So today I would like to talk to you about a question that I often see on forums online or I have been ask by patients is...
Is physical therapy or physiotherapy appropriate after a car accident?
My answer today's is 100%, Yes!
Of course you would want to work with a PT who has experience in treating car accident patients. It's kind of a completely different beast compared to working with a patient with a simple injury.
When you have a car accident, there is a lot of flare ups from your nervous system that is happening... Something called reflexogenic guarding that makes your entire body kind of guards and tighten up. This is why even though initially you might have had pain just in your neck, you now feel pain in your shoulder blades... in your mid-back and lower back and maybe potentially in your hips as well... Just from when you move your neck.
So all of that needs to be dealt appropriately in a very effective and very specific matter by your physical therapist.
What I see a lot of the time is patient that go to decide to join a gym at that time, or work with a personal trainer, or have manipulation done at their chiropractor for example. That tends to flare ups things. Some of these things are way too aggressive to begin with.
The key to get better is to first decrease that reflexogenic guarding, that nervous system inflammation. So that's something you you might have to take some medication for and you should talk about as well with your physician.
But in order to progressively make improvements in your mobility, range of motion, and regaining your range and strength, it is a process that takes a little bit of time and trial and error at time.
Another question I am being asked is "are massage appropriate after a car accident?"
My answer to this is it depend what kind of massage. In my experience, any type of deep massage or fairly aggressive massage tends to make your symptoms flare-ups... Because it doesn't take very much after when you have all that guarding and inflammation to flare you up. Generally, a regular massage, such as what you would consider a relaxation massage, or a Swedish massage, will tend to exacerbate her symptoms, and in my experience people will respond way better with very light myofascial release type approach until everything is a come down, and then you should be able to resume your regular massage. But that can take a few months before you are able to tolerate that.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are living in the Greater Seattle Area and need help returning to normal living due to neck, back, ribs or limb pain, reach out to us. (425) 281-4171.
15034 5th Ln S
Burien, WA 98148
Pierre-Yves Butheau, MPT, CMP has been a physiotherapist for 19 years and has a passion for helping people move better, return from and prevent injuries, as well as improve their function and quality of life. He has a strong interest in addressing the root cause of and treating neuro-musculoskeletal conditions while educating his patients with the knowledge to manage their conditions and prevent recurrence. Pierre also has a niche in treating Bell's palsy and temporomandibular joint dysfunctions.