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Car Accident Pain

Car Accident Pain

Last fall, I was on the way to pick my stepdaughter up from school. I was just pulling off of the highway when slam. Someone hit the back of my car. What a bummer! It’s not like I’m one of those people who love their car, buffing out any little scratch or scrubbing the carpet to clear any stains, but I do though love by body. I knew within minutes this hit affected me much more significantly than it did my car. I had a headache pretty much right away. I was shaken up, my neck started getting tight, my lower back began to hurt; I knew I would need some chiropractic care ASAP. Luckily, Dr. Jen was able to adjust me within hours, and my pain began to immediately subside.

The experience reminded me that it is important to share some of the ways to protect your body after an accident. Get care as soon as possible! The first 21 days after an accident are the most important for preventing a chronic injury related to the event.

Remember that there is often a delay in the onset of pain. You might have two or three days before you start feeling the discomfort related to the accident. It is also common for the site of pain to move around a bit as your body adjusts to what happened (ie. neck pain one day, and then lower back pain a different day). The type of care is also important. Most people will reach for a pain reliever that will mask the symptoms and often cause you to ‘tough it out’ during the first few days. This shortens that 21-day window. There is another reason to get active care instead of just reaching for a pill:

Taking NSAIDS can interrupt or slow down the healing process. This is bummer because you obviously want something for the discomfort. We recommend ice, and a natural anti-inflammatory that will help your body to heal faster rather than just block pain and slow it down. Ice is also great for reducing pain; it helps to bring excess swelling away from the nerve so that the body has relief (20 minutes of ice on the affected area is recommended). Vitamin B is also very helpful for assisting healing.

It is important to have everyone who was inside the car at the time of injury checked (this includes kiddos, who are less likely to feel pain but just as likely to have misalignment that can impact their health in the future). Another little known fact is that any car seat should be disposed of if you had an accident with it in the car (even your baby wasn’t in the car at the time of the accident). There is no way to know if the integrity of the seat is sound following an accident. The used car seat shouldn’t be resold or given away;  it should be destroyed. Most of your insurance carriers will replace the car seat, if you let them know it was in the car.

Lastly, rest is a very important component of healing. If you were injured and need to take time away from work to heal, be sure to do so immediately. It doesn’t serve your body to push through it for an extra two to three days to get stuff done. If your chiropractor, medical doctor, physical therapist or orthopedist recommend you take time away from your job, do so, and actually rest. This wouldn’t be the best time to catch up on laundry and organize the spice rack.

Ideally, we can all do our best to avoid accidents. My stepdaughter gasps at the thought of texting and driving, and I love that. We should all love that!

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