health mistakes after car accidentA car accident is never something you want to experience. Even a minor fender bender can be a big headache in the sense that you have to get a police report, file an insurance claim, and schedule repairs on your vehicle. But a major collision – one that leaves you injured or hurt – is much more serious. How you handle the recovery process, from a health perspective, will largely determine your long-term outlook.

6 Poor Health Decisions to Avoid

In an effort to save time, money, or frustration, a lot of car accident victims try to accelerate the recovery process. However, as a result of their haste, they usually end up making poor decisions that adversely affect their future health.

If you want to reach a full recovery and live a life free from long-term effects, you must avoid making the following health-related mistakes:

1. Not Going to the Hospital

According to the Davis, Saperstein & Salomon Law Firm, the very first thing to do is “seek immediate medical attention for your injuries and report the crash to police.” Not only is this important from a health perspective, but it’s also significant from a legal point of view.

A lot of people don’t want to incur the expense or take the time to call an ambulance to the scene of an accident, but it’s an important first step in your recovery. Paramedics can check your vitals and look for signs of more serious issues that aren’t immediately obvious.

2. Ignoring Your Doctor’s Orders

Getting immediate medical care is just the first step. You also need to listen to your doctor’s orders and follow them.

Doctors don’t just give out advice for the sake of talking. They have years of schooling and experience that you don’t have. Ask questions and be critical of your recovery plan, but don’t ignore their advice because you think you know better. In all likelihood, you don’t.

3. Not Staying Hydrated

When it comes to recovering from a car accident, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not staying hydrated. In a dehydrated state, the body pulls water away from the skin, muscles, tissue, and organs – delaying and/or preventing recovery.

As Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy explains, “Proper hydration and stretching are needed to keep our muscles in an optimal state. If we make an effort to keep proper hydration, our bodies will have a better chance at healing properly.”

4. Eating Junk Food

When injuries from a car accident are debilitating, it’s really easy to get down on yourself. Naturally, it’s in these moments that you’ll want to pick yourself back up. Just make sure you aren’t using junk food as a crutch.

Junk food – including candy, potato chips, and other highly processed foods – only increase the inflammation in your body and prevent proper nutrient absorption. Not only will this make you feel worse, it’ll also delay your recovery.

5. Returning to the Gym Prematurely

If you have a personality where you can’t sit still, you may be your own worst enemy in the recovery process. One mistake people frequently make is returning to physical exercise prematurely. The results can be catastrophic, particularly if you’re dealing with soft tissue or joint injuries.

For best results, wait until your doctor clears you for exercise. And even after you’re cleared, take it slow. You aren’t going to immediately return to lifting the same weights and running the same distances as you were before. Easy does it.

6. Ignoring Your Mental State

Mental health still doesn’t get the attention it deserves in our healthcare system. Unfortunately, this leads many car accident victims to ignore their emotional stability, anxieties, and fears after an incident.

If you don’t deal with your mental state now, you could face long-term effects down the road. Be sure to speak with a mental health professional or therapist if you’re having any issues.

Make Recovery Your Number One Priority

The aftermath of a car accident can be costly, painful, and emotionally draining. You have a number of different responsibilities – from insurance to car repair – but make sure recovery is your first priority. You only get one body in this life, and you need to take care of it.