Car accidents are an unwanted part of life. The average person will be in three or four crashes during their lifetime, but most of them will walk away with a little vehicle damage and minor injuries.
However, sometimes a motor vehicle collision is a big deal. The result of serious crashes can be chronic pain. When that happens to you, it’s hard to deal with the daily effects.
There is no timeline for recovering from injuries caused by a car accident. As you’re healing, it may seem like your pain has the driver’s seat (pardon the pun). But it doesn’t have to, and you’re not helpless.
Try these three tried-and-true ways to manage the chronic pain you feel, and take back control over your day.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
First and foremost, if you want a speedy recovery, you must listen to your doctor’s recommendations. Unless you have a medical degree and years of experience treating car accident victims, they know more about your body than you do.
When we say “speedy recovery,” remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean fast. The time it will take for you to get back to pre-accident status, or as close as you’ll get, depends on the severity of your injuries.
For many people, this can take up to six months or longer. You may get frustrated that you must continue regular visits with your doctor, physical therapy and/or chiropractic care twice a week, and at-home exercise.
But the more you follow directions, the faster your body will heal. And if you’re in a lawsuit, any deviation from your doctor’s orders can not only mess up your recovery but can hurt your case.
Use Pain-Relieving Techniques
Managing chronic pain throughout your day needs to be something you can do easily and quickly before the symptoms worsen.
As you get familiar with your discomfort levels, you’ll notice the subtle signs that warn you a severe attack is coming on. While you’re at the yellow-alert stage, try these techniques to make the discomfort manageable.
Hot and Cold Pack Therapy
You’ve heard the suggestion to use hot or ice packs for almost every ailment. There’s a good reason this is such a popular therapy: It works!
Whether you should use heat or ice depends on your injury. Moist heat stimulates blood flow and sends nutrients to the damaged area. It’s ideal for warming your body before you start your day or relaxing tight muscles. Ice packs slow blood flow, making them the choice when you need to reduce short-term pain or swelling.
Although moving painful bones and muscles might seem like the last thing you want to do, it could be beneficial. Gentle, yoga-like stretches can prepare your muscles for daily movement and help repair the damage caused by the accident.
Talk to your doctor about a referral to a physical therapist or chiropractor. These specialists can teach you how to best stretch and exercise the injured area and provide you with routines you can complete at home to aid your recovery process.
Natural Pain Relievers
Our bodies function using a sophisticated mix of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. When you begin to understand how certain factors help your body, you learn how beneficial taking vitamins and supplements can be.
For example, some supplements are crucial for muscle and joint recovery. You can help your body’s natural repair system by taking turmeric, omega-3 fatty acids, and collagen, to name a few.
Chronic pain relief may be alleviated through certain natural remedies, too. Capsacim, glucosamine, turmeric, white willow bark, and feverfew have been linked to lowered levels of discomfort.
Don’t Be Afraid of (Most) Medication
We live in an opioid-addicted society, and it has most of us on guard against prescription painkillers and OTC medication. If you’re hesitant about using meds to manage your pain, that’s a good thing.
However, as long as you take the medicine as directed, it can help you get to the other side of your discomfort.
Don’t be afraid to listen to your doctor if they suggest ibuprofen, aspirin, or NSAIDs for an occasional bout of pain that you can’t push through. Before you take anything, talk to your doctor and make sure you know the side effects.
For instance, regularly exceeding the daily recommended dosage of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) can cause kidney and digestive problems. You can also end up with ibuprofen poisoning.
If your doctor suggests pain relievers, and you truly need them, it’s okay to take them occasionally. If you notice they’re no longer working or you feel like you have to have them, let your physician know. They may have other, safer recommendations.
While the accident likely happened in mere seconds, recovering from injuries caused by a car crash takes time. When you have chronic pain, don’t let it control your day. Use these techniques to manage the symptoms, and talk to your doctor about your options if nothing else helps.