It is never fun to be involved in a car accident. What most people discover first-hand is that there is more to deal with than just getting your car repaired.
Often times, there is a physical injury associated with the impact from a car accident, and the severity can range from mild to very severe (i.e. death). Within that spectrum, the pain and discomfort one experiences can range from a few days to a few years, and in some cases, the impact of injuries sustained can last a lifetime.
There are various factors that contribute to the severity of an injury and the amount of time it could take for full recovery:
- How much force was involved in the impact?
Generally, the greater the speed of the cars involved, the greater the force of impact, and the more severe the injuries. Of course, there are other factors that can determine the final outcome of the impact, such as, if the car that was hit was also moving, and at what speed; the type of impact: rear, frontal or side. The usage of seat belts and road conditions can also contribute to the severity of impact. On the other hand, someone who was in a mild fender bender may find themselves with a myriad of soft tissue injuries.
- Were you taken by surprise at the time of impact?
Some studies indicate a correlation between the severity of an injury and how prepared a person was before actual impact. Most people will seize up their muscles if they are anticipating impact, which can protect the muscle fibers and soft tissue from over-stretching and tearing, thus limiting the level of trauma one sustains from impact.
- What other health issues or injuries have you had or were you dealing with at the time of the accident?
The fewer health issues one has to deal with throughout injury recovery, means more of the body’s resources can be directed towards injury healing.
- Did you seek treatment immediately, versus waiting until the pain was unbearable before seeking medical help?
The sooner one receives medical attention for injury assessment and treatment, the better one’s chances are for a swifter recovery. The longer one waits for treatment, the longer the body has for injury patterns to set in, and the longer it takes to undo these patterns.
The road to recovery can be a long one, and can be impacted by all of the factors mentioned above. Not everyone needs the same kind of help, nor does every respond the same way to the various modalities of treatment that are available (ie. Massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, psychotherapy, medication, etc.).
The important thing to remember is that your health should be your number one priority. Don’t let the issue of finances and time dictate whether or not you seek treatment.
Other articles in the Auto Accidents: Injuries and Treatment series: