12 Aug Car Accident Injury Treatment
Motor vehicle accidents can cause serious bodily injuries. These injuries are typically due to hard impact with another vehicle or object or being hurt from broken glass or torn metal. A frontal crash can cause traumatic injury to the head, neck, chest, and extremities. A side-impact crash can cause trauma to the head and pelvis.
The injuries caused by an automobile accident can be grouped by their anatomic location:
- Head, neck and back injuries
- Chest, abdomen & pelvic injuries
- Limb injuries
Head, neck & back injuries:
Head injuries include TBI, jaw fractures and facial fractures. The most common neck injury is whiplash, in which the neck stretches back and forth quickly, causing damage to the neck, back, ligaments or discs. Chronic pain can ensue following soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. Whiplash symptoms include pain in the neck and back, referred pain to the shoulders, sensory disturbance to the arms and legs, and headaches. Cognitive symptoms distractibility and irritability and is associated with a poorer prognosis.
Chest, abdomen & pelvic injuries:
The crushing impact of an accident can cause fractures of the rib cage. This can occur despite airbags, and in many cases, sudden airbag inflation causes significant soft tissue injury. Blunt trauma to the lower chest can lead to diaphragm rupture. Abdominopelvic injuries include trauma to the kidneys, spleen, and liver.
In high-impact car accidents or motorcycle accidents, the arms and legs are frequently injured. Leg and knee injuries can range from contusions and fractures to a meniscus tear. Ankles can have fractures or sprains in a car crash.
Long-term consequences of such injuries, if poorly managed can be devastating. Pain management and physical therapy are important components of rehabilitation. Usually, pain relief and symptomatic relief is attempted through painkillers, rest and a brace. More aggressive pain control methods may be required in some cases.
Physical therapy attempts to repair and strengthen injured tissue, reduce pain and swelling as well. There is a wide variety of physical therapy techniques targeted at eliminating pain, increasing mobility and resuming daily function. It begins with a full evaluation to determine physical condition, pain level, and limits. Range-of-motion techniques, ice/heat therapy, and manual manipulation may also be attempted.
These techniques can help in avoiding the use of opioids for long-term pain, as well as being an alternative to invasive surgery. Patients can engage with physical therapists in designing personalized treatment plans to meet their individual challenges, needs, and goals. Patients should keep mobile and continue to do as much normal activity as is practical, as research shows that soft tissue heals faster and stronger with activity.
It is important to address pain and other associated symptoms following a motor vehicle accident, and focus of techniques that speed up the healing process.