Millions of people get injured in car accidents each year. But did you know that it can take hours or even days for you to realize you have a car accident injury? That’s why you want to see a car accident doctor as soon as possible after getting into a wreck. The stress and shock of getting into a car accident can prevent you from fully recognizing or experiencing the signs and symptoms of a car accident. One common symptom of many car accident injuries is inflammation. As swelling and inflammation set in, pain and other symptoms can start to increase. However, if you see a doctor right away, they can check for signs of inflammation and diagnose an injury before you even realize it’s there. The sooner you get started on treatment for a car accident injury, the sooner you can begin the healing process. Here’s what you need to know about inflammation from a car accident injury and how your car accident doctor can help you heal.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation refers to something that happens inside your body when your immune system is triggered. Whether you have an infection, injury, or disease, your immune system creates an inflammatory response that helps protect your body from invaders. Inflammation will increase blood flow to the area and increase white blood cells. With a rush of blood flow to the area, this and other fluids can build up and also cause swelling. Inflammation and swelling are not the same things, though they can often occur at the same time. There are actually two main types of inflammation:
Acute inflammation refers to an instance where you have inflammation for a short period of time. It is quite common for acute inflammation can be quite severe even though it lasts for only a short duration. In many cases, acute inflammation will resolve in one to two weeks after the initial infection or injury. If you’ve been in a car wreck, you may experience acute inflammation as a symptom of your car accident injury.
Chronic inflammation develops slowly and commonly lasts for six weeks or longer. While the severity of chronic inflammation is typically less severe than acute inflammation, it can still be quite disruptive to your daily life and routines. Even after an injury, like from a car accident, has healed, you can still experience inflammation. Prolonged periods of stress and certain autoimmune disorders are also more likely to contribute to chronic inflammation.
Signs of Inflammation After a Car Accident
The five most common signs of inflammation include pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. You may experience one or more of these signs depending on where the injury has occurred and its severity. For example, a whiplash injury can cause inflammation in your neck that can contribute to pain, tenderness, and restricted range of motion when turning your head. If inflammation becomes chronic, you may experience body aches and pain, constant fatigue, insomnia, and weight gain. People who experience chronic inflammation may also be at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, along with gastrointestinal issues and frequent infections.
How Inflammation Helps & Hurts a Car Accident Injury
Inflammation is an important part of how your body’s immune system responds to a car accident injury. When an inflammatory response occurs, this sends a signal to the rest of your body that healing and repairs are needed. After a car accident, inflammation signals that there has been some injury or damage to soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, or tendons. It is important for the body to have an inflammatory response to a serious issue like a car accident injury because inflammation jumpstarts the body’s natural healing process. Whether you are dealing with a car accident injury or an infection, your body relies on this inflammatory response to trigger the important process of healing and fighting off germs like viruses or bacteria.
Sometimes, the body’s immune system response and inflammation can do more harm than good. As you recover from a car accident injury, too much of an inflammatory response can lead to redness, swelling, and pain around the injured area. If you experience prolonged inflammation, this can cause pain that won’t go away and swelling that starts to impact your mobility. Too much inflammation and swelling in the area after an accident can also lead to a loss of muscle mass. When left untreated, acute inflammation after a car accident injury can develop into a chronic issue that starts to have a negative impact on your quality of life.
Importance of Reducing Inflammation
Prolonged inflammation from a car accident injury can lead to chronic pain and reduce your strength and mobility. That’s why your car accident doctor will put together a personalized treatment plan that helps reduce inflammation. Once the body’s immune system has done its job of alerting to the injury, you can get started on the healing and recovery process. Reducing inflammation will increase your healing process and even help alleviate other injury symptoms like swelling and pain.
How to Reduce Inflammation with Various Treatments
Your car accident doctor will recommend a combination of treatment options that work best for your body and your specific injuries. Every person’s body will respond differently to an injury, so it is important to get quality, personalized medical attention to ensure the best results. Here are some examples of how to reduce inflammation after a car accident injury:
One of the best things you can do for your body after a traumatic event is to rest. Resting allows the healing process to begin because when you limit your movement and activity, the natural healing process can begin. The body has natural healing abilities that will start to reduce swelling and restrict blood flow to the injured area. Resting supports this process because it takes a lot more energy than you might realize to heal and recover. You may also use an ice pack or cold compress on an area where you experience inflammation and swelling. Ice helps reduce blood flow to the area and also provides a temporary numbing sensation to help with the pain.
Your car accident doctor may recommend certain medications to help you with managing your symptoms from a car accident injury. You can find anti-inflammatory medications at the pharmacy that are over the counter, or your doctor may write you a prescription if necessary. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can reduce both inflammation and pain after an injury. However, it is important to note that you should not rely on medications as the sole treatment option for inflammation and other symptoms. Medications like NSAIDs should only be taken for a short period of time, and you should always check with your doctor to make sure you are taking the steps you need to fully heal and recover from your injuries.
Chiropractic care provides you with an all-natural solution for managing inflammation, pain, and other symptoms after a car accident. Chiropractors treat a wide variety of mild car accident injuries and can help you reduce inflammation naturally. Chiropractic treatment techniques like adjustments and soft tissue mobilization can help by relieving pressure on your spine, tissues, and nerves. Your chiropractor may recommend chiropractic adjustments to help your body release natural chemicals inside the body that help with reducing inflammation.
Physical therapy offers you a hands-on approach to recovering from a car accident injury. A physical therapist will provide you with a personalized plan of care to help address a wide range of symptoms, including inflammation. Swelling, pain, and inflammation can all impact your strength and mobility, leaving you feeling stiff, sore, and unable to move around like you normally would. A physical therapist will provide you with techniques like stretches and exercises to help reduce your symptoms and improve your strength and range of motion after a car accident.
You can take small steps in your daily life to help reduce inflammation, too. Consider an anti-inflammatory diet by avoiding foods with sugar, trans fats, and processed foods. Some foods even fight inflammation, like berries, fatty fish, broccoli, and avocados. Your doctor may also recommend supplements to take that can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Practicing ways to reduce stress in your daily life can also help combat inflammation.
Visit AICA Orthopedics near you to get started with a car accident doctor today. With multiple locations across metro Atlanta, our team of doctors can provide you with comprehensive treatment and care so you can recover from your car accident injuries. We will provide you with an individualized treatment plan that will address inflammation and other symptoms so you can heal and recover after a car accident. Our car accident doctors at AICA Orthopedics can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan at a convenient clinic near you. Call or visit us online today to get started!