How to Recover Mentally and Physically After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can traumatize victims both physically and mentally. While physical wounds may heal relatively quickly, mental scars can last longer. But the more you focus on your recovery and the less you think about the unfortunate circumstances that led to this situation, the faster you will heal.

Whether you were involved in a fender bender, a car crash, a pedestrian hit or a severe head-on collision, the result is severe stress. However, there are ways to win this mental and physical battle. Read on to learn how you can recover after a car accident.

Tips for a Speedy Recovery After a Car Crash

Get the Best Medical Care ASAP

Some car accident victims make the mistake of not consulting a doctor immediately, thinking their injuries are too minor to report. This is not a good idea. You may have internal bleeding or other symptoms that appear minor but become worse. Do not wait around and hope things get better. Seek out the best possible care immediately and follow your instructions. Having said that, make sure you get a copy of your medical records and any hospital bills. This will be helpful if your car accident lawyer files a personal injury lawsuit or if a settlement is being negotiated with an insurance company.

Give Yourself Time

It is completely normal to go through shock and anxiety days or weeks after an accident. If the car crash took someone’s life, witnessing this tragedy can give victims nightmares. Give yourself some time and reach out to family and friends for emotional support. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with to keep yourself from thinking about the crash all the time.

Get Plenty of Rest

Rest is vital when recovering from injury and chronic pain. Sleeping promotes healing by rebuilding muscle mass. When you’re asleep, the brain can trigger the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth to repair blood vessels and help heal wounds faster. Also, your immune system relies on sleep. If you follow a proper sleep cycle, your body will make more white blood cells to attack viruses and bacteria hindering the healing process. What better reason to get those recommended eight hours of sleep?

Go for Physiotherapy

Car accident victims may experience symptoms that can be long term and debilitating. Chronic pain, muscle stiffness and an impaired range of motion can be treated with physiotherapy. This increases strength and improves flexibility. If you have suffered neck, back or other soft tissue injuries, seek physiotherapy to ease pain and prevent lasting damage while you recover.

Ease Back into Driving

It can be challenging and frightening to get behind the wheel or even sit in a vehicle for the first time after an accident. Many victims experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), including uneasiness, anxiety, excessive worry, feelings of anger, irritability, lingering memories of the crash and feelings of distress about driving or even getting into a car. This can hinder their psychological and physical recovery. To cope, take it slowly. Consult a psychologist for cognitive behavioural therapy, learn some simple breathing exercises to ease anxiety, and avoid triggering circumstances for a while (for example, the accident scene). Once your symptoms are under control, try entering a vehicle as a passenger, then as a driver with a passenger, and then drive alone. Take one step at a time – slowly – until you no longer feel distressed.

QUICK FACT: According to a recent study, Canada has the highest prevalence of PTSD of the 24 countries included. It was found that 9.2 per cent of Canadians will suffer from PTSD in their lifetimes.

Maintain Your Diet

During the recovery process, your body needs lean protein and complex carbohydrates to heal and build muscle mass. Add the following foods and supplements to your diet to help you recover from an injury faster.

  • Protein-rich foods like meat, fish, beans, tofu, nuts, peas and seeds to enhance the muscle-building process.
  • Fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains to help maintain your body weight as immobilization or limited use of injured body parts can result in unwanted weight gain.
  • Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like oranges, yellow bell peppers, berries, leafy greens, kiwi and broccoli have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help rebuild tissue and prevent excessive inflammation.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds increase creation of muscle protein and reduce loss of muscle during immobilization.
  • Calcium-rich foods like almonds, sardines and dairy products play an instrumental role in recovering from bone injury.

Apart from adding foods to help in healing wounds, avoid consuming others that might slow down your recovery. For example,

  • Avoid eating foods rich in omega-6 fats like corn, cottonseed, soy and sunflower oils as these promote inflammation.
  • Consume only the recommended daily intake of vitamins (10 mg of vitamin D, 40 mg of vitamin C). Too much can cause serious heart problems.

A traumatic car accident causing severe injuries is hard to forget. However, focusing on your recovery can help distract you from what happened. Instead of mourning the person you used to be, make efforts to get your life back to normal. Don’t worry about the medical expenses as you can file for monetary compensation with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Listen to your doctor’s recommendation, share your thoughts with your loved ones, and take things slowly rather than rushing your recovery. Remember, time is the best healer.