emotional pain as coping mechanism. So, while we may no longer be experiencing emotional pain in the moment, underlying issues remain unresolved resulting in a resurfacing of symptoms and impacts.
At Physiomed, we’ve helped thousands of Canadians reclaim their health after a car accident. If you need help with your recovery, contact us today and let us show you why, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.