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Navigating Injury: Practical Steps to Take When You Get Hurt

Shoulder pain exercises prevent injury

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Getting hurt, whether it is on the job or in some kind of an accident, can be a life-altering experience. From the first moments after an injury occurs to the months or years of recovery to get back to normalcy, there are many things to be done when you get hurt. Read below for a complete guide on how to navigate an injury.

Immediate Steps

In the minutes following an injury, the first thing you must do is get yourself in a safe spot and then follow these steps.

Assess the Extent of the Injury

If you are involved in a car accident, you should not move until you know it is safe to do so. If you feel pain anywhere in your neck or back, do not move and notify anyone around about what you are feeling. Pain in the neck or back could indicate a spinal cord injury that could become worse if you are moved. Stay put until an ambulance arrives and the paramedics will know what to do.

If you are injured on the job or in some kind of freak accident, the same rules apply as they do in a car accident. Stay still if you feel deep pain and wait for further assistance. If your injury seems mild, you can move yourself to a seated position or somewhere comfortable and assess the extent of your injuries there. 

Perform First Aid

If your injury involved open wounds of any kind, ask anyone around for a first aid kit. Step one should be to stop any bleeding, which can be done by pressing hard on the wound with gauze or creating a tourniquet in extreme circumstances. It is always a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car, in your office, and anywhere else you spend a lot of time. You never know when accidents will happen and you will be happy to have supplies quickly if the day ever arises.

Consult a Physician

If your injury does not occur in an emergency situation, but it is still something serious like the pulling of a muscle or the possible breaking of a bone, then you should consult a physician immediately. The sooner an injury is addressed, the less chance you have of injuring yourself further. Do not be afraid to ask a friend or family member to take you to the emergency room if needed.

Long-Term Steps

In the days and weeks following a major injury, your life will be altered as you could be missing work, in the hospital, or at home recovering. While you are getting your life back together, these are the steps you should take.

Seek Legal Help

If an injury occurs as a result of negligence in your workplace or the actions of another driver in the case of a car accident, then you will need to contact an attorney to help you sort through the steps you need to take to get just compensation. Find a local trusted personal injury lawyer who will work to build you a case and get you the money you need to pay for medical bills and days of work missed. Dealing with a negligent employer or driver can be a very stressful experience, especially if you are still trying to recover from your injuries. Having a lawyer by your side to navigate the negotiations can take a lot of pressure off of your back. 

Attend Doctor’s Appointments

When recovering from a serious injury, there are many follow-up appointments that you will need to attend so that your doctors can monitor your progress. Although it can be tiring and frustrating to go to appointments for physical therapy sessions, blood work, and other tedious procedures, doing so is the fastest way to recovery. If you miss appointments, you may not heal correctly and you will never get back to the state you were in before the accident.

Follow Medical Advice

Depending on the degree of your injury, your doctor may give you advice on movement, rest, and other things you can do at home to have a steady and healthy recovery. Doctors see cases similar to yours all the time and they know what’s best for your recovery, so follow what they say and you will see improvement in yourself day by day.

Partake in Strengthening Activities

Along with attending physical therapy sessions, doing increasingly difficult strengthening activities every day will help you get to your mobility goals faster. For example, if you have broken your leg and you have to stay seated for most of the day to rest, try integrating some exercises for your other leg into the day so that it does not lose its strength while you heal. Your physical therapist will likely give you a list of low-impact exercises that you can do from your sofa to help you feel strong even as you heal. 

Easy Back Into Regular Life

Baby steps are key as you regain mobility and a sense of control of your body again. If you ease back slowly into regular life by meeting with friends or going to work once a week, it will help you to get used to the idea again. Do not rush into life too quickly as you may get overwhelmed or even re-injure yourself. 

Recover Tips


After a major injury, rest is the number one thing your body needs. Do not be afraid to cancel plans if you feel too exhausted to do anything, people will understand. The more rest you get, the faster your body will heal.

Nutrition and Hydration

Eating the right foods like plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as protein will aid your body in its fight to repair itself. Drinking lots of water is also good to help keep your blood flowing through your body and healing you.

Take Your Time

Every injury is different just as every person is different. Your recovery is your own unique journey and should not be rushed. Take everything one step at a time and remember that the healing journey is not linear, there will be good days and bad days. 

Navigating an injury can be one of the great trials in life and does not have to be done alone. If you are struggling in your recovery, do not be afraid to reach out for both professional and personal help to get you through this hard time.

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