Motor vehicle accidents are extremely common, with millions of incidents occurring every year on roads across the United States. Most of these, even minor shunts, can result in injury. There are many different types of injuries that can be sustained as a result of a vehicle accident, but the musculoskeletal system, which is the network of bones, muscles, connective tissues, and other soft tissues that give our body shape, structure, and form, is nearly always affected. This is because most vehicle accidents involve severe force being placed onto the body. Even with the use of safety belts and airbags, crushing impact injuries or overextension of connective tissues can occur that affect anything from the legs and feet to the head.
Some of the most common types of injuries sustained after a motor vehicle accident include the following:
Leg and knee injuries
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be life-changing, particularly if you don’t get the proper treatment for your injuries. The vast majority of people who have been involved in a vehicle collision can benefit from seeing a physical therapist in the hours, days, or weeks after their accident. This is because, once any immediate and obvious injuries have been dealt with by emergency doctors, physical therapy is used as the primary form of rehabilitation – to bring your body back to full strength and function and prevent any long-term health issues from arising.
Physical therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system and can both diagnose and treat injuries that may have occurred as a result of a vehicle accident. The aim of physical therapy is to use tried and tested techniques to repair and strengthen damaged muscles and tissues so that your mobility is restored. In the event that you have experienced neurological damage, a physical therapist can even help you to relearn everyday activities such as opening doors or moving up and downstairs.
There is a range of different physical therapy techniques that your therapist may recommend. Some of the most common include:
Manual therapy. One of the best-known physical therapy techniques, manual therapy comprises a range of different methods including mobilization, massage, manipulation of joints, and strengthening exercises to help reduce inflammation and restore mobility and flexibility.
Exercises. Most physical therapists recommend exercise to help with rehabilitation following a vehicle accident. The aim of exercises, which will be performed both in your PT sessions and to complete at home, is to target weak muscles for strengthening, address muscular imbalances, and help you regain flexibility.
Hot/Cold therapy. You’ve probably heard of using heat packs or ice to help with injuries and may even use the technique at home. However, many people aren’t sure which to use for which injury. Ice/cold therapy will be used to help counteract inflammation, while heat will be used to reduce tightness and spasms in muscles and other soft tissues. A physical therapist understands which benefits each type of injury and will use them as appropriate during your PT sessions.
Every patient is different and physical therapy treatment plans are tailored to your individual needs to ensure the greatest improvement in your condition. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may benefit from seeing a physical therapist. To find out more about how PT can help following a vehicle accident, please contact our office in North Massapequa, NY today.