Several people get serious injuries every day in car accident. Some of these injuries are mild, while others can be so severe that the victims may require long-term care. Many of the injuries may require different types of treatment, including surgery and physical therapy.
For instance, if you suffer whiplash, broken bones, or traumatic brain injuries, you may require physical therapy to recover fully. Physical therapy is a crucial aspect of recovery, and many medical practitioners often recommend it.
If you got into an accident and wondering whether you need physical therapy after undergoing normal treatment, this article offers the guidance you need. Here is everything you need to know about physical therapy after an accident and injuries that require it.
Why Is Physical Therapy Important After an Accident?
Many car accident victims don’t gain full recovery even after undergoing several treatment methods and spending days in the hospital.
Depending on the type and extent of their injuries, they may need additional treatment in terms of physical therapy. While the therapy is not something patients look forward to, it can help a lot in regaining a complete range of motion.
Physical therapy takes many forms, including massage, heat treatment, and exercise. The kind of treatment is carried out by a specialist known as a physiotherapist. The treatment helps patients promote, maintain, and restore their physical strength.
Physical therapy may help patients recover faster than they would if they relied on other treatment methods.
Your physiotherapist may pinpoint certain areas that require some stretching and a bit of exercise to get blood to flow into the affected areas and help with recovery. Therapy helps reduce any stiffness, pain, and discomfort patients experience after a car accident.
Some of the techniques that physiotherapists employ to promote recovery include:
This is a therapeutic technique that relies on the hands to offer the needed therapy. It involves kneading and manipulation of muscles to help them relax and relieve discomfort. The technique manipulates muscles and joints to relieve stress and reduce pain in the affected areas.
Manual therapy has many benefits, including:
- Relieving pain and stiffness
- Improving blood circulation
- Promoting relaxation
- Improving different body movement
- It helps with a fluid drain.
Another physical therapy technique involves different kinds of exercises targeting specific areas of the body. These exercises aim at restoring the range of motion in the targeted areas. While most of these exercises require specific body movements, others may require specialized equipment.
Physical therapy exercises take many forms depending on the type of injury. Some of the types of exercises employed in this type of therapy include:
- Breathing exercises
- Agility training
- Body mechanism training
- Movement pattern
- Aerobic and endurance
Kinesio Taping Method
This technique works on car accident victims that suffer different kinds of muscle injuries. Apart from the normal treatment, the Kinesio taping method provides an additional method to promote recovery. It reduces pain and muscle inflammation to help patients return to their normal selves.
Other techniques of physical therapy that work in promoting recovery after a car accident include acupuncture, dry needling, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. These techniques work in different ways to promote recovery from different types of injuries.
Injuries That Need Physical Therapy
Many injuries turn into lifelong issues because they don’t get appropriate treatment to aid recovery. With good physical therapy, most of these injuries may go away slowly, promoting recovery. Some of the car accident injuries that need physical therapy include:
Whiplash injuries occur in rear-end collisions where the neck is suddenly forced forward and backward in a swift movement. When a sudden and strong impact jolts the head back and forth, the neck muscles suffer the most impact. The resulting injury may cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Whiplash injuries often cause damage to the soft tissues of the neck and upper shoulders. Approximately three million people suffer whiplash injuries every year after a car accident. This type of injury causes excruciating pain and may take time to heal.
Common symptoms of whiplash injury include a stiff neck, headache, numbness, nausea, dizziness, etc. Patients may need physical therapy to relax the muscles around the area, improve blood floor, and improve range of motion. Physical therapy techniques used to heal whiplash include massage and exercise.
Back and Neck Injuries
Back and neck injuries are other common car accident injuries that may take much time to heal if the patient doesn’t undergo physical therapy. These injuries may take time to show any symptoms, but once they do, the patient may experience much pain.
If the victim takes a lot of time to undergo treatment after back and neck injuries, they may become severe with time. Immediate medical help after back and neck injuries may help save the victim from lifelong injuries.
