Car accidents are capable of turning your life upside down. You can go from being a competitive athlete or professional sports person to barely being able to function on your own in a matter of seconds with an unexpected car accident. That’s how debilitating a car accident injury can be. And it can be challenging to get your life back on track after a car accident injury.
But that is not to say that it is impossible to recover from a car accident injury. Following your doctor’s orders and resting as much as possible is the go-to solution for recovery when it comes to various kinds of accident-related injuries. But what about physical therapy?
Most people forget about the potential of physical therapy to restore range of motion and normal functioning in injured muscles. Let’s go over some of the most common car accident injuries that physical therapy can help with.
Whiplash & Headaches
Whiplash usually occurs in most car accidents where the neck suddenly jerks backward or forward on significant impact. The muscles in your neck can become highly strained, and they can sometimes even tear because of the unexpected weight of your head jerking back and forth.
Whiplash can lead to several different problems, such as tightness in the neck and acute pain. You can even feel some knotted muscles, tenderness, and headaches that start at the base of the skull. The worst part of all is the restricted range of motion, which comes in the form of an inability to nod your head or move it from side to side.
This is where physical therapy comes into the picture. Resting the neck muscles is important, but it is also crucial to strengthen the muscles and prevent them from atrophying.
Physical Therapy For Whiplash & Headaches
Physical therapy can help you relax, stretch and strengthen your neck muscles in various ways. Your physical therapist is probably going to recommend several exercises, including the four-point kneel (an exercise to strengthen the back of the neck), along with other techniques such as deep tissue massage, myofascial release, and even dry needling to reduce the symptoms. After a strict regimen of physical therapy for a few days, you should feel immense relief from the effects of the whiplash.
Back & Neck Strains
One of the various forms of back injury is a back strain. Back strains can be quite painful despite being one of the milder forms of injury during car accidents. A strained back can be restricting in various ways, and it can drastically impact productivity daily.
Resting, alternating between ice and heat can help your back to recover. However, physical therapy can go a long way as well.
Physical Therapy For Back and Neck Strains
Once the pain has reduced, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles in the back once again to prevent the pain from recurring. The exercises include various stretches to release and relax the muscles and several strengthening exercises to bring back power in the back muscles.
Shoulder Strains and Injuries
It is not uncommon for car accident injuries to lead to a lot of stiffness and pain in the shoulders. If it has been a long time since your car accident injury and your shoulder strain has not reduced, it might be time for you to look at physical therapy.
Physical therapy for shoulder strain
Physical therapy for shoulder strain focuses on releasing the tension in the muscles and bringing back range of motion in your shoulders, arms, and back. This is done through a carefully crafted regimen of deep tissue massage, myofascial release, and exercises to improve functional mobility and strengthening of the muscles. It also includes several stretches that you can perform at home as well as several strengthening exercises that can be performed both with the help of a physical therapist and at home.
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Other Types Of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can lead to severe injuries, including
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bruised or broken ribs
- Punctured lungs
- Collapsed lungs
- Herniated discs
Most of these injuries are going to require medical diagnosis and treatment. However, if you continue to feel pain long after your car accident injury, it might be wise to consult a physical therapist for relief from the pain.
Physical therapy can supplement medical treatment to help you get back on your feet and begin functioning normally once again. This is especially true for accident-related back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. A physical therapist works to prevent your muscles from weakening after an accident (which might lead to further injury and pain). A combination of stretching and strengthening exercises, along with various tried and tested techniques, are used to help you feel strong once again.
About The Author: Dr. Scott Gray
Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist & sports performance coach specializing in sport, athletic, back, and orthopedic injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD™. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information go to Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy or BIM Fitness and Performance.