Shock after an Accident

It doesn’t matter if you feel like you have been injured or not after an accident, you are very likely going to experience shock at some level.  Your body is responding to the trauma of the accident by releasing stress hormones.  Most people know that adrenaline is being introduced into their system, but cortisol and norepinephrine are being released as well. This is just the way your body is wired to handle stressful situations.

While slight bursts of stress are natural, it is important to help your body relax; staying on “high alert” will wear your body down and introduce a whole host of health problems.  Check out our blog on What Stress Does To You to get more information on the effects of having your body in stress mode for long periods of time.

Reduce the symptoms of shock

After an accident your body is on high-alert.  You may feel shaky, foggy, sore, or even be sick. If you have been in an accident try these steps to help your body relax and reduce the symptoms of shock.


  • Right after the accident your heart rate will accelerate, and you will probably be breathing more quickly than normal. Try to reduce the speed of both by breathing normally.  You may want to take a few slow breaths, holding your breath in for a few seconds before you exhale, to help fight the possibility of hyperventilating.  If you feel faint sit down and lower your head to between your knees.
  • Hydrate. Your body will have lingering stress hormones and providing plenty of water will help to flush out the excess toxins.
  • When you get home you may want to enjoy a calming activity like yoga, or a quiet walk.  The movement will help to prevent muscle soreness and the serenity will help to let your brain unwind from the trauma of a car accident.  Follow the activity with a warm bath and relax.
  • Talk to a friend or family member about the experience.  Express how you felt then and how you are feeling now.  Letting out these emotions can help your emotional recovery.
  • Have a peanutbutter and banana sandwich and some yogurt a few hours after the accident.  Having a light meal combining protein and carbohydrates will help your body’s blood sugar levels get back to where they should be.
  • Finally, get a good night’s sleep. Try to give yourself time to wind down before bed and get a nice long rest.


A car accident is a traumatic experience, we understand that you may be overwhelmed and we want to help.  After any accident you should go to a doctor to identify and begin addressing the effects of a crash on your body.  Very common injuries, like whiplash, are often left unidentified or untreated, often resulting in chronic pain.  We have experience identifying what sort of injuries your particular accident will be most likely to cause, Dr. Elsey will talk with you about what exactly happened and begin treating the issues right away.  If necessary Dr. Elsey can take X-Rays to observe any problem areas in the office.

If you have been in an accident, don’t wait, come in for an evaluation and let’s begin the healing process together.