Following a car accident, you may discover swelling, stiffness, and soreness in your back, neck, or other parts of your body. Mild soreness might go away after just a few hours. More severe injuries, however, may leave you in pain for several months.
If the pain seems like it will never end, you might be wondering how long you should be sore after a car accident. The truth is that it depends on your injury and the specifics of the crash. There are certain steps you can take to help lessen soreness and heal faster.
Whiplash is the most common type of injury that you can sustain in a car crash. It happens when the sudden impact damages the nerves, discs, muscles, and ligaments in your neck and spine. For most people, the neck and head pain will subside within three months.
How Fast Were You Going?
In general, car accidents that happen at higher speeds will cause more serious injuries. Most modern cars are designed to crumple in a crash, bearing as much of the force of the accident as possible so your body doesn’t have to. However, they can only do so much. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you can count on more severe injuries that take longer to heal.
Were You Wearing Your Seatbelt?
Your seatbelt protects you from serious injuries by catching you before you fly headfirst through the windshield or crack your skull on the steering wheel or dashboard. When worn incorrectly, however, a seatbelt can actually cause serious injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ damage, or a broken neck.
Did Your Airbags Deploy?
After your seatbelt, airbags provide secondary protection against an impact with the steering wheel or dashboard. They have been proven to save lives and significantly reduce your risk of sustaining a facial or head injury.
Like your seatbelt, though, your airbag also has the potential to cause you harm. A malfunction can cause an airbag to deploy too early or too late, which can have severe consequences for your body, especially your face and chest. You might experience bruising, broken bones, or even burns from a malfunctioning airbag that could take months to recover from.
If you suffered from a pre-existing condition or injury prior to the car accident, you can expect your healing time to take longer. For example, if a previous spinal cord injury has left you with persistent neck pain, whiplash you sustain in a car accident may very well aggravate your condition, causing you significantly greater injury than a healthy person would have suffered in the same accident.
How To Treat Soreness After A Car Accident
Ice, Heat, And Rest
For moderate whiplash injuries, doctors recommend rest, cold therapy, and heat therapy. Applying ice packs to your neck for the first few days will help with the pain and keep swelling down. After several days of cold therapy, you can start alternating ice and heat to increase circulation and promote healing.
If you have been prescribed physical therapy after a car accident, diligently doing the exercises your therapist assigns you will help you heal faster and more thoroughly.
Get Plenty of Sleep
When you sleep, your body gets the chance to repair itself. A number of healing processes happen while you rest that is especially critical after you have sustained an injury. These include repairing damage to tissues and blood vessels, making white blood cells to fight off infections, and reducing inflammation.
Don’t Forget Your Mental Health
Being injured can make you feel depressed, but did you realize that being depressed can actually prolong your injury? A study found that people suffering from anxiety or depression had a much greater rate of complications following surgery. Depressed and anxious patients were also much more likely to have long hospital stays.
Remember to take care of your psychological health if you are recovering from an auto accident. It could help shave time off your recovery.
When you smoke cigarettes, you do more than damage your lungs and put yourself at risk of developing cancer. You’re also getting in the way of your body’s natural healing processes. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that can pass through your bloodstream, which means your damaged tissues might not get what they need in order to heal.
What’s more, smoking has been found to amplify pain levels and promote inflammation, two things that every victim of a car crash wants less of, not more.
Get Justice For Your Slow-Healing Injuries
Are your car accident injuries healing more slowly than you would like? Perhaps they have left you unable to work, pay your medical bills, and support your family. At the law office of Worcester personal injury attorney Peter Ventura, we help people like you get the compensation you deserve. Are you ready to seek justice for your injuries? Please contact us today for a free consultation.