Physical Therapy after an Accident
It happened in a split second. It felt like less than a second. You are on your way to the office, just another regular Tuesday morning. You’re bobbing your head to the music and thinking about the various meetings you have coming up that day. Then suddenly you see the taillights on the car in front of you blink red. You jam your foot on your brake in an effort to avoid crashing headfirst into them, and when you do you feel the jolt before you hear the sound. Crunching metal and squealing tires, as your vehicle is thrust forward, hit from the pick-up truck behind you. No chance now, your car’s fender meets the bumper of the van in front of you. Metal sandwich.
Later that day, after the shock of the crash has worn off, you feel just the slightest twinge in the base of your neck. You stretch it a little, move side to side, and try to focus on the growing pile of emails flooding your inbox. The day wears on and you go about your regular activities, ignoring the sporadic pain that shoots through your upper spine every now and again.
After a quick appointment with the physical therapist, it’s confirmed. Whiplash. Even the most minor auto collisions can cause it, he tells you. What matters is how you handle your body afterwards.
Whiplash and its effects can vary immensely. It can be a simple as muscle tightness or stiffness, or as severe as vision changes or loss of balance. Symptoms are sometimes felt the day after an accident, sometimes several days later, and can persist for weeks or even months.
To treat a case of whiplash, the medical professionals at Franklin Rehabilitation can help find a plan that is best for your specific needs. Your physical therapist can treat whiplash and get you back to normal quickly. In the meantime, here are some other options you can try to help reduce your discomfort:
- Heat/cold. Immediately following an accident, treat the affected area with an ice pack to reduce inflammation. Then use a heat compress to loosen and relax the muscles and increase blood flow.
- Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers are another great way to decrease inflammation and offset potential headaches caused by whiplash. Medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be taken in correct dosages to ease pain.
- Stretching. Full range of motion is key in regaining the mobility you need after an accident. Slowly and carefully rotating your neck from side to side several times throughout the day can help lessen stiffness. The more you can maintain regular movement, the more pliable your muscles and tendons will be. Your physical therapist will choose specific exercises and movements to ease the pain. These movements will always be individualized to your body type and health history. This is not a one-size-fits-all program.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and treat it accordingly. The body has amazing self-healing properties, but sometimes it needs a little help. Franklin Rehabilitation is here to ensure you get the help you deserve to get you back to your active lifestyle. Remember, we always offer a free pain screening and our therapists can look at your movement patterns and see what we can do to help eliminate your pain. Please contact us today at (414) 425-9700 for your free screening.