While we recommend seeing a chiropractor after a car accident, the most important way to…
Pain is one of the worst symptoms after an accident. Whether it’s in your neck, back, shoulders, or even legs, it can make your life difficult in many different aspects, from sleepless nights to long days. Chiropractors and physical therapists are experts in helping relieve your pain, but in between visits you might be looking for things you can do to help yourself feel better. Luckily, there are plenty of at-home treatments you can consider to help ease your accident pain.
Hot and cold treatments
One of the first treatments that comes to people’s minds is ice and heat. These can be extremely effective not only at relieving pain, but also promoting healing. Heat is a great tool to use when your muscles are tight and stiff. It can help them warm up and increase mobility so that you can move without as much pain. In order to practice heat therapy, using a warm compress or taking a hot bath are easy things you can do in your home. Pay attention to the level of heat, and avoid burning yourself by using a towel between the hot pad and your skin.
Ice is also effective in many situations. Ice helps reduce swelling in muscles and ligaments, and can oftentimes numb any sore areas of the body. Ice can be used for up to 20 minutes in most cases, and then removed for another 20 minutes to an hour, and so on. Ice packs are the most common way to use cold therapy in the home, although some prefer ice baths. Ice baths should only be used for up to twelve minutes at a time, and some people find them painful for the first few minutes, so be mindful of your comfort level with this treatment.
If you live with a significant other or close family and friends, you might consider asking them for a massage. Massages are another great way to relieve stress and tight muscles that are common after accidents. If you live alone or are uncomfortable asking for a massage, you can also buy tools built to help you massage your sore muscles, or pay for a professional masseuse to help ease your discomfort. Be sure to start gently and avoid overworking the muscles, as they need time to heal.
While it might seem counterintuitive, exercise can be a great way to help your muscles return to normal. This being said, it’s easy to overdo exercise and rest is still one of the most essential elements to recovery, so it’s important to take it easy. Taking walks or doing more active tasks during the day can help you avoid muscle stiffness and muscles locking up, as well as strengthen your injured muscles.
If you’re seeing a physical therapist, they will usually give you a set of exercises specific to you that will help strengthen your muscles and get you back to feeling like yourself. However, this is one treatment that you should discuss with your treatment team before jumping right in, as some people need to completely rest before they can start doing therapeutic exercises.
You’ve heard it before, but hydration is one of the most important things we do not just when we are injured, but in our daily lives. Seeing how your body is made up of about 60% water, it’s essential to avoid dehydration. Water helps regulate body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated, and prevents infections. It also helps deliver vitamins and nutrients to your body, which is a key part in healing injuries. Water consumption can also help improve your quality of sleep, which also helps your body heal. Keep a bottle of water near you during the day and make a conscious effort to continue to sip.
Much like exercising, general stretching can help your muscles gain strength and mobility. That being said, jumping headfirst into a yoga session might have to wait until you’re cleared by your recovery team. Usually, small stretches that will make your daily life easier are perfectly fine to undertake. Head rolls can help keep your neck feeling limber and improve your daily life, especially after a stiff night’s sleep. A few calf raises here and there can make walking around a much more enjoyable experience. Consult your physical therapist for a list of stretches that you can practice daily.
Just as drinking water is important to your at-home healing process, eating right is a key part in the recovery process. More than ever, you should consider what you are fueling your body with for the hard work it has ahead of mending broken bones or strained muscles. One thing to keep in mind is that healing requires more calories. It’s okay to eat a little more than you usually do. One of the best ways to get quality calories is through protein because proteins are the building blocks for your muscles. Eating more meat and eggs as well as protein shakes can help you feel better and recover quicker.
Your body also needs more omega-3 fatty acids in order to help reduce inflammation. You can find this in fish and other seafood, as well as nuts, seeds, and oils. Another element to add to your plate is vitamin C. This helps boost your immune system which can often be depleted when you’re working through an injury. Vitamin C also helps build collagen, which is important in building up damaged ligaments and tissues. Classic vitamin C foods include oranges and other citrus fruits, as well as brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Help yourself while we help you
It’s a good idea to seek professional help and treatment after accidents that result in injury. Doctors and other treatment professionals can help you recover more quickly and ensure that there is nothing more serious going on, as well as relieving your pain. Working alongside your recovery team and putting in the work with these treatments and any others they recommend at home will help make their job easier and make you feel better. At Accident Treatment Centers, our network of chiropractors, physical therapists, and doctors are happy to help you find a custom recovery plan that works for you.
Contact us here to start your treatment and recovery journey.