Motor Vehicle Injuries
A motor vehicle accident can be devastating both physically and emotionally. When serious injuries to the spine, neck and extremities are involved, it's not unusual for months to be required to make a full recovery. We help car crash victims by providing a full menu of physical therapy services. Patients suffering from severe whiplash, torn muscle tissue and major surgery have all sought our assistance. With our training, experience and dedication to providing outstanding care, our physical therapists have made a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of countless motor vehicle injury victims.
Whiplash/ Neck Injuries
Millions of people receive whiplash or another neck injury in car accidents every year. This painful condition limits the patient's ability to move, sleep and engage in ordinary activities. Whiplash involves damage to the soft tissues of the neck. This means that physical therapy can have a positive effect on these injuries.
We treat whiplash and other neck injuries with both passive and active modalities. The passive treatments are designed to help relax the muscles and restore range of motion. They may include deep tissue massage, ultrasound treatments and hot and cold therapies. Ultimately, our goal is to move patients to a point where they can engage in active therapies, which typically include a number of exercises that are meant to restore strength and range of motion. Additionally, we make suggestions for creating a more ergonomic home and office to help speed the healing process and prevent continuing neck pain.
Back injuries are exceedingly common with motor vehicle accidents. That's because the spine often receives a severe jolt that can damage muscles and ligaments. Many people find that every aspect of their lives is affected by back pain after a car accident. Standing, sitting and lying down may all be equally uncomfortable, and this level of distress takes an emotional toll.
Fortunately, our physical therapy treatments can restore strength and flexibility. We use a number of approaches to deal with back pain after a car accident. When pain is acute and movement is extremely difficult, we focus on passive modalities. These may include using hot and cold therapies, ultrasound, application of a TENS unit and iontophoresis. Eventually, active therapies such as strengthening and flexibility exercises are introduced. Our patients begin experiencing considerable relief almost from the first session.
Occasionally, shoulder pain after a car accident is related to whiplash. In other circumstances, it is a symptom of a separate shoulder injury. Common shoulder injuries may include a tear in the superior labrum from anterior to posterior, which occurs when the body absorbs some of the force of the impact, or a rotator cuff tear, which typically occurs when a driver tenses up just before being hit and the shoulder joints remain in a tensed position at impact.
These and other shoulder injuries may all result from a motor vehicle crash. Fortunately, physical therapy can help to deal with these painful and debilitating injuries. The early portion of physical therapy may involve cold therapy and some easy pendulum exercises that keep the shoulder from freezing. Eventually, we ask the patient to start doing shoulder exercises that will improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles and the joint.
Experiencing a headache in the first few days after a car crash is not unusual. However, when the headache persists for longer than about six weeks or becomes much worse, then it may be a symptom of a larger problem. It's possible that an injury to the spine or shoulder could be to blame. Alternatively, the patient could be feeling pain as a result of head trauma experienced in the accident.
Our physical therapists can assist patients to locate the cause of their continuing headache. More importantly, we also can speed the healing process by helping patients to improve neck mobility, strengthen the muscles that stabilize the neck and upper back and learn better posture habits. Our methods have helped many people make a full recovery from headaches caused by motor vehicle injuries.
As if the primary injuries that are caused by a car accident aren't bad enough, these collisions can also cause "sub-injuries," which are essentially injuries that are caused by primary injuries. Muscle spasms are one of the most common car accident sub-injuries. A spasm is an involuntary muscle contraction that is caused by trauma. In the case of car accidents, this means that the problem muscle was overstretched at the time of the collision, tearing muscle fibers. This can cause immediate muscle spasms. If the condition is ignored, it may become chronic.
As physical therapists, we recommend a number of treatment options for muscle spasms. Heat therapy and massage are frequently beneficial, and we also ask patients to engage in some stretching and light exercise. With our guidance, many patients have experienced relief from muscle spasms.