You have had a successful driving record for 30 years and rarely give driving a second thought. One day on your way to work, you are involved in a bad motor vehicle accident (MVA). Over the following months your physical body improves but you are not comfortable getting back behind the wheel. This is a normal occurrence. I have many patients that deal with post MVA anxiety. It can be debilitating for them and anyone that may be in the vehicle with them. They can become very irritable before, during and after driving. Emotional responses will increase when they are put back into similar circumstances from their previous accident. What are some easy things you can do to improve the emotional aspect of driving again?
It is important to talk about how you feel. Anxiety is a normal occurrence and is ok to talk about. Patients casually do this with me during their visits to Chambers Medical Group. I encourage them to also share this with their family or friends. This helps get emotions out of your head and can lead to a more positive conversation about your driving habits. There are times when you may need to have professional counseling and we refer to a mental health professional when needed.
Another important part of mental healing is taking the time to write down everything that occurred. This could be your entire day or just the accident if you prefer. Our patients typically do this on medical forms but do this on a notepad for yourself at home. The more things are written and talked about the easier it will become to re-visit thoughts of the accident without adding increased stress.
Following your accident take short practice drives to become comfortable with the whole process again. When dealing with physical damage, we start slowly in rehab. We slowly build our strength back up to where it should be before fully exerting the trauma areas. This should be the same in dealing with anxiety. Take short successful drives to start. You can move on to some small stop and go driving, city then interstate if need be. Save the most stressful driving part for last and it will be easier to get through the whole process.
Have someone ride with you. This needs to be someone that typically wouldn’t stress you out while driving. Sometimes anxiety can be less if you simply know you have a way out of the situation. If there is someone riding with you, the vehicle can be turned over to them if the stress becomes too much. It can be a pleasant distraction to get through the drive. This may only be needed in the short term but the more you do to ease the stress, the quicker you’ll be back to driving by yourself.
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to deal with the entire accident. If you ignore physical and emotional distress, both will only tend to get worse. Some decide to delay an exam following a motor vehicle accident because they wish to “Wait it out.” They thought they would feel better but only became worse physically and emotionally. The earlier you attempt to improve, the quicker you will be back to your old self. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, don’t delay in seeking help so you can return to a normal life.
— This article was written by Aaron Workman, DC one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Kentucky.
If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.
Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations: