What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Mar 4, 2020

What to Expect (Physically) After a Car Accident After a serious car accident, it can be easy to find information online about legal advice and car repairs. But what’s most important is your health. Do you know what to expect in the days following a car accident?

You might need to visit an orthopedic clinic that treats common types of car accident injuries every day. Here’s what to expect going forward.

Immediately After an Accident

If you were involved in a car accident, you may not recognize any injuries right away. In fact, you might find yourself tempted to say “I’m okay” or find yourself too stunned to speak.

These reactions are common as your body produces adrenaline in reaction to the shocking incident. You may experience a brief bit of shock and feel like you are underwater or moving in slow motion.

It can be helpful to stay still and take deep breaths immediately after an accident so you can get oxygen to your brain and prompt your body to start communicating again. Staying put can also help you assess your body from head to toe, allowing you to focus on whether you can move your fingers and toes, and begin to identify potential areas of pain.

If paramedics are called to the scene, they will thoroughly examine you and ask you a series of questions.

Follow-Up Appointment

Even if you are not taken to the hospital or experience severe discomfort, follow up with an orthopedic doctor to assess any delayed car accident injuries. Regardless of whether you are experiencing minor headaches, sore muscles, or even have a broken bone, a follow-up appointment with an orthopedic doctor is a good idea.

Common symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries can present with mild symptoms like headaches, muscle or joint pain, redness or bruising, and tenderness. You may try to address these symptoms with at-home remedies, but an orthopedic doctor can also look for the cause of those symptoms and identify any potential areas for concern.

Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

A reputable physician uses advanced technologies and state-of-the-art imaging tools to help assess the area of injury and identify any other areas of concern. Depending on your specific injury, your doctor may recommend a CT scan, MRI, X-ray, or another diagnostic test.

A comprehensive physical examination of the body after a car accident is important to accurately diagnose the injury or injuries sustained in the car accident. An orthopedic doctor will ask you about your specific symptoms and how they have impacted your daily life.

Because musculoskeletal injuries can be caused by the force of impact, the jolting of the body back and forth, or an unexpected body positioning, an injury from a car accident can very well affect bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. For example, a sudden rear-end collision can cause the head and neck to jolt back and forth, causing whiplash and even a concussion.

While headaches, site pain, and stiffness can be common symptoms, your doctor may prescribe multiple non-invasive approaches to comprehensively treat the area. A combination of rest and medication prescribed by an orthopedist, gentle spinal manipulation by a chiropractor, and at-home ergonomic stretches prescribed by a physical therapist can all be part of a holistic approach to treatment.

More invasive approaches such as site injections or surgery are generally reserved for once the less-invasive treatment approaches have been thoroughly exhausted.

Recovery Timeline

Just as the range of injuries from a car accident can be so broad, so can the anticipated length of time you are symptomatic. However, you should receive an individualized treatment plan that addresses both your immediate symptoms and the root causes. This ensures you get on the road to recovery as swiftly and safely as possible.

Mild symptoms related to a car accident injury, such as slight muscle strain and bruising or redness, may resolve relatively quickly after an accident, while a broken bone or herniated disc may take longer to repair.

With whiplash being one of the most common injuries, many car accident victims seeking treatment at an orthopedic clinic like AICA Orthopedics can expect to resume daily activities as swiftly as possible without compromising quality care. Visit any of our clinics near you today!


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