Common Car Accident Injuries And How They Are Treated
There are many factors that can cause a car accident, and the injuries sustained can range from severe to mild. No two car accidents are alike. However, the type of injuries sustained after a car accident are generally similar because there’s only so much movement that the our body can make when sitting in a car seat with a seat belt on.
By far, whiplash is the most common type of injury seen with car accidents. When the head jerks violently, it creates stress on the neck and spine, causing what we call a “whiplash”. This type of injury more commonly occurs after a rear-end collision. If left untreated, the effects of whiplash can lead to long-lasting adverse health issues. The symptoms of whiplash can develop in as little as 24 hours after the accident and include blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, neck stiffness and pain, headache, limited neck movement, numbness in the arms, and pain in the shoulders, arms or upper back area. In severe cases, whiplash can cause memory and concentration issues and depression. The treatment for whiplash can be quite intensive and take time to unfold because the injury itself requires ample healing time. Whiplash treatment may involve the use of muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory prescription medication to help with the pain and discomfort. Your GP will be able to help you with these.
When we receive a severe blow to the head, our brain can actually move inside our skull, causing a traumatic injury. Concussions sometimes go undiagnosed after vehicle accidents because the symptoms can take time to appear. The symptoms include headache, double vision, nausea, sensitivity to loud noises and light, and even loss of consciousness. Concussion treatment involves rest followed by physical therapy to help you regain your balance and strength, massage, motion exercises and electrical stimulation. In severe cases, when a brain scan reveals internal bleeding or swelling, surgery is needed.
Herniated disc or Disc bulge
The impact of a car accident can cause one or more of the back’s small discs to shift out of alignment. Herniated discs can create ruptures to the area resulting in pain, nerve injuries that travel all the way down to the thighs, and severe weakness. To determine if you have a herniated disc (or discs), imaging tests, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs can all be used. Treatment for herniated disc(s) revolves around rest, applying ice and heat to the area, spinal decompression and manual Physiotherapy techniques. Your Physiotherapist may also give you range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises once your pain has settled.
Lower extremity injuries
The impact of a car accident can cause knee, leg and foot injuries due to physical trauma. These type of injuries usually occur due to impact of the collision can push their knees into the steering column and dashboard. The symptoms of lower extremity injuries can include pain and broken bones. Treatment will involve pain medication, crutches to keep pressure on the area and Physiotherapy. Surgery may be needed for severe cases of lower extremity injury.
Cracked or broken ribs are common after vehicle accidents because the impact can send you forward into the dashboard and steering wheel. Moreover, the pressure of the seatbelt pushing into your lap and chest can also cause chest injuries. The symptoms range from pain to trouble breathing to nothing at all. In fact, organ bruising and other internal damage is not easily detectable, so you may need to undergo a full-body scan and X-ray to determine the extent of the damage. The treatment for chest injuries is rest and pain medication, followed by Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles again.
Why visiting a Physiotherapist after a car accident is necessary:
Following a car accident, you need to see your GP for an initial assessment and also to lodge a CTP Insurance claim which will cover your medical and any out of pocket costs due to the car accident. You do not need a referral to see a Physiotherapist, you can inform your insurance company and start treatment early if you are unable to see your GP.
Even if your doctor prescribes rest and pain medication, you will still need to work with a Physiotherapist to help with the healing process. When we rest for long periods of time, our strength diminishes and we can re-injure ourselves easily. A Physiotherapist is trained to help you get back on your feet without the chance of re-injury. Rehabilitation following a car accident can take months to get you back to your old self, this all depends on the extent of the injury and how strong your body was prior to the accident. A Physiotherapist will create a program that is specifically designed for your body and needs. In addition, Physiotherapists will work in tandem with your GP and insurance company to help with pain management and get you back to your pre injury levels.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact us. At Physiotherapy Professionals Parramatta we will do our part to ensure you get the best hands on treatment in Parramatta to treat common car accident injuries to get you back on your feet.
Ready to Take Care of Yourself?
For more information on how we can further assist you, please call our clinic number on 0479 080 800 or send us an email on admin [email protected] for further details. Our Physiotherapists are Medicare, NDIS, DVA and Work Cover approved, specialising in injury management and rehabilitation to get you back on track.