The larger muscles in the body "guard" to protect you from more serious injuries causing extreme tightness and/or spasms. Smaller muscles turn off, producing weakness and feelings of tiredness. As a result, pain is experienced even when trying to perform everyday regular activities.
It is recommended that you see your doctor immediately to be evaluated. If the doctor clears you of a more serious injury (i.e. fracture, ligament instability), you should begin Physical Therapy as soon as that afternoon. Delaying treatment will allow the muscles to further tighten and spasm. Psychological factors such as frustration, anxiety, and in some cases post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can further complicate the healing process. The sooner you can receive physical therapy to offset this muscle guarding, the sooner your body will heal.
If you are in too much pain after a car accident to drive to treatment, you may be a good candidate for mobile physical therapy.
Your Physical Therapist will provide soft tissue mobilization and muscle energy techniques to decrease muscle spasms and restore normal muscle length. Passive range of motion is also introduced with modalities (i.e. ice, heat, electrical stimulation). Once pain is reduced and managed, light progressive resistance exercises are started. We will manage progressions to ensure proper healing and restoration of strength.
If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage, your auto insurance will pay for medical bills. Either of these is considered your primary source of medical insurance, which means it needs to be exhausted before utilizing your health insurance.
If you do not have either PIP or MedPay, then your health insurance can be used (subject to normal deductibles, copays, and co-insurances). If a 3rd party is responsible for the collision, their insurance company will typically reimburse your auto insurance or health insurance when the case settles.
If you are injured in a car accident, a personal injury lawyer is recommended. They are a great resource to have because they can save you hours of work requesting medical records, reviewing police reports and medical charts, and communicating with various insurance adjusters. Most personal injury lawyers work on a "contingency," which means they are only paid if your case wins a settlement. PT Dynamix is happy to help with any other questions you may have during this difficult time.