By Dr. Trevor Neable, DC
4 Minute Read
Seek Medical Care
This may seem obvious but I find many people do not seek medical care quickly after a car accident. Feel fine now? It is still a good idea to get checked out following a car accident as symptoms can take hours, or even days to show up. Therefore, do not wait to go see a specialist after a car accident, even if you feel you have no injuries, you should visit a health care provider as soon as possible to be evaluated. I understand times following a car accident can be stressful and sometimes we put our own health on the back burner. But did you know here in Nova Scotia you have up to 90 days to be seen by a chiropractor, or physiotherapist to be evaluated following an accident?
The reason it is important to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist is because they will be able to identify injuries before you experience symptoms, which gives you the ability to start recovery sooner and avoid worsening the injury over time. Once you have been assessed and condition diagnosed, you will be able to work with the chiropractor or physiotherapist to create a treatment plan that is designed for car accident victims and is specific to your injuries.
Not only is it in your health’s best interest to seek a chiropractor or physiotherapist after an accident, but it can also be helpful for any insurance claims or litigation. Not seeking medical care right away could leave you forced to pay out of pocket for treatment for injuries sustained as a result of a car accident. Typically, the 1st visit, costs and expenses related to an assessment and report by a chiropractor or physiotherapist may be claimed under Nova Scotia’s Automobile Accident Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulations, therefore you do not need to worry about any ‘out of pocket’ payment on the first visit, and if approved, the following visits as well.
Get Proper Rest
One thing I always make sure to instruct my patient’s on after a car accident is to ensure you GET ENOUGH SLEEP. If you feel tired during recovery, that is to be expected, but, losing sleep has been shown to slow down the recovery process in many cases. During sleep, our body undergoes many important healing processes. Therefore, when your body is trying to heel after an accident, it can crave more sleep in order to spend more time recovering. This is a good thing, make sure you give yourself enough time and the resources to get adequate sleep following a car accident.
I do understand that sleep can be difficult following a car accident as some injuries impact your ability to sleep and sleep deprivation can slow down the process of recovery. Some people may struggle to sleep because their injury makes certain positions uncomfortable or keeps them awake with pain. If this is the case I encourage you to check out the blog titled “Sleep Position Considerations to Prevent Pain” for further information that may aid you. Other people may struggle to sleep because of the anxiety related to the traumatic events of the car accident. In either case, it is important to take steps to aid your sleep as it can encourage recovery as well. Drinking less caffeinated beverages, adhering to a sleep schedule, and sleeping in a cool dark room are all things that can be useful during this time.
Resting gives you time to heal your injured body parts, which is important to recovery. However, when it comes to regaining strength and flexibility, resting body parts should be carefully balanced with movement and exercise. That is why working with a chiropractor or physiotherapist can be beneficial as they will provide you with exercises and stretches at the proper time and dosage to ensure a timely recovery.
It may seem like your diet does not impact your recovery from an injury, but it is actually crucial that you get all the nutrients you need. Eating healthy can be a daunting task even for someone not trying to recover from a car accident. Therefore, I encourage you to focus on getting a range of nutrients throughout the day, adhering to general principles for a healthy diet. I find adding certain things to your diet through food or supplementation can actually improve the healing process and recovery time. This includes getting adequate amounts of protein, Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, and calcium. Fiber can also be important, especially if you are taking any pain medications as that can cause constipation. Do NOT stress yourself out about the exact intake or counting calories as that is not the answer, and it may even cause more stress. Instead eat foods that you are comfortable with and avoid extreme diets during the recovery process as the body is already trying to cope with physical changes and should not be re-directing energy to a diet.
Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
Recovery from a car accident is not just about overcoming your physical injuries. You may suffer flashbacks of your accident, or may be mentally struggling with a loss of function or ability to do daily activities. There is a link between serious injuries and emotional complications, therefore, good coping mechanisms can be important. Working with a chiropractor or physiotherapist can prove to be beneficial as it can take a lot of the burden off of your plate. They are also trained to help with mental health and can prove beneficial in getting you professional help shall you need it. I always recommend my patients try and spend as much time with their loved ones as they can to boost their mood when needed.
Build the Right Team
Going through the recovery process can be a daunting task, therefore, it is important to have a team of experts behind you. At Active Approach, our team will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. This includes coming up with a plan to manage your pain and injury at home as you recover. Call us today to begin this process.