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A Closer Look at the Importance of Physical Therapy After a Car Accident

physical therapy after a car accident

Adjusting to life after a car accident isn’t easy. There’s a lot that needs to be done, and it feels like there’s never enough time to fit in everything.

You’re dealing with your insurance company, managing repairs, or could be searching for a new vehicle. If you were in a particularly bad accident, you could even be dealing with legal matters.

You may be busy and have a lot on your mind, but you should still spend time thinking about your health. Physical therapy after a car accident is important for your body and soul. Going to the right physical therapist can help your situation.

Why You Need Physical Therapy After a Car Accident

If you’ve seen a doctor, you may think that you’ve done enough to manage your health after an accident.

You might have a broken bone or two, but it’ll heal. Back pain may have gotten worse and you may have a little whiplash, but you’re sure it’ll get better.

Physical therapy can help you more than you’d think. Here are all of the reasons why everyone that has been in a car accident should consider physical therapy.

Support the Recovery Process

You may feel relatively fine when you’re given pain killers and are taking things easy. But it isn’t uncommon for people to struggle once they try to get back to their daily life.

When most car accident victims envision after accident injuries, they think about serious problems like broken bones and damaged organs. The truth is that some of the “smaller” injuries can cause a lot of problems.

You could have problems with pain and stiffness. It’s possible that you could have a reduced range of motion after your accident, or could suffer from chronic migraines and headaches.

This is why it’s important for people involved in car accidents to seek out physical therapy regardless of if they think they have “serious” injuries or not.

The right physical therapy can help increase your strength and improve your flexibility and motion. Doing both could help improve your symptoms. Going to physical therapy may also be important for your worker’s compensation claim.

Prevent Long-Term Damage

Car accident injuries can last much longer than you think. Unfortunately, car accidents are notorious for causing damage in the long term. This is especially true if injuries aren’t addressed early on.

Doctors can do a lot to ensure that you’re doing well, but there’s only so much they can see when you go in for a visit. There may be damages and injuries that won’t surface until days or even weeks until after your accident.

You may have a degenerative disc disease that could come to life after you don’t take the proper steps to go through physical therapy. You could experience a reduced range of motion with your muscles, or have muscle pain.

If you start physical therapy immediately after your accident, you can improve your chances of living a pain-free and problem-free life for many years to come.

Reduce Pain

It isn’t uncommon for people to feel varying degrees of pain after a car accident. Sometimes the pain may be something you may not notice after a while, other times it can be something that becomes absolutely debilitating.

There are only so many ways people can manage pain. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you something that can help with pain issues, but pain killers come with their own unique risks that can’t be ignored.

Pain killers can do a lot to reduce your overall discomfort, but the risk of addiction is far too great.

Certain medications can make it difficult for people to go about their daily routines. You wouldn’t be able to safely operate a vehicle and may feel too foggy or tired to go about your day.

It’s also important to talk about the risks of addiction. Even if you get pain killers prescribed from a doctor and are closely monitored, you’re still at risk of developing a dependence on substances.

Going to a physical therapist can help reduce your pain and discomfort. You could reduce your dependence on pain killers for relief, and you may even be able to stop taking them faster than you’d think.

Reduce Your Need for Surgery

Some serious car accidents are going to require surgery right away. You may not have had to get rushed to the operating table as soon as you were pulled from your car, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to avoid surgery altogether.

This may come as a surprise, but a car accident injury combined with the regular wear and tear when you go through your everyday life can cause you to need surgery later on in life.

This can be especially true for patients that don’t receive the right after care once they’ve been in an accident. When you weigh the costs of physical therapy and surgery, physical therapy is obviously the better and lest costly options.

Physical therapy can help strengthen up your most vulnerable muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can also help protect and strengthen certain important structures throughout the body.

Get Help at All Times

The best thing about physical therapy is that it can help people at varying stages of healing from their car accident. Regardless of if you’ve recently been in an accident, or if you’re trying to heal years later, physical therapy can help.

This may come as a surprise, but you can benefit from physical therapy long after you’ve been in an accident. The right physical therapy can restore function and mobility with patients that have old injuries.

Strength training exercises and cardiovascular rehabilitation techniques can help you achieve a pain-free lifestyle.

Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy: 7 Tips

Now that you know about all of the ways physical therapy can help you, you’re probably eager to start going to physical therapy on your own.

