If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may have several different injuries to deal with. These can range from minor bruising to more serious injuries like whiplash. It’s important to err on the side of caution and visit a doctor if you suspect that something is seriously wrong, but you may be able to treat less serious injuries by yourself.
Minor cuts and scratches are often caused by broken window safety glass and objects in the car that were flung during impact. While major cuts will likely require stitches, minor nicks and scrapes can be treated with antiseptic spray and band-aids.
There are many ways you can get bruises in an accident, often by the impact of your airbag or by slamming into your car door. Treat these bruises by applying ice or a cold compress as soon as possible in order to reduce swelling. Ice the spot off and on for 24 hours, then switch to heat. You can use a warming pad, a hot towel from the dryer, or another warming method. This step brings more blood to the area which speeds the healing process.
Your airbag is a lifesaving device, but it can also cause you minor injuries. The bag rapidly inflates via a chemical reaction, and this chemical can sometimes cause burns. If this happens, start by thoroughly washing the area that has been affected by the chemical in cold water. Treat broken skin and blisters gently, pat them dry, and use a disinfectant spray. Consider protecting the burn with a bandage to help the skin heal.
Another type of burn in car accidents is a friction burn. These burns are commonly caused by the seatbelt. Friction burns are technically blisters that pop up where your body has been abraded by the belt. For this kind of burn, wear loose clothing, protect the blisters with band-aids, and try not to press on the skin as it heals.
There’s a good chance that you’ll experience joint pain after an accident. Common sites of injury include ankles, wrists, knees, and shoulders. You may want to start by taking an over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen. For more severe joint injuries, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory.
There are some popular home remedies you can try for joint pain. One is to take an Epsom salt bath in order to soak the affected area. Epsom salts have natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. After the bath, apply hot and cold compresses. Alternating between hot and cold can help your body reduce swelling, manage pain, and improve blood flow so that you heal faster. Try alternating with 20 minutes of hot, then 20 minutes of cold, several times a day. You should also try to keep the affected area elevated. Finally, stabilize the joint with bandages or slings so there’s less risk of re-injuring yourself. Wrap the bandage firmly but not so tightly that the blood flow is cut off.
If these home remedies don’t work or the pain lingers, it’s a good idea to see if a chiropractor can help you get rid of the joint pain.
Whiplash is extremely common for people who have been in car accidents. This occurs when your head is thrown forwards or backwards, typically from a rear-end collision. Whiplash is quite painful, but in many cases, whiplash symptoms don’t appear until a day or two after the accident. If you have whiplash, the doctor that you visit after an auto accident may prescribe a painkiller, but that can only do so much to mask the discomfort. Your best bet is to go to a chiropractor for whiplash-specific adjustments. These will work on the cause of your neck pain, improve spinal alignment, and relieve pressure.
Your spine is a long column of smaller bones stacked one on top of another. This stack can be thrown out of alignment in an accident – an injury which can take months or even years to heal on its own. Back pain can make it difficult to perform your job, get a good night’s sleep, or keep up with friends and loved ones. For back pain, you should always visit a chiropractor. Your chiropractor will be able to design a program for you that eliminates pain both in the short term and the long term.
Going through a car accident is stressful enough; don’t add a long, painful recovery to that. Health First Injury & Pain Centers can help you manage your short-term pain and discomfort and get you back to good health quickly. Our chiropractor, Dr. Michael Davis, has 25 years of experience in the field and specializes in dealing with auto accident injury treatment. Contact Health First today to find out more and to schedule a visit.