Modified: January 4, 2023

Injuries and Trauma After Car Accident: Recovery and Treatment

Whether you’re involved in a minor motor vehicle collision or suffer injuries in a serious collision, emotional trauma can slowly consume the victim in the long run. Besides mental suffering, recovering from physical injuries can be challenging, especially if the victim faces some form of disability.

Ehline Law and our car accident attorneys have worked with injured car accident victims for over 15 years. We understand the challenges a motor vehicle accident victim faces after suffering serious injuries and the questions they have about the recovery process.

We have compiled this guide for all car accident victims looking for more information about recovery from their car accident injuries and the steps they can take to ensure a steady recovery.

The First Step After an Accident Is Getting a Complete Medical Evaluation

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 4.8 million people were injured in car accidents across the United States in 2020. Those suffering from minor injuries may go to urgent care for medical treatment, while others suffering from serious injuries may need emergency care.

In some cases, an accident victim may feel fine, but it is important to note that a car crash can cause a condition that may not be apparent for hours or even weeks. The human body releases a hormone that helps curb pain sensations, which is why some injuries may not feel as significant as they are.

Regardless of whether you’ve suffered an injury, it is important to visit a hospital after your car accident for a thorough medical evaluation. Be as upfront with the doctor about your accident and any discomfort you’re experiencing as it can help the medical professional assess your condition accurately.

After an initial consultation with a doctor, they may do the following:

  • Conduct further medical tests and imaging scans.
  • Prescribe medication for pain management.
  • Recommend home therapies to aid with injury management.
  • Refer to a medical specialist.

What Medications Do Doctors Recommend after a Car Crash?

Whether a doctor decides to carry out the treatment plan themselves or refer you to a specialist, medication is one of the critical components of treatment.

After getting involved in an accident, there is a likelihood of experiencing pain and discomfort. To help alleviate or control pain, medical professionals often recommend taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In some cases, over-the-counter medications may be weak to help with pain management. Before recommending anything strong, the doctor will assess your medical history to determine allergies or reactions to certain medicines.

Opioids are effective in relieving pain but have a long list of side effects and are highly addictive. Patients can build up a tolerance to opioids and may require larger doses, prolonging recovery and leading to addiction.

Accident victims must look for fever and redness near injured body parts, a sign of an infection spreading in the body. Medical professionals may prescribe antibiotics that victims can take orally as part of their recovery plan to fight infections. In extreme cases, doctors may administer intravenous antibiotics.

According to the research study “use of antidepressant medication after road traffic injury,” published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 45% of accident victims take antidepressants to help with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Some may even need to consult with mental health professionals if they’re experiencing anxiety at a debilitating level.

Is There a Need for Chiropractic Treatment?

There is a misconception that a chiropractor only aids with back pain. Still, the reality is that chiropractic care can assist with recovery after a car accident in many different ways. A chiropractor can help identify misalignment and manipulate the body to ensure optimal balance.

Chiropractic care can aid with a faster recovery. After a car accident, the immune system disperses inflammatory cells that kickstart the recovery phase.

However, the inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. By manipulating the body, the chiropractor can help reduce inflammation and provide comfort.

A car accident can leave you stiff in places, limiting your range of motion in the arms, back, or legs. Chiropractic care can assist with recovering motion through spinal manipulation, aiding recovery.

How Can Rehabilitation Help You after a Car Accident?

Active rehabilitation is one of the best alternatives to habit-forming medications and surgery. Specialized rehabilitation doctors curate an exercise regimen to strengthen your muscles and support a quicker recovery. Rehabilitation is minimally invasive and highly effective if you stick to your doctor’s exercise schedule.

Working with a rehabilitation specialist and a chiropractor helps improve muscle strength and increases mobility and flexibility.

Is It Necessary to Have Surgery after a Car Accident?

Not all car accidents lead to surgeries, but those who suffer a serious injury may require one. Surgery is also a final resort for many injuries that don’t improve with other treatment options for you and your hurt loved ones. 

For any patient, there is a stigma and fear associated with going under the knife. Still, the reality is that medical advances have made surgeries much safer during a visit to the emergency room. The main issue will be identifying all the injuries due to the pain-numbing effect of the adrenaline rush. Most won’t feel sore for many days or weeks after suffering the initial impact. Your physician is left with a battery of tests that will not always guarantee a foolproof diagnosis.

Severe injuries, such as the following, may require treatment plans and immediate surgery during your hospital stay:

  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • External bleeding from lacerations
  • Road rash ailments
  • Broken bones
  • Broken and bruised rib cage
  • Traumatic brain injury and headaches
  • Back injuries like herniated discs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries and bruising.

A serious car accident may also leave scarring or disfigurement affecting the victim’s quality of life and causing them to withdraw socially. In such cases, cosmetic surgery may be necessary to help the victims gain the confidence they need to return to their social lives. Soreness and headache may last forever. It takes time to know fully the difficulty your journey faces.

Maintaining a Healthy Routine Is Crucial for Recovery

As adults, we make sure our children follow a strict routine as it helps them get sufficient rest and grow. However, we often fail to maintain healthy habits, which is paramount to recovery. Sticking to a routine is a great way to manage mental and physical health after a car accident.

Your medical team will work with you in developing a treatment plan which may include medication, exercises and techniques, certain foods to consume and avoid, and any other medical intervention needed.

