One moment, you are cruising through the highway. The next, your car has swerved, gone off the road, and hit a tree.
It only takes one mistake to cause a car crash. It is also a widespread occurrence. Around the world, about 20-50 million people suffer from injuries from a crash. In addition, 1.35 million die from it.
It is a serious accident to injuries, many of which can lead to a lifetime of disabilities and death. However, these injuries can be prevented by following traffic rules at all times and being very careful when on the road.
If this has happened to you, here is how you can take care of yourself after an accident.
Get Checked Anyway
Not everyone walks out of a car crash with an injury. In some cases, people who get into accidents emerge unscathed because they were wearing a seat belt or in a position that prevents them from getting hurt.
However, even if you feel fine after the car crash, it does not guarantee that you were not hurt. Two hormones — adrenaline and endorphins — are very powerful. Their presence, which the body naturally releases during a stressful or traumatic experience, is a potent pain reliever. Therefore, they can mask the pain after the crash.
You can stand up and walk away without feeling like you were in an accident. Once those hormones disappear, however, you will start feeling some symptoms.
Over the next couple of days, weeks, and even months, look out for symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, bruising and swelling, numbness of any body part, stiffness of the neck and upper back, visual disturbances, difficulty in concentration, and slow reaction.
As soon as possible, you should get a thorough checkup to see if you really were not injured. The force of the crash might have harmed you internally. Whiplash can occur even if the crash is minor. If not addressed, it can lead to a limited range in motion and severe pain that spreads from the neck to the arm. A doctor may request that you undergo several tests and detect invisible traumas. You may have to get X-rays and CT scans. You may also be injected with Isovue-370, a contrast agent, to help determine whether all your sensitive internal organs were not affected by the accident.
Sleep for Recovery
One of the most important things that you can do to speed up recovery is sleep. Your body repairs itself while you are unconscious. So, if you have received an injury from the crash, it would heal a little faster if you get adequate rest.
Here is how it works: your body increases the blood flow on the muscles and tissues that have been affected. As a result, you heal. Your wounds get patched. Your muscles also get restored and become stronger. In addition, your bones are repaired.
Moreover, sleep manages your hormones better. It lowers a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for the body’s fight or flight response. Massive amounts of cortisol are released when you are in a stressful situation, such as a road accident. High levels of cortisol are bad for your physical and mental health. Physically, it might weaken your immune system or may cause symptoms, such as upset stomach and chest pain. Mentally, it can cause emotional problems, including anxiety and depression.
In addition, some studies claim that sleeping in the first 24 hours after an accident can help you process the memories and emotions associated with the experience.
After an accident, it is important that you get adequate sleep.
Care for Your Mental Health, Too
The crash itself can cause a lasting psychological impact. You might not get hurt, but you can still suffer in the aftermath.
Aside from damage to property, a road accident is a stressful and traumatic experience. Many may walk away from it with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can persist longer than physical injuries.
People who have PTSD from a road accident may notice symptoms, such as frequent anxiety, constant crankiness or anger, reliving the incidents in one’s mind, avoiding emotions or any reminders from the incident, trouble sleeping, and nightmares. The symptoms, however, may vary from person to person.
Your therapist should immediately assess PTSD and other emotional distress resulting from the crash. PTSD can disrupt your everyday life. Your therapist can help you better cope with the negative emotions you have been feeling after the accident.
A car crash is a difficult experience, but a lot of people go through it every year. The experience leaves lasting consequences both physically and mentally. People who have been involved in an accident need to take the time to care for themselves to aid their full recovery.