The Role Of Physical Therapy In Treatment From Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can cause several different types of injuries. Commonly, the back and neck are affected, especially when the car was hit from behind. These are often soft-tissue injuries, like whiplash, that can lead to chronic pain when not dealt with promptly.
In the past, soft clavicle collars were often used to help treat neck injuries. While there are times this may still be recommended, it can lead to muscle stiffness and even atrophy. Movement is generally recommended to help retain and regain muscle function. For many injuries, this includes physical therapy.
When is physical therapy likely to be prescribed?
This type of treatment is sometimes used to help ease pain and injuries that were less noticeable at first, but then either worsen or refuse to go away on their own. It is sometimes considered as an alternative to heavier medication. It can also be part of follow-up care for surgery and other more extensive treatments.
What type of injury is it used for?
Physical therapy is often used for back and neck pain after car accidents. It can treat muscle tension and strain that accompany various types of injuries in these areas. It is also sometimes used for injuries to the limbs that involve injured tendons or ligaments. It is often part of follow-up care when immobilization from broken bones or similar injuries leads to muscle stiffness or atrophy.
Often, secondary muscle pain can develop from compensating for disabled movement from other injuries. Physical therapy is often part of preventing or treating this type of overuse injury.
What does it involve?
The early stages of physical therapy are generally low-impact. The intent is more to start with any movement at all that can be tolerated, and gradually ease up to a fuller range of what will, ideally, eventually be normal movement or as close as possible.
Stretching exercises are often a key part of improving flexibility. Resistance and strength training, including weights, are also used to restore overall function.
Pain management doctors often incorporate massage therapy into a patient’s treatment plan by management doctors to help with initial tension and stiffness. It can also be incredibly beneficial for psychological relaxation.
What effect is it supposed to have?
Ultimately, the goal is to both reduce pain and to improve movement. When used to treat acute injuries, physical therapy treatments can help prevent the development of chronic conditions and keep pain from getting worse.
When should physical therapy be done?
It is generally started soon after a car accident, within the first few days. Basic stretching exercises and other movement can be helpful to the initial healing process. However, it is also sometimes used to help alleviate chronic pain later on.
For car accident injuries that might seem relatively minor, physical therapy is a good way to help ensure a more complete recovery. It is also an important part of an overall recovery plan for more severe or extensive injuries, especially when long-term rest or immobilization is required before being able to work your way back up to normal activity, or as close as possible.