For Physical Therapy In Spokane Valley Call Now! 509.892.5442

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Car Accidents: 5 Keys to a Quick Recovery!
August 15, 2018
If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident, you might already know that the recovery process can be painfully slow. While some people bounce back quickly, others will suffer with their pain for months on end. These people can be some of the most challenging patients we work with in the clinic, as things like annoying headaches, neck and shoulder pain, back pain and sciatica tend to linger due to the overall inflammation caused by the accident.

So if you or a love one have been involved in a car accident, I want to share 5 key points that will help you recover as quickly as possible. Here they are:

  • Key #1: Act quickly! Many people experience mild pain following a car accident, and they assume it will go away on its own. However, their pain tends to gradually worsen over the coming weeks, and things like headaches start to become more noticeable. When the pain and headaches start to really bother them, and they start missing out on a few activities, they decide they need treatment. As you can imagine, they’re now in the hole in terms of their inflammation, and they’re typically going to need a lot more treatment than they would’ve required if they had started earlier and gotten on top of their symptoms quickly!
  • Key #2: Use ice instead of heat. I’m a big fan of heat when it comes to loosening up tight muscles. However, ice usually works much better following a car accident. This is because ice acts as a local anti-inflammatory and helps decrease your pain and swelling. Heat may be beneficial at some point, but early on I’d recommend trying ice first.
  • Key #3: Combine Multiple Treatments. In a previous blog post, I explained that physical therapy often works well when combined with chiropractic treatment. So if you’re already doing one of those (PT or chiro), and you’re not coming along as quickly as you’d like, you might consider doing both at the same time. Other treatment options you can consider adding include things like massage therapy and acupuncture. And depending on how you’re feeling, you might also look into doing some gentle yoga.
  • Key #4: Anti-inflammatories. As I’ve mentioned, most people experience an unusually high level of inflammation following car accidents. So it makes sense that anti-inflammatories can be helpful. Personally, I’m not one to reach for ibuprofen or Aleve, as I prefer more “natural” anti-inflammatories. Some common over-the-counter supplements include: ginger, turmeric (or curcumin), bromelain and Boswellia. However, to each their own… just make sure to consult your physician or pharmacist before starting any pharmaceuticals.
  • Key #5: Aquatic Therapy. If you’re having severe pain and find it difficult to stand or walk for any length of time, working in the pool might be the best place for you to start. At our off-site aquatic therapy pool, the 88-degree water is perfect for helping you relax your muscles and decompress your joints, which gives you the opportunity to walk and exercise without so much pain. So if you’ve tried ramping up your exercises on land, and you just can’t quite make it over the hump, the pool might be just what you need! The hot tub is an added bonus, as long as you don’t have too much active inflammation.

If you follow these 5 key points, you have a very good chance of making a full recovery after a car accident. Out of the 5 points, I think #1 and #3 are probably the most important. One thing I didn’t mention about starting treatment early is this: auto insurance companies can be a pain to work with at times. They’re motivated to control their costs, as all insurance companies are. And if you wait for a month or two before seeking treatment, they might try to limit your access to your PIP benefits, with the argument that if the accident had caused you pain, you would’ve been seeking treatment sooner. If you find yourself in this situation, I have more advice that can help you, so just shoot me an email.

To wrap things up, here’s one more idea related to #3: keep in mind from my articles over the last 2 weeks that not all PTs and chiropractors treat people the same way. So if you don’t feel like your care providers are listening to you and doing everything in their power to help you reduce your pain, don’t feel too bad about seeking a second opinion or wanting to add another treatment option to your recovery.

I hope this information will be helpful for you or a loved one. Below is the video version of the blog 🙂

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Gordon Physical Therapy - Spokane Valley, WA

626 North Mullan Road #4, Spokane Valley, WA 99206

(509) 892-5442

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