It is best to stick to the plan developed by your medical team as non-adherence can have an adverse effect, prolonging the car accident recovery period and, in some cases, leading to medical complications. Physical therapists may be employed, along with other specialists. Massage therapy may be used for stubborn neck muscles. If you can’t heal at your own pace, it may require surgery to re-attach muscles and tendons and reduce inflammation overall.

Besides quick recovery, you should follow a medical plan to avoid issues with personal injury claims. The negligent party’s insurance company may argue that your lack of adherence to the doctor’s medical plan contributed to your physical injuries and reject your claim. Again, stay hydrated. This is a big deal for most vulnerable people, according to physicians who have treated car accident victims!

Foods That Can Aid in Recovery after a Car Accident

After suffering car accident injuries, many victims overlook the importance of proper hydration, nutrition, and maintaining a healthy diet as part of their recovery.

According to the “Nutritional Considerations and Strategies to Facilitate Injury Recovery and Rehabilitation” study, nutrition can support optimal healing, restore strength, and help injured victims get back to their everyday life more quickly.

After a car crash, during the recovery stage, the body requires energy to heal, which is why it is vital to consume high-calorie meals rich in protein and essential vitamins. Lean beef, red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and lentils are a great way to incorporate high-quality proteins into your diet and not make the situation worse.

Another critical consideration for nutritionists when recommending a diet for injured victims is the injury sustained. For example, a nutritionist may recommend some foods rich in magnesium, silicon, and vitamin K for broken bones, which may not be necessary for muscle recovery.

To manage pain, the nutritionist may also recommend foods rich in Omega-3, such as fish and other seafood, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and plant oils. Consuming Omega-3 is a great way to reduce inflammation and ease the pain during this frustrating time.

Zinc is a key mineral that aids in faster recovery after sustaining a car accident injury, while creatine can assist in restoring muscle mass. The best source of zinc is oysters, but it’s also plentiful in red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and dairy products, while creatine is naturally found in animal products, such as meats, poultry, seafood, and cheese.

Vitamin C is essential in forming collagen, which can help heal wounds quicker. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, and leafy greens are all great examples of foods high in vitamin C, perfect for those suffering from soft tissue injuries.

Hydration Is Crucial for Natural Healing

After sustaining a car accident injury, your human body requires fluids at every stage of recovery, which is why staying hydrated is essential. 

The body disperses inflammation cells to help start the healing process, but too much inflammation can lead to discomfort. Drinking sufficient water throughout the day can flush out inflammation cells and alleviate pain.

Once the body goes through the inflammation stage, the proliferative phase begins, where the body produces collagen to build scar tissues and heal wounds. Staying hydrated helps reduce scarring and ensures well-connected tissues.

The amount of water you should drink daily depends on how much you weigh. A general rule of thumb is to drink between half an ounce or an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh around 150 pounds, you must drink between 75 and 150 ounces of water daily.

Stretches Can Help Increase Flexibility and Improve Motion

After a motor vehicle collision, you may feel stiff and sore. Many medical professionals recommend stretching daily at home to improve flexibility and bring back motion to your limbs. The stress and emotional trauma from the accident can cause your muscles to tense up, and slowly stretching them can help relax your body.

According to a 2022 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, stretching can reduce scarring and aid in building new muscle tissues. It can bring back flexibility and help accident victims regain their strength.

The following are a couple of stretches you can do at home to release tension and make it easier to carry out your daily routine:

  • Forward bend
  • Downward dog
  • Neck extension, neck flexion, and lateral neck flexion
  • Shoulder rolls and crossbody shoulder stretch
  • Side-lying thoracic rotation, seated spinal twist, and cat-cow.

Stretching is also part of physical therapy, and it is essential to work with a therapist for a couple of days to understand how to carry out a perfect stretch. Improper stretching can aggravate injuries or cause new ones, prolonging recovery.

Dealing with Emotional Trauma

Overcoming psychological trauma can be challenging, but with time and proper treatment, you can regain your mental health and enjoy life again. Auto accidents can cause a lot more troubles than a physical injury. A traumatic injury like emotional distress can lead to severe depression, which can ruin lives and relationships, for example. You are entitled to money for medical expenses and medical attention to help you relieve pain like this after an auto collision.

Caveat: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

You must bear in mind that negative, anchored emotional trauma can take time to rear its ugly head during the healing process. You or a close family member may need to be diagnosed with more than just physical trauma to ensure you don’t have more severe injuries besides just physical symptoms of excruciating pain.

Our confident team will take the steps needed to help you obtain maximum compensation for this type of long-term emotional trauma. Are you having trouble recovering after such a powerful emotional toll on your life?

The following are some key tips on how you can make a complete emotional recovery:

  • Reach out to a therapist to help you mentally recover
  • Stay in touch with your friends and family members
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol as they lead to extreme fatigue and health problems
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Ease your way into driving again.

Regaining mental health is a critical component of the healing process. Don’t limit physical activity unless directed by a doctor, and limit any muscle tension as directed to avoid muscle spasms. If you’re in the right state of mind, you’ll be able to recover quicker and enjoy a normal life.

Schedule a Free Consultation To Discuss Car Accidents and Potentially Recover Compensation

Struck by another driver and need legal advice? Suffer a death in your family at the hands of a negligent autoist? Although the healing process can take some time, it is crucial also to start the legal process and seek professional help to recover compensation for your loss. We can help you navigate the complexities of an injury claim post-car accident.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation on your case with our experienced car accident lawyer. We are available to provide a risk-free consultation 24/7 to discuss your matter confidentially, in private. Let’s talk!

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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