Motor vehicle accidents happen, especially when the conditions require extra caution on the roads.
After an accident, our bodies often go into shock as a protective mechanism to deal with the incident. As the shock begins to fade, people often start to experience different aches and pains, such as neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or low-back pain. These pains often develop later that day, or even the next day. These are symptoms of whiplash associated disorder, and may persist several months as our bodies unwind from the “fight or flight” response from the accident. This is why it is so important to seek care from a primary healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist, right away.
Depending on the severity of the motor vehicle accident, emergent medical attention, may be required. If you experience nausea, vomiting, double division, confusion, difficulty swallowing, or talking, make sure to seek immediate medical attention. Other symptoms such as pain in both legs, numbness or loss of sensation in the groin, or loss or bladder and bowel control, also require immediate medical attention.
An assessment with a physical therapist after a motor vehicle accident includes screening for the symptoms above, as these tell us if you need to go to the hospital immediately. Once we have verbally cleared for neurological issues, fractures, or vascular (bleeding) issues, we will conduct a physical examination. This includes observing how you are moving, performing neurological examinations, and performing special tests. From this examination, we can determine the extent of whiplash associated disorder (WAD) and help to develop a treatment plan tailored to you. We also communicate with the motor vehicle insurance company about our findings and treatment plan.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, and unsure of what to do, follow the steps in this link: https://www.alberta.ca/automobile-collisions-insurance.aspx
There have also been changes in the past few months with auto insurance in Alberta. If you are interested in how this affects your care, you can read more here: https://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/physiotherapists/news/updates_to_auto_insurance_in_alberta_notice_to_physiotherapists?batch_size=20
We hope you stay safe and healthy! If accidents do happen, we are here to help