The injuries are often the hardest to diagnose and may take several months to heal. Patients may need physical exercises to strengthen the affected muscles and massage to relieve discomfort.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
TBI is another severe type of injury that car accident victims go through. The injuries to the brain occur when you hit your head on the dashboard or any other hard surface in an accident. These injuries can be mild or severe, depending on the nature of the impact.
Unfortunately, many car accident victims don’t even realize they suffer traumatic brain injuries immediately after the accident. This injury may take several days or weeks to show symptoms, making it hard to diagnose.
Common symptoms of TBI include loss of consciousness, persistent headache, nausea and vomiting, confusion, memory loss, etc.
These symptoms occur due to the damage and inflammation of the central nervous system. Through physical therapy, patients can regain the link between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.
Exercises help reduce fatigue, restore balance and coordination, and increase flexibility. The activities may improve alertness, and victims will regain their concentration levels over time. With physical therapy persistent, car accident victims can completely recover from TBI.
Broken bones and fractures are other serious injuries in a car accident. Whether it’s on the arm or leg, victims may not be able to use the limbs for a long time when they suffer fractures. Initial treatment for broken bones includes surgery or a cast. Victims may need slings or braces to aid their mobilization.
After getting a cast or brace, patients may need physical therapy to learn how to adjust their movements to accommodate the device. Any uncontrolled movement may cause a lot of pain and prolong healing.
Physical therapy after receiving treatment for bone fractures helps patients regain muscle strength, improve movement, and gain normal body functioning.
A herniated disc happens when an accident forces a disc out of place. The bones in the spine are separated by a disc, which helps ensure the spine is flexible enough.
When the impact of a car accident forces a disc out of place, the spinal nerves compress, causing pain and discomfort.
Physical therapy helps people who go through herniated discs reduce pain, gain movement, and go back to their normal lives.
Exercise can help patients gain muscle strength and stretch the affected muscles to reduce pain and discomfort. Persistent herniated discs can completely heal after physical therapy.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A car accident can also cause a serious blow to the spinal areas and the surrounding tissues. The trauma often causes the vertebrae to break or the tissue surrounding it to crash.
In severe cases, spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis because the spine is where most body support comes from.
Patients with spinal cord injuries can undergo physical therapy to help increase blood flow to the affected tissues. When the nerves are also affected, physiotherapy can help improve nerve functioning.
Once the injuries have improved and the pain is gone, physiotherapy will help patients regain their movement, balance, flexibility, and strength.
How Long Will Recovery Period Take After Physical Therapy?
Many accident victims regain full recovery and go back to their normal activities even in situations when doctors predicted long-term disability. As long as they persist in their physical therapies and show the will to recover, the therapies are sure to yield fruits.
However, the recovery duration depends on many factors, such as the type of injury and the nature of the impact.
Some patients may take a few weeks to recover, while others may need physical therapy sessions for many years. With the right mindset and persistence, car accident victims can recover fully after physical therapy.
Is There Compensation for Physical Therapy?
Yes, car accident victims who suffer injuries that need physical therapy need compensation to cover the cost of the treatment.
Physical therapy sessions are considered any other normal treatment, and as long as your doctor recommends them, you deserve to get compensated.
If someone else caused the accident, you shouldn’t hesitate to file a personal injury claim and get compensation for all your medical care needs. Physical therapy can be expensive if you cover the costs from your pockets.
Talk to an experienced attorney to help you get your compensation to cover the cost of your physical therapy.
Physical therapy after a car accident is important as it helps the victims gain complete healing and go back to their normal lives.
If done well, the therapy can prevent potential long-term disability. So, if your doctor recommends physical therapy after your medical treatment, stick to it.
Work with an experienced physiotherapist to help you recover quickly. Don’t forget to include the costs and losses you incur while undergoing the therapy in your personal injury claim so that you get your compensation.