Auto Injury TreatmentCar Accident & Whiplash Treatment
Auto Injury & Whiplash Treatment
The most common injury from an auto accident (over 1,000,000 cases per year) is “whiplash” injury. Since there is no visible injury and the initial pain is not severe, people do not often seek professional help. This is a big mistake.
Why Physical Therapy for Auto Injury Treatment?
Initial medical treatment for the typical auto injury usually consists of painkillers and a neck brace. This approach does little to repair the underlying injury. Physical therapy is the primary method for repair and strengthening of damaged tissue and for avoiding excessive scar growth. Regardless of the severity of the injury, you will benefit from a physical therapy program.
When Do I Start Treatment for an Auto Accident Injury?
It is highly recommended to begin physical therapy within one week following an auto accident. Treatment will be initiated to control pain and diminish swelling. Small movements are introduced to begin your tissue’s repair process.
You can begin physical therapy anytime. If pain or dysfunction remains, physical therapy can help. Most connective tissue injuries are quite slow to heal. There is no question that physical therapy is beneficial in helping you return to full function.
Failure to receive proper treatment after an auto injury could result in long-term health issues.
Example: In a study of 100 people who were rear-ended, 14% of people still had significant pain after 8 years! In addition to neck and back pain, you may experience headaches, dizziness, numbness, vision problems, and difficulty concentrating. You also have a much higher risk of degenerative disc disease later in life.
The long term symptoms of whiplash injury
Nationwide, an estimated 1/3 of people who suffer whiplash injuries continue to have symptoms even three years after their accidents. Common complaints include neck pain, shoulder symptoms, headaches, problems with vision, dizziness, difficulty reading, and problems with concentration. Why does our nation have such a problem treating these injuries?
It may be because we, as a nation, focus on the muscles and joints when rehabilitating whiplash, even though more than muscles and joints are damaged by this injury. Whiplash often damages the neurological systems that control balance and how your eyes move (the oculomotor and vestibular systems). Research shows that people who do not recover quickly from whiplash often have damage to these systems.
Physical Therapy for Auto Accident & Whiplash Injuries
Fortunately for people in the Portland Oregon area, Donna Gramont, PT, MOMT, OCS of New Heights Physical Therapy Plus has training and experience of 20 years on how to treat these types of injuries. She is published in an exercise book that shows how to treat these problems. New Heights Physical Therapy Plus uses the Cervical-ocular laser system to test and rehabilitate balance, sensation, and eye control. Specialized head gear worn by our patients points a laser to large patterns on the wall, and patients move their eyes and head to direct the laser through prescribed exercises. Exercise done once can point out problems and damage to the neurological systems. Done repeatedly with increasing difficulty, the Cervical-ocular laser system rehabilitates the neurological systems that affect balance and eye movement. Rehabilitating these neurological systems can remove barriers to full recovery from whiplash.
For muscles, joints, and neurology, results of whiplash rehabilitation are best when the rehabilitation starts within a week or two of the injury, but even patients who have suffered with symptoms for a long time can make good progress with our more thorough rehabilitation techniques. The vestibulo-ocular rehabilitation that we have described here serves as one part of our overall whiplash treatment program which includes hands-on therapy, strengthening, stretching, therapeutic equipment, and more.