Auto accidents are abrupt, without warning, and have been known to change lives — forever. Twenty to fifty million people are injured or disabled due to car accidents each year. That can add stress to our already stressful lives and can make living burdensome, especially if we sustain pain and injuries in the process.
Many people who have been in an auto accident don’t immediately feel symptoms, like pain or immobility. It may be days before the pain begins to live within your bones causing you discomfort and added stress from loss of pay from work. That is why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible after an auto accident to ensure that pain symptoms do not become chronic.
Common Injuries After an Auto Accident
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries from an auto accident. Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly jolted during the impact of the accident. This is considered a soft tissue injury where muscles and tendons are strained and often leads to pain and stiffness within the neck and back. Numbness and tingling may also occur within the arms.
Headaches and concussions can occur, typically at the base of the skull where the neck joins the head. Concussion symptoms can vary, but an individual can experience headaches, dizziness, light and/or sound sensitivity, difficulty focusing, and sleep disturbance. Treatment is focused on identifying symptoms and functional limitations associated with the concussion and working to overcome these problems.
Trauma injuries include broken bones or cuts and bruises, with the chest, shoulders, and knees commonly affected. These injuries can occur if you’re struck by the side of the car or debris during the accident. Seatbelts and airbags can lead to bruising on the shoulder and chest when they engage during an accident. More severe accidents can lead to greater damage to the car, so trauma can vary widely between accidents.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Despite the variety of injuries possible following an auto accident, physical therapy is often beneficial and is typically one of the first lines of treatment recommended. Benefits of physical therapy after an auto accident include:
- Physical therapy can speed up recovery time.
- Physical therapy can prevent secondary injuries.
- Physical therapy techniques can help with pain management.
- Physical therapy can reduce the need for painkillers.
- Physical therapy can reduce the chances of surgery.
- Physical therapy can provide ongoing education and activity to the injured that will benefit them in the long run.
Education is an important part of recovery
Education is an important part of recovery following an auto accident and can help the patient return to his/her normal daily activities without causing more pain. This may involve adjusting certain activities for a temporary period and increasing awareness of posture and body mechanics throughout the day.
Activity is especially important following a motor vehicle accident, as avoiding movement often makes things worse and may prolong recovery. Additional considerations may be made in the case of concussions, as the symptoms that accompany a concussion can lead to significant difficulty with work and school activities.
Who pays for physical therapy after an accident?
If you are at-fault in the accident, either your car insurance will cover some amount of your medical care, or you can use your personal health insurance in order to get the treatment you need and avoid paying 100% of your medical bills. See what insurances we accept here!
If you are not at-fault, then ReLive will have you sign a lien that allows you to not pay anything for your treatment until your claim is settled with your insurance. In most circumstances, you would have an attorney that helps you file your claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your attorney then makes sure that all bills and damages that you occurred from the time of the accident until recovery is accounted and compensated for. Then when you receive your settlement check from the insurance, the attorney helps negotiate and disperse funds for all your medical bills, and you’re left with the remaining funds.
Ultimately, while auto accidents can lead to pain and disability, physical therapy can help overcome these issues. At ReLive Physical Therapy, we are committed to a patient-first approach and recognize you deserve individualized care that is catered to your specific needs. We offer a supportive and empowering environment and ensure you are properly educated on your condition and provide the necessary tools for efficient and effective treatment.