Why Physical Therapy for Auto Injury Treatment?
Initial medical treatment for the typical auto injury usually consists of painkillers and a neck brace. This approach does little to repair the underlying injury. Physical therapy is the primary method for repair and strengthening of damaged tissue and for avoiding excessive scar growth. Regardless of the severity of the injury, you will benefit from a physical therapy program.
The physical therapist will work in conjunction with your doctor and possibly other qualified rehabilitation professionals to help you fully recover as quickly as possible. Your short term goals will be evolving as you recover, and your therapist’s job is to help you identify and choose the most effective methods to reach these goals:
•Acute stage – decreasing pain and improving mobility while allowing injured tissues to heal.
•Recovery stage – eliminating abnormal muscle tone/tension, restoring strength and endurance, and initiating return to sport, work and normal activity.
•Maintenance stage – building tolerance for normal activities (work, sport, and at home), and abilities such as lifting and movements at full strength and speed.
Understanding what activities are safe and beneficial for you to do will be critical at each stage of the process.
I personally find a combination of manual (hands-on) and exercise based treatments to be most effective, and will occasionally use thermal or electrical modalities to complement them (especially to relieve pain or extreme muscle tension/spasm). Manual techniques that I find to be most effective, include a variety of massage techniques, muscle energy technique, and joint mobilizations. This typically results in less pain and greater mobility, and I provide exercises that will help keep you on track between treatments.
When Do I Start Treatment?
It is highly recommended to begin physical therapy immediately following an auto accident. Treatment will be initiated to control pain and diminish swelling. Small movements are introduced to begin your tissue’s repair process.
You can begin physical therapy anytime. If pain or dysfunction remains, physical therapy can help. Most connective tissue injuries are quite slow to heal. There is no question that physical therapy is beneficial in helping you return to full function.
Failure to receive proper treatment after an auto injury could result in long-term health issues.
Example: In a study of 100 people who were rear-ended, 14% of people still had significant pain after 8 years! In addition to neck and back pain, you may experience headaches, dizziness, numbness, vision problems, and difficulty concentrating. You also have a much higher risk of degenerative disc disease later in life.
Would physical therapy services help my insurance claim?
Our physical therapist work directly with both your health and auto insurance companies. If you have retained a lawyer because of the accident, we will work directly with that law firm.