Why seemingly minor injuries or symptoms should be evaluated
After a car accident, victims are often in shock. Most refuse medical care at the accident scene, believing their injuries are not serious (or that they are not injured at all). Even those who go to the ER are at risk of suffering long-term damage since many soft tissue injuries do not show up in x-rays. What’s more, pain and inflammation associated with these injuries frequently take days or even weeks to become a problem.
The best course of action is to seek medical treatment for car accident injuries immediately. Delaying intervention could lead to many unintended results, including:
- Prolonged auto injury treatment and recovery
- Other injuries developing as a result of your body’s need to compensate for decreased function
- Chronic and debilitating pain, which can lead to dependence on prescription pain pills and/or depression
- Denied coverage of medical bills – To be eligible for your full auto insurance benefits, you have 14 days in the state of Florida to have an emergent medical condition diagnose by a healthcare professional.
Common Auto Injuries Treated
At Clear Choice Physical Therapy in Fort Lauderdale, we are trained and equipped to treat the various types of injuries caused by auto accidents, most of which impact the spine. Erik Bleeker, founder and lead therapist, spent more than 5 years running a spine clinic where he treated only back and neck pain and managed the rehab for patients recovering from back and neck surgery. Combined with his other experience, his background has situated Clear Choice to treat the most notable injuries resulting from car accidents:
- Low back pain
- Muscle strains and sprains
Just because you can’t see an injury, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Some examples of symptoms that could be indicative of these sorts of injuries include:
- Pain immobility (i.e., it hurts to move- to turn your head, to pick up your purse, to brush your hair, etc.)
- Loss of range of motion, such as not being able to turn your neck all the way to one side or raise your arm above your head
- Intolerance to prolonged postures, such as sitting in one position for more than 5-10 minutes
- Tingling or numbness of the upper extremities
- Tightness or stiffness of muscles
- Difficulty sleeping
Following a car accident, such persistent pain and restriction of motion is often caused by scar tissue. Scar tissue develops at injured sites in the layers of tissue immediately below the skin. With this new, tough scar tissue layered on top of them, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and surrounding tissues (such as fascia) may be unable to move without pain and stiffness – the way that they could before the accident.
Approach to Auto Injury Treatment
At Clear Choice Physical Therapy, our goal is to break up this scar tissue and restore range of motion in order to reduce the pain. With a reduction in pain, light cardiovascular exercise can be initiated to encourage increased circulation and ultimately, true healing of the soft tissue.
While each patient requires a unique approach, this is often accomplished using a combination of:
As a result of a car accident, muscles can sometimes become “frozen” in a contracted state. Assisted static stretching is used to put the muscle in a lengthened position for a prolonged period of time in order to relax it. Stretching with proper form and body mechanics has been shown to decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Hands-On Manual Therapy
Simply put, “manual therapy” is when the physical therapist uses their hands to treat muscle or joint pain and dysfunction. A variety manual therapy techniques and protocols are considered to treat each auto injury, including:
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage (IASTM): When recovery from Whiplash and other sprains have plateaued using other methods, IASTM is often used as a catalyst to propel that last bit of healing. To help the therapists better detect scar tissue, instruments are used. Those same instruments are then used to break up the scar tissue and realign (or smooth out) the muscle fibers. The friction of the instrument over the skin also causes increased temperature and blood flow to the area, which is believed to stimulate the cellular healing response as well. Clear Choice Physical Therapy is certified in the Graston Technique, considered the gold standard form of IASTM.
- Active Release: Active release techniques aim to break up scar tissue by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. This technique also addresses trigger points to help minimize referred pain.
- Strain & Counterstrain: This technique moves the patient’s body away from the painful, restricted directions of motion. Its value with the acute patient is unmatched because it is so gentle and non-traumatic. The physical therapist is guided by what feels good to the patient and often dramatic changes are made in decreased pain and swelling of traumatized soft tissues.
Electrical, thermal and mechanical energy can help relieve pain, improve circulation, decrease swelling and reduce muscle spasm. In addition to Heat and Cold Therapy, Clear Choice Physical Therapy considers ultrasound and electrical stimulation when treating auto injuries.
Clear Choice Physical Therapy Offers Various Forms of Auto Injury Treatment in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area
At Clear Choice Physical Therapy we believe that spending quality one-on-one time with each patient – at every visit – ensures their fastest road to recovery. This allows us to deliver the highly intensive, hands-on treatment that is required to alleviate pain resulting from car accident injuries.
We also understand that complete recovery can mean moving through the legal and financial fall-out. Most of the time, treatment for auto accident injuries is covered at 100% by auto insurance – with no out of pocket cost to the patient. However, there is a limited amount of time following the accident to file a claim. In some cases, it may make good sense for patients to retain a personal injury attorney to help them (if they haven’t’ already).
However, it’s important to remember that an attorney’s ability to help you will be limited until you have been evaluated by a medical professional, ideally one with whom you are comfortable and have chosen for yourself.
As we are familiar with personal injury litigation, our Fort Lauderdale physical therapy center is able to provide all of the necessary documentation needed by insurance companies and attorneys.
Contact Clear Choice Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment today! Our team is dedicated to providing our patients with the care they need to recover.