Car accidents contribute to a variety of physical and mental injuries. With approximately 6 million car accidents occurring in the United States every year, an estimated 2.5 million of those accidents are rear-ended collisions. Rear-end collisions are the most common cause of “whiplash,” an injury that occurs when the neck extends beyond its normal range of motion.
With many injuries, downtime can be decreased with proper medical follow up care, including physical therapy. Although at-home care can be beneficial, the following benefits can be experienced by individuals who undergo physical therapy after an accident:
Potential avoidance of more invasive treatments, like surgery.
Although some cases require surgery right away after an accident, other individuals experience injuries that could result in a need for surgery in the future. With the right kind of physical therapy, some of the natural deterioration that would otherwise occur due to an injury can be avoided. The potential need for surgery could also be avoided, saving time, money, and missed work hours.
Pain reduction through staying physically active.
Although physical therapy can be painful at first, as the body gains strength and flexibility the overall pain experienced performing routine tasks will gradually decrease. Movement is good for sore, strained, or damaged muscles and ligaments because it allows the blood to get more nutrients and oxygen to those areas, helping speed the recovery process. Chronic pain can also be avoided as the body heals itself early.
Prevent or decrease long-term damage.
In some situations, injuries after an accident are permanent and will last the remainder of an individual’s lifetime. However, there is evidence to support that starting physical therapy immediately after a crash decreases the overall effect those injuries could have on daily functioning and pain levels. Improving strength, flexibility, and mobility generally decreases the chances that an individual will develop chronic pain or mobility issues. Those who don’t get care immediately have an increased risk of conditions like degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and chronic pain.
Physical therapy generally speeds the recovery process.
Physical therapy supports the recovery process by allowing an individual to rebuild the strength lost while resting and recovering from an accident. It increases flexibility and helps decrease pain and soreness. Resting in bed without much movement can actually be more harmful than expected. The right type of physical therapy offered by a trained professional will help individuals get back to their normal routine faster and with less stiffness and soreness.
Physical therapy helps show a judge, jury, or insurance company that efforts towards a full recovery are being made.
Physical therapy is demanding of time and energy. In some cases, it requires appointments a few times a week. A physical therapist will provide great information to the medical records documenting the injuries sustained by the accident, as well as an individual’s efforts to improve and recover. This shows a jury that the individual is sincere about wanting to have a full recovery and offers a great timeline of overall treatment experienced.