When you experience something traumatic like a car accident, most people want to move on as quickly as possible. There are so many tasks to complete and people to follow up with that it may be tempting to mentally check out and try to get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. But even when you are feeling this pull back to normalcy, your health should be a top priority. As you seek treatment for whiplash and other injuries, a commitment to your physical and mental health should be at the top of your list in this busy time. Not only does ongoing physical therapy help you recover faster, but it also helps prevent complications from re-appearing later and bringing up old memories of your accident.
Range of Motion and Pain Management After an Accident
The length of your physical therapy treatment will depend heavily on the type of car accident injury you sustained. Car accidents do not cause single kinds of injuries, nor do they normally cause only one injury at a time. But even with the same injury, no two people will require the same amount of treatment. One person’s treatment for whiplash may be done within a couple of months, while someone else may require long-term physical therapy.
Many injuries leave you incapacitated for some time after the accident occurs, like the common case of the broken bone. You may initially have trouble moving around and using your normal range of motion once the cast has been removed. In this case, you may begin physical therapy after the initial break has healed, meaning it is time on top of the initial time you are in a cast.
Depending on the specifics of your condition, it can take weeks or months for physical therapy to help you fully gain back the range of motion you had before your accident. In this time, discipline is important, as each physical therapy appointment gets you closer to that goal.
Why Physical Therapy Is Important
If you are not feeling immediate relief from your physical therapy, or are getting frustrated with your multiple appointments, it is good to remember why physical therapy is such an important practice after an accident.
Not all injuries will be apparent right after an accident occurs- in fact, many symptoms do not become obvious until you begin to resume your daily activities. It may be days before you begin to notice stiffness, reduced range of motion, headaches, or back pains that stemmed from the initial crash. Physical therapy serves to improve strength and flexibility, so the exercises involved will combat these symptoms even if you don’t know they are there yet. It is an important way to help the recovery process happen quicker and more efficiently.
In addition to dealing with immediate aches and pains, physical therapy can also help prevent problems from becoming long term, chronic conditions. When someone is injured in an accident and fails to seek treatment for spine injuries, whiplash, or head injuries, that untreated area can worsen over time. This then leads to chronic pain and a lifetime of trying to manage it. Proactively finding these injuries early and being diligent about physical therapy is a short-term investment in your long-term future.
While adding movements and exercises to your routine may not seem like a good idea following an injury, the opposite is actually true. The more active you are, the more your oxygenated blood and nutrients are able to travel to your injured areas quickly, helping your body to heal itself. Physical activity helps reduce pain so that you can avoid medications, as well as helping you to reach complete recovery.
Physical Therapy Timeline
While there is no single answer for how long your physical therapy will last, with the right provider, you should feel confident that it’s as long as it takes to fully heal. By investing time in physical therapy immediately after your accident, you are able to prevent more treatment in the future and feel back to yourself. At AICA Snellville, our physical therapists work closely with a range of other specialists to determine the exact treatment plan needed to help you reach full recovery. In conjunction with orthopedists, neurologists, chiropractors, and pain management specialists, our expert physical therapists work with you to find a schedule and plan that fits your life. Whether you need treatment for whiplash, back injuries, or simply want to be proactive after a car accident, reach out to AICA Snellville today to begin healing.