Going to therapy can be helpful, but simply attending appointments won’t be enough. If you want to get the most out of physical therapy appointments, there are some things you can do.

1. Understand Your Medical History

When you go to your first physical therapy appointment, your doctor is going to do a basic examination to learn about your body.

The physical examination can be helpful, but giving them a comprehensive rundown of your medical history would help even more.

Come prepared with thorough background information on your health. Be sure to mention any chronic conditions you have, and if you’ve had any recent health problems or have been prescribed any new medication.

Also, get ready to answer some questions about the current problems you’re experiencing. Your physical therapist is going to ask you a lot of questions about any and all pain or other problems you’ve experienced since your accident.

Try to take some time to think about when the symptoms first started to show up. Giving an accurate timeline of how long you’ve been experiencing problems can help them think about the best ways to treat you.

2. Set Goals

What do you want to get out of physical therapy? Whether you’re being sent by a doctor or because people have suggested it to you, think about what you ultimately want to get our of physical therapy.

Do you want to regain your flexibility and be able to attend yoga classes again? Are you eager to get back to the gym? Do you need to be able to do your job again without any pain or discomfort?

Thinking about what you personally want to get out of physical therapy can help your physical therapist help you reach your goals and design a helpful program for your specific needs.

3. Don’t Skip Appointments

When you’re in physical therapy, some days are going to be harder than others.

There are going to be times when you’re feeling exhausted and don’t want to attend your therapy appointment. You’ll feel to busy to fit it into your schedule, or could feel discouraged and like you don’t want to do any more work.

Physical therapy is a process, and you need to follow it through every step of the way to get the most out of its benefits.

If you absolutely can’t attend a therapy session, try to reschedule it. You won’t want to delay your programs by missing anything important.

4. Work Outside of Therapy

You’re going to do a lot of work when you’re at physical therapy, but there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to work on yourself outside of your appointments.

Your doctor is going to set certain goals for you during your daily routine. They may ask you to do certain exercises or may request that you’re active for a certain amount of time every day.

Regardless of what they ask, you need to stick to their schedule and complete things on time.

We mentioned before that physical therapy is a process. Not missing appointments can be as important as doing work outside of your appointments.

If you’re having trouble reaching their pre-set goals, don’t be afraid to speak up. Ask if they can make any adjustments to your plan to keep you on schedule.

5. Find a Reliable Space

You have more than enough space when you have to do exercises during physical therapy, but the same isn’t the same for when you have to do work at home.

If you can manage it, dedicate a space to your physical therapy work at your home. Clean out a special corner of a room and make it easy for you to exercise and stretch out.

Make the corner as out of the way as possible so you aren’t distracted by other people. If you do your exercises out of the way, you could also have more room to workout.

If you’re very short on space, consider joining a gym. If you’re lucky, you can find a gym with a trainer that will be willing to work on your exercises with you.

6. Over Communicate

Do you feel like you’re a little too beat after you do your workouts? Are you not feeling challenged during your therapy? Have you been concerned over how you’re going to handle things once you’re done therapy?

One of the most important things you can do when you’re in physical therapy is to be very open about what you’re feeling.

You may have a workout plan, but every individual is different. If you feel like something isn’t working or if you want to know about the best way to continue improving outside of therapy, let your trainer know.

Don’t just think about what you’re doing in terms of therapy, take a little time to consider how you feel overall.

Are you feeling more tired than usual, or do you have more energy? Do you feel like things are working, or did you think you’d be farther ahead?

Your emotional and mental state is important during the rehab process too. Don’t be afraid to spend time focusing on how you’re feeling.

7. Treat Yourself Well

Your body is in recovery mode. The best thing you can do to get the most out of physical therapy is to pay special attention to the way you’re treating yourself.

Get plenty of sleep, and don’t hesitate to give yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Eat plenty of healthy food, and don’t drink alcohol often or smoke.

Nutrition is important when you’re healing, so is living a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to pay close attention to the way you treat your body and ensure that you’re getting plenty of what you need.

Get Help Today

Physical therapy after a car accident can do wonders for your health. Even if you don’t think you need any additional help, there’s no harm in talking to your doctor about the best possible way to ensure that you recover.

Are you ready to start physical therapy? Do you want to help yourself reach goals and get healthy again?

We’re always here to help people that want to explore physical therapy options. Call 1-800-897-8440 today and be sure to request an appointment today so we can help you find the best physical therapy plan for your needs.