by gary c.
(westminster ca U.S.A)

I was in a car accident on the freeway. There was a mattress in the middle lane. I was able to stop in time but the car behind me hit me going 65 mph. I was emotional the rest of the day. It happened at 11:55 am..I didn't want to talk to anyone it was too emotional..it's been 2 days and when I look up to the sky behind my neck hurts a little. And my lower spine has some tightness. Not sure if I wait it could get worse. I have been putting ice on it.

Hi there, Michelle here...

Sorry to hear about your accident. Debris on the road is so dangerous....Your experience of feeling emotional is normal and many people go through this after a big accident. The accident is traumatic to your whole body, and more importantly an accident of this magnitude shifts us out of a sense of safety, the sense of safety that is required to get into a car every day and go about our business.

Car accidents disrupt everything for a period of time; nothing feels the same, your routine, your sleep, your body, the way you think - all can be disrupted by the accident.

You were hit very hard. I expect your pain to get worse. You are only 2 days post-accident, which in my experience means your body has not finished all the changes the accident caused. If you have not seen a doctor it’s important to do this right away. I would expect any of your doctors to take full X-rays of your back and neck.

A car hitting you at 65mph is a very serious, and you need to be checked out, please do that immediately if you have not done so.

I understand you feel emotional, and are not ready to talk to anyone. I would encourage you to not judge the feelings you are having. There is nothing wrong with feeling or being emotional, this is not a sign of weakness, nor a sign that you are not handling the situation properly.

Instead this is how you feel when your whole world has been turned upside down. So be nice to yourself, if you can’t talk about it yet, then that is fine. I would imagine when you are ready to express how you feel about the accident your close friends/family will understand the situation was very traumatic.

If you do not feel that you want to share this information with family or friends, but you want to talk to someone about it, finding a massage therapist who is experienced with injury work may be a good person to see. The massage therapist will be able to start the process of helping you feel less pain in your neck, and usually will spend an hour working on your back and shoulders.

During this hour you can share any piece of your accident confidentially. It is not that you must talk about it, but I have found when patients talk about their accident slowly, at their own pace it can ease some of the feelings.

A massage therapist is not a psychologist. So if your feelings are overwhelming or you feel you need to talk to someone who works with trauma, ask your doctor for a referral, this will also be kept confidential by your doctor.

Finally, with neck pain like you are having, (pain when tilting your head back), it’s time to see a chiropractor. Likely your massage therapist will know a qualified chiropractor or your chiropractor will know a qualified massage therapist. This is a great combo for neck pain and treatment.

Most importantly, rest, take it slow and be nice to yourself. Rest will make a big impact on the emotional and pain side of how you feel.

Best Regards, M.

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