Car accidents are unfortunately a common cause of injury and often result in multiple areas of pain. Physical Therapy can be an effective tool in speeding up recovery for these aches and pain, as well as reducing the chances of chronic pain as a result of these injuries. Neck (whiplash) and lower back are common areas of pain after a car accident. Gentle stretching, gradual strengthening, and certain manual techniques can help significantly with these injuries. Alignment issues are often a problem after impact injuries, and there are muscle changes and imbalances that can accompany and prolong pain.
With a thorough evaluation of muscle strength, muscle tightness, and spinal/postural alignment, these areas can be addressed before the body adapts to these new positions. This reduces the common issue of chronic pain or secondary problems that follow an injury. Car accidents often involve much more than one small area of the body and require attention to multiple parts of the body. Even when one area is affected, it often causes compensation of another part of the body in an attempt to ‘take over’ for the injured part. This often leads to further pain due to overworking or tightening of certain areas that are attempting to correct the imbalance. Headaches are another problem associated with motor vehicle accidents, especially in a whiplash scenario. There are stretches and muscle release techniques used in Physical Therapy to address muscle tension and headache pain.
It is also important to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine and protect the neck from strain. Sometimes there are underlying postural issues or muscle weakness that add to recovery time and are often exacerbated with an injury. Addressing these deficits in conjunction with the recovery process may not only get you back to running order more quickly after the accident, but also prevent further injuries or strains in the future. Many people have jobs that involve prolonged sitting, and it is important to improve your spinal position and make ergonomic corrections during this process as well. All in all, you will give your body a quicker recovery and learn preventative measures to improve long-term musculoskeletal health by taking the time to address these concerns after a motor vehicle accident.