We know that auto accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States, but for those who survive moderate to severe accidents, there can be a huge toll on their overall health and well-being. Chronic pain – both physical and emotional – that stems from car crashes is prevalent. Here’s how the two are linked and some safe driving tips to reduce your risk on the road.
Car crashes and chronic pain
A recent study found that people who experience car crashes are up to 84% more likely to develop widespread chronic pain, as opposed to those who suffered through other body trauma like a workplace accident, surgery, or childbirth. Car accidents can be extremely damaging to the body, as they occur as we travel at high speeds and involve violent twists, turns, and impacts.
Chronic neck pain, back pain, leg & arm pain, and even headaches are all common results of a car crash – even some that may seem benign at the time. The National Institutes of Health say that a motor vehicle accident is a “prognostic factor for continuous neck pain.” Chronic painfollowing a crash can result from damaged tissue and misfiring nerve and is a leading cause in those who develop Fibromyalgia. Researchers are beginning to identify the root causes of some types of chronic pain following car crashes, but for many, the actual source of the pain remains elusive.
This is why it’s important to do what you can to minimize risk on the road. Chronic pain conditions can last for years and are notoriously hard to treat. A holistic approach that includes lifestyle changes like improved diet, more frequent exercise, better focus sleep, mindfulness activities, and reduction in caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine consumption can help. Here are some more tips on managing your chronic pain
How to practice safer driving and reduce your risk of accidents
Always wearing a seatbelt – even on short drives close to home – is obviously the number one tip for being safer on the road. But if you can eliminate two types of driving habits from your routine – aggressive driving and distracted driving – you can greatly reduce your risk of being in an accident.
Aggressive driving is doing anything on the road that seeks to bend the rules at the expense of other drivers’ safety. You may not think some of your actions are aggressive, but they are. Aggressive driving is different from road rage. You can be driving aggressively and think that you are well within the rules of the road. To avoid aggressive driving, never speed, don’t rush to beat yellow lights, always give yourself and least two seconds of time between you and the car you’re following, and only pass when you have at least a few car lengths of space.
Distracted driving is an epidemic, and described as any driving in which your eyes, hands, or mind is occupied with other tasks. Never use your cell phone, eat, apply makeup, discipline kids, or try to read a map while driving. Distracted driving not only puts you at greater risk of making a mistake but also prevents you from being able to be aware of other drivers. The latter is important for avoiding accidents. You may be driving relatively safely, but being a good driver also means that you can recognize when someone else isn’t.
Staying safe on the road is of vital importance to your overall well-being can be negatively affected by accidents. Chronic pain following car crashes is a very real thing, and making sure you’re not driving aggressively or while distracted is the number one way to prevent an incident.
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