By Kolleen Mitchell, LAc, FABORM
What happens right after a car accident can have a traumatic effect on the body and mind. I was in my very first car accident last year and what I did afterwards saved me a lifetime of pain.
When it happened, I was hit from behind. In the moments following the crash I was both emotionally and physically in a state of shock. My back muscles seized all the way from my neck down and even into my hips. I also had an instant headache and was shaking profusely because of adrenaline. After being released by paramedics I immediately went home and soaked in a warm bath of Epsom salts. I also took doses of a magnesium powder supplement so as to relax all the muscles still in spasm. As the adrenaline wore off I began to feel the effects in my neck and lower back.
I got an Acupuncture treatment the very next day.I don't normally get Chiropractic care but this felt like a good time to make sure I was structurally sound. I began taking more fish oil (for inflammation and for my nervous system), continued the magnesium, and made sure I rested because I had an unusual fatigue that had set in which is normal after trauma. In the coming days I continued my Acupuncture treatments, soaks, supplements and had a few more Chiropractic adjustments. I knew it was important to do all this immediately, in as close proximity to the accident as possible, to keep the pain and stress of the accident from settling in and becoming chronic. In a matter of a week I felt just about back to normal. When I see patients long after a stressful event like a car accident, the emotional trauma often goes untreated. Chinese Medicine is unique in that emotional trauma that accompanies physical trauma is always addressed in treatment.
We see patients all the time who perhaps waited until well after their accident to seek treatment. Even after my own experience, I have always encouraged patients to seek out acupuncture as quickly as possible after an accident. The effects can become debilitating in the form of migraines, chronic pain, and in some cases a low level PTSD. I felt experiencing such a trauma in my own body was a pertinent experience which deepened my ability to be of service to others having gone through this.
If you or a loved on have been through this, know that we have many methods of treatment to prevent chronic pain and that acupuncture can be crucial to optimal recovery. Just another opportunity to show that Acupuncture works!