If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know that the injuries can derail your life – and you’re not alone. Car and other transit accidents are among the most common personal injury claims in the United States, with 4.6 million people injured each year and over 40,000 fatalities. But how can you get back on your feet after such a disastrous experience?

The right treatment protocol depends on your injuries, but there are several standard approaches to common injuries like whiplash, concussions, and back injuries. After addressing acute injuries, these three treatments can offer pain relief and improved function.

Consider Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is one of the most valuable treatments for post-car accident pain. In particular, basic chiropractic manipulation can improve mobility, relieve spinal compression, and relieve headaches and muscle tension. Some chiropractors also use heat or cold treatments or electrical stimulation to ease muscle pain, and all of the care is non-invasive and generally short-term.

Focus On Physical Therapy

Concussions are another common injury sustained in car accidents, and the subsequent neurological symptoms can be life-altering. Unfortunately, these symptoms can also take hours or even days to fully emerge, making them harder to diagnose. In many cases, patients only begin experiencing concussion symptoms like double vision, nausea, and light sensitivity after being released from the hospital. 

It’s important to seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as concussion symptoms emerge, especially when it’s the result of a car accident. There are several reasons for this. First, if you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will requisition your medical records to support your case. A swift diagnosis helps establish that your concussion is a result of the car accident.

Another reason it’s important to get concussion treatment immediately is that, depending on severity, concussions can cause lifelong symptoms. In order to recover from a concussion, you’ll need plenty of rest, limited exposure to light, text, and screens, and minimal physical exertion. You also may be restricted from school and work activities for a period of time, or require modifications for those activities. Gentle physical therapy can help you regain coordination and relieve symptoms like light sensitivity over time.

The Psychological Side

Perhaps the most overlooked trauma from car accidents is psychological – the trauma, including PTSD, phobias, anxiety, and depression that persist long after physical injuries heal. In fact, according to researchers, about 9% of people who are in car accidents develop PTSD. It’s especially common, however, among those who experience (or believe they have experienced) life-threatening injuries during a particular accident. This can cause rumination and avoidance, both of which can increase anxiety around driving.

If you experience symptoms like anxiety, avoidance, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping after a car accident, it’s possible you are suffering from a mental health disorder and should seek psychological support. Therapists can help you process your accident, learn skills to manage your anxiety, or administer exposure therapy to help you get back on the road.

Finally, it’s important to note that psychological symptoms can also be a sign of a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Though anxiety may occur in TBI patients, it’s more common to experience outbursts, poor judgment, and risk-taking. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to see both neurological support as well as psychological care with a focus on TBI.

Don’t let a car accident put your life on hold. If you’ve been injured, see a doctor and find out what treatments are right for your injury. With proper, prompt care, you can put an end to physical pain and emotional suffering and get back behind the wheel.