6 Tips for Coping With the Stress of an Injury

When you get injured, the physical pain is probably the first thing you’ll notice. But as time passes, physical discomfort may give way to emotional ailments like stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

How you deal with such maladies will have a major impact on your physical recovery.

The Importance of Addressing Stress

If you’ve been involved in some sort of accident or traumatic event – such as a car accident, workplace injury, or perhaps a sports-related injury – there’s often an element of emotional trauma or stress that accompanies the event. Though it’s fairly normal to experience some level of trauma, excessive or chronic stress can endanger your body’s ability to heal. 

Stress is basically a signal your brain’s hypothalamus sends out when it detects a threat. The brain initiates this response via a complex web of nerves and hormonal activity that directs precise messages to your adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline.

As a result, your heart rate elevates, focus increases, and muscles tense up. In the short term, stress is designed to help you fight off a threat and even boost your ability to heal and repair. But if it lingers, the stress becomes more problematic.

“When stress is felt for a long period of time, the body’s natural ability to fight off toxins and other foreign substances is reduced,” Glenview Terrace explains. “The body becomes less able to control inflammation, which makes recovery even more challenging.” 

There’s also the emotional side of stress and anxiety that increases the difficulty of “getting back in the saddle.” For example, if you let stress evolve into ongoing anxiety following a car crash, you might struggle to get behind the wheel again and even develop a phobia of driving.

Six Ways to Reduce Injury-Related Stress

If you’re experiencing injury-related stress, here are several ways to neutralize the underlying issue and alleviate your symptoms to achieve a quicker recovery.

  • Visit a Doctor You Trust

Although you might have seen the most convenient physician right after your injury occurred, there ought to be a high degree of trust between you and the medical team as your recovery progresses.

If that means switching to a doctor you’re more comfortable with, by all means do that. When you trust your medical caretaker(s), you’re more likely to follow their treatment plan.

  • Hire an Attorney

This next step isn’t always necessary, but it’s worth considering. If you believe your injury might have been caused by someone else’s negligence, hire a personal injury attorney.

A qualified lawyer will explore the complexities of the incident and let you know whether you might have a case. If you might, he or she will handle all the legal and financial aspects of a personal injury claim, so you can focus your energy and efforts on achieving a full recovery

  • Accept Responsibility for Recovery

It’s important that you accept responsibility. This doesn’t mean accepting blame for the injury or assuming it’s your fault.

We’re talking about accepting responsibility for your recovery. You must embrace the fact that you are the only one who can determine your physical and emotional outcome. It’s up to you to put in the mental and physical work to return to full health.

  • Avoid Unhealthy Crutches

When you’re stressed, you may have a tendency to turn to certain unhealthy forms of support. These can be different for everyone, but they may include drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors.

These may appear to offer a soothing, temporary fix, but they can swiftly add to your stress and increase the amount of time you will require to recover, if ever.

  • Take Care of Yourself

The flip side of avoiding unhealthy crutches is to embrace healthy lifestyle choices. Take care of yourself by selecting a fresh diet, getting plenty of sleep, taking lots of breaks from work, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise (if and when your doctor deems it safe). Try to regain as normal a routine as possible.

  • See a Therapist

Finally, it can help to talk things out. If you’re feeling especially stressed and burdened by the traumatic event, meeting with a therapist can give you some powerful tools to untangle the emotional obstacles.

Focus on Your Recovery

In order to recover fully from your injury, you have to pay attention to every facet of the issue. These include both physical symptoms and emotional side effects, such as nervousness and tension. By focusing on your comprehensive recovery plan, you can speed up your return to normal living.

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