Home to architectural marvels like the Lincoln Park Zoo, South Pond’s Pavillion, Marina City, and the Rookery, just to name a few. Its skyline is ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world, and one that never ceases to make jaws drop. Not to mention that Illinois gave birth to modern improv comedy.
Indeed, there’s a lot to love about this Midwest city.
But like any other bustling city, every one of its 2.7 million population is at risk of road accidents.
Or worse, you’re the victim of a road crash and you’re now feeling its health consequences.
Physical therapy can help you literally and figuratively get back on your feet. Here’s what you should know.
What Really Happens to Your Body During and Following a Car Crash
Did you know that every year, 20 to 50 million people worldwide suffer from injuries due to road crashes? And that about 2.35 million of them are in the United States?
That means more than 6,400 car accident injury cases happen every day in the U.S. This, in itself, is already an alarming statistic. What’s more, many of them were preventable.
And there’s also the scary processes that the human body goes through during and after a crash.
There are many different types of crashes, each of which directly influences the severity of injuries that they cause.
Many other things contribute to the kind of injuries sustained and their severity. These include driving speed, the presence of airbags, wearing (or not) of a seatbelt, which side of the car a person is on, as well as the object the car hit and whether it’s moving or stationary.
If you experienced a front-on crash, for example, your injuries are most likely in the chest or the lower limbs. And this is if you’re wearing a seatbelt. If not, odds are, you also banged your head on either the steering wheel or the instrument panel.
What all this means is that getting the right treatment is crucial to your recovery. Combining your medical treatment with care such as physical therapy can significantly increase your chances of full and fast recovery.
Whiplash: The Most Common Type of Car Accident Injury
Of the 6 million road crashes that happen in the U.S. every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 2.5 million of them are rear-enders. This brings them to the top of most common car accident types.
Rear-end collisions are also often associated with whiplash injury. This type of car accident injury is essentially a neck strain resulting from the head quickly jerking back and forward. That sudden motion can put so much force on the neck muscles and tendons to the point that they tear.
Not everyone who suffers from this injury experiences symptoms right away. However, most of those who do go through unpleasant sensations.
If you notice any of these, take it as a sign to consult with a physical therapist:
- Head, neck, and shoulder pain
- Stiff muscles from the head to the shoulders
- Difficulties moving your neck
- Long-term headaches or migraines
- Tingling sensation in your upper extremities
Some whiplash victims have also reported vision and memory problems. So, if this happens to you along with any of the other symptoms, you may want to have your neck checked right away.
Setting Expectations for Your First PT Session
Once you’ve decided to go for PT treatment for your car accident injury, the first thing to expect is a full body examination. Your therapist will also determine what exactly your injuries are and their extent.
Your part is to be honest! Tell the PT everything about the accident, from your symptoms to where you feel them. This will give the therapist a better idea of the right course of treatment action.
This will also prevent any complications, in case you’re taking any medications. Make sure you tell the PT about any medicines you currently take, since you’ll undergo some tests.
These tests measure your mobility, heartbeat, and posture. You’ll be surprised at how many conclusions an experienced therapist can extract from these tests! And of course, the specialist will use the results to ensure that you receive only the best treatment.
What Your Treatment Will Look Like
The information you supplied and the test results will make it easier for the PT to work out a treatment plan tailored to your needs and capacity.
In most cases though, PT for a car accident injury treatment plan includes the following:
- Therapist-guided and -supervised stretching and exercises
- Massage therapy
- Heat therapy, cold therapy, or a combination of both
- Warm water therapy
Depending on how severe your pain symptoms are, you may still have to continue taking painkillers. Know though that many PT patients have found their treatments so helpful that they no longer have to medicate.
Physical Therapy and Its Recovery-Boosting Effects
A lot of people with car accident injury don’t realize the extent of the problem until they start doing their day-to-day activities again. That’s when the symptoms usually become noticeable. That’s when you’ll feel achy all over.
Physical therapy can help keep soreness at bay, while it also speeds up your body’s recovery. It can also boost your flexibility and strength.
Don’t wait for the pain to worsen. A patient-tailored PT regimen helps prevent long-term damage, especially chronic pain.
Physical Activity Means Less Ache
This may sound counterintuitive, and you may think that resuming activities would make the pain worse. The truth is, it can bring down pain and even help hasten the body’s healing process.
Supervised movement, such as in a physical therapy treatment, allows for better-oxygenated blood flow throughout your body. And the more efficient blood flow is, the better the supply of nutrients is, particularly to the site of your car accident injury.
Get Back on Your Feet ASAP
Almost all types of injuries are painful. But this is even more so when they result from car accidents. This is why you should never delay seeking professional medical help.
Physical therapy can complement the other treatments you’re getting. You may even find it helpful in its own.
Contact us now to find out more about PT treatments and how it can help you get back on your feet soon after your car accident.