How Long Should I Go To Physical Therapy After a Car Accident?

June 20, 2022

If you have been injured in a car accident, your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your accident rehabilitation. Faithfully attending physical therapy helps your body recover and heal properly. It may also help your car accident injury claim by documenting your injuries and recovery efforts. For the sake of your health and wellbeing, it is important not to rush your recovery and to dedicate the necessary time to get better.

Factors that Determine the Length of Time you will Need to Recover After a Car Accident

So, how long should I go to physical therapy after a car accident?

This is one of our patients' most frequently asked questions during their initial consultations. Keep in mind that there are several factors to consider when it comes to the recovery process after a car accident.

Your physical therapist can carefully examine your condition to know more about your condition and recovery period. To give you an idea, here are the factors that determine the length of time you will need to recover after a car accident:

Factor #1: Type of Car Accident Injury

Some car accident injuries take more time to heal. Your physical therapist also needs to consider if you have previous injuries and pain symptoms. Below are some of the most common car accident injuries and a general estimate of how long you might have to go to physical therapy for each type of injury.

Muscle (2 to 4 weeks)

As with any auto accident injury, the recovery period for muscle tissue depends on the severity of the case. For mild strains, you may recover within 2 to 3 weeks with basic home care or light physical therapy. For more severe strains, recovery may take several weeks to months of physical therapy.

Tendon (4 to 6 weeks)

Tendon tissue injuries are also common for car accident victims. Tendon injuries are similar to muscle strains in terms of the recovery process. Patients who suffer from this car accident injury are also recommended to undergo physical therapy. This will help accelerate recovery and avoid future injuries.

Bone (6 to 12 weeks)

Bone injuries are also common in car accidents. Broken bones take longer to heal compared to muscle or tendon injuries. For minor bone injuries, recovery takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Severe cases like fractures to larger bones can take up to 12 weeks or even longer to heal.

Ligament (10 to 12 weeks)

Ligament injuries can take even longer to heal. One of the common auto accident ligament injuries is Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL). This type of injury is also called "dashboard knee". As the name implies, it usually occurs when the driver or passenger hits the dashboard due to a car crash impact. Patience and consistent physical therapy work will help ensure proper healing.

Cartilage (10-12 weeks)

The recovery period of cartilage injuries due to car or motor vehicle accidents can also take 10 to 12 weeks. Symptoms of cartilage injuries include pain, inflammation, stiffness, and limited range of motion. These take time to subside and improve.

Other common injuries you can get from a car accident include:

  • Disc injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Dislocated knee
  • Scar tissue injuries

Each of these injuries presents its own unique set of challenges and heals on its own timeframe.

Factor #2: Patient's Overall Health

The patient's medical history and current state of health are key factors determining the length of rehabilitation. Patients suffering from other illnesses face additional complications. In some cases, the patient may not be able to get physical therapy treatments right away. At The Right Spinal Clinic, our physical therapist works with a qualified physician to ensure the patient is ready to take physical therapy treatments.

If you have previous injuries prior to the accident, this may also prolong the duration of your recovery. Your physician and physical therapist also need to focus on the recovery of your previous injury. That's why the overall recovery may take longer than usual.

Factor #3: Individual Goals and Rate of Progress

Every individual is unique. As such, physical therapy treatment goals vary from patient to patient. Some patients are looking to recover basic mobility for everyday activities, while others are trying to return to sports or physically demanding occupations. To achieve a successful recovery, your physical therapy program must be aligned with your goals. That's why you need to choose an experienced physical therapist with a proven track record.

Your rate of progress will also vary depending on factors such as personal motivation, level of commitment, consistency, and more. Your physical therapist will monitor your rate of progress to see whether you are responding well to the current treatment plan and make adjustments to your program until you fully recover.

Why Is Physical Therapy Necessary After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, you may experience pain, reduced range of motion, headaches, or stiffness. There are many reasons you should get physical therapy after you’ve been in a car crash, as it supports the recovery process and can also prevent long-term damage from a car accident, including migraines and chronic pain.

Here are some of the advantages of physical therapy programs:

Physical Therapy can Reduce pain

For many years, physical therapy has proven to be an effective pain management treatment. At The Right Spinal Clinic, our physical therapists don't just focus on pain; we treat the underlying source. We will carefully examine your condition to determine the best treatment plan for you. Our team also makes sure to check for hidden injuries to avoid future problems.

Physical Therapy Reduces the Use of Pain Medication

Physical therapy promotes the natural healing process of your body. It does not require any pain medication, including opioids.

With Physical Therapy, you can Reduce the Need for Surgery

Physical therapy programs do not require any surgeries. Even if you're dealing with a serious injury, you should consider visiting a licensed physical therapist to maximize your options.

Physical Therapy Increases Stability and Promotes General Wellness

Physical therapy programs can improve your overall health and wellness. It aims to get your life back on track faster by treating the source of your symptoms to reduce pain, achieve a normal range of motion, and prevent future injuries.

Schedule your appointment and start your recovery process at The Right Spinal Clinic

The Right Spinal Clinic is a trusted health and wellness clinic located in Tampa, Florida. We specialize in creating individualized physical therapy programs to help you recover quickly. We also aim to support accident victims by helping them maximize their insurance benefits. Start physical therapy today!

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