Some car accidents result in severe injuries and individuals need physical therapy to relearn how to hold balance, walk, and use various muscle groups. If you have recently been injured in a car accident, we want to help you overcome the pain you may be experiencing.
At the New Jersey Pain & Injury Center, we offer physical therapy to help you alleviate back, knee, neck, or shoulder pain. Our expert physical therapists will design a customized treatment plan after meeting with you, but here are some “at-a-glance” exercises you could incorporate into your daily routine.
Why Is Movement Beneficial after a Car Accident?
When an injury first occurs, inflammation happens. An increased blood flow to the area causes it, as white blood cells rush to the site of injury to begin the healing process. After time passes, inflammation may start causing stiffness and pain around joints. This is where movement comes into play to relieve tension.
Your joints are surrounded by fluid. This fluid helps lubricate your bones and facilitates the transportation of nutrients to your soft tissues. When an injury happens, your body starts building scar tissue. Sometimes it might overproduce it, which results in restricted blood flow—meaning less oxygen for the tissues and a restricted movement of joints and muscles. Movement helps break down excessive scar tissue.
Take Home Physical Therapy Exercises after a Car Accident
Now that you see the importance of movement for alleviating your pain, let’s take a look at some safe exercises you could do at home.
Exercise #1: Chin Tucks
If you experience a back injury after a car accident, stretching your cervical spine muscles may help. Chin tucks can be easily performed in a sitting or lying position.
For the lying-down form of the exercise, lie on your back and gaze at the ceiling. Afterward, gently lower your chin toward your chest, maintaining this posture for 5 seconds. Make sure you experience a comfortable stretch at the bottom of your head and neck. Repeat this exercise 20 times.
When sitting, hold your back straight and direct your eyes forward. Slowly tilt your head backward. Keep your chin tucked in. Hold this position for 5 seconds and redo the exercise 10 times.
Exercise #2: Side-to-Side Head Rotation
This exercise helps alleviate neck pain and improve your neck mobility after a car accident. If you choose to do the exercise while seated, ensure you have the correct sitting posture. Rotate your chin toward the right shoulder and use your hand to deepen the stretch. Hold this pose for 20 seconds and repeat the exercise on the left side as well.
When lying on your back, turn your chin toward your right shoulder. Enhance the stretch by pulling your head further in that direction. Maintain this position for 20 seconds. Then, switch sides and repeat on the left. Aim to do this 3–5 times daily.
Exercise #3: Side Bending
Another great exercise to alleviate neck pain is side bending. If you choose to lie down, shift your head to the right and bring your right ear closer to your right shoulder. Use your hands to achieve a deeper stretch. Maintain this posture for 20 seconds before switching to the left side. Feel free to repeat this exercise multiple times throughout the day.
In an upright seated position, direct your right ear towards your right shoulder. Pull your head gently for a deeper stretch. Keep this position for 20 seconds, then relax and repeat the same movement on the left side. You can perform these exercises about five times on each side.
Caution, patience, and consistency are key to a successful rehabilitation process. At New Jersey Pain & Injury Center, we have a team of physical therapists and chiropractors to help you alleviate pain after a car accident. Contact us today.