Motor Vehicle Accident

BAM! It happened. That sickening crunch sound that makes you sick to your stomach. And now on top of the paperwork and hassle of sorting through insurance and mechanical repairs, your head is pounding, your neck hurts and you feel like your body has been hit by a truck (or a sedan or a minivan, depending on how the accident went down). 

Motor vehicle accidents happen. And when they do, it’s important that you seek medical care within a few days of the accident to assess your injuries. In some cases, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately, for instance:

  • If you cannot stop the bleeding
  • If you have lost consciousness at any point
  • If you’ve vomited
  • If you’ve been impaled by an object (i.e., there is an object stuck in your skin that should not be there)
  • If you have an exposed/broken bone 
  • If you’ve sustained a head injury
  • If you think you’re having a heart attack.

If you are sore and bruised in the days following your accident, you should schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. 

Common Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries Treated With Physical Therapy

There are a number of motor vehicle accident injuries that can be treated with physical therapy. The main concern with this type of trauma is damage to the musculoskeletal system, which is exactly what physical therapy specializes in. 

Common injuries treated after a motor vehicle accident include:

  • Whiplash — This is a big one. The blunt impact of a vehicle crash can whip your neck back and forth, causing internal damage to the ligaments, muscles and discs around your spine. This can result in pain and tenderness to the touch, headaches, and general aches that don’t seem to go away. 
  • Strains and sprains — Common in wrists, strains and sprains can happen when trying to brace yourself against the impact of an oncoming vehicle. For most people, this is an automatic reaction, but it puts the joints in a precarious position and often leads to damage. 
  • Concussions — While concussions should initially be checked by an emergency medical professional, the ongoing effects of a severe concussion can last for weeks. Symptoms like dizziness and vertigo, headaches, and trouble focusing your eyes can stay with you long after the initial concussion.
  • Back pain — Similar to whiplash, the impact of a motor vehicle accident can cause your spine to twist in severe ways, which can damage the gel-like discs that are between each vertebra. When spinal discs are damaged, the nearby nerves can become pressed against, causing radiating pain in the lower back and sometimes into the buttocks and legs.

A physical therapist is able to treat most types of orthopedic injuries, including severe bruising after an accident. You can schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist to determine the best treatment options for your particular injuries. 

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact our team at Lattimore Physical Therapy today. We can get you on the schedule and help you back on your feet as soon as possible. Check out our locations page to find a clinic near you, or request an appointment online. We are here to help you find relief from your auto accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a health care profession that involves evaluating, diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The goal of physical therapy is to focus on movement in order to restore function, minimize pain and improve an individual’s quality of life. Physical therapists often utilize treatment modalities such as therapeutic exercise, soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and other treatments to help achieve these goals.  

Do I Need a Referral?

The state of New York has “direct access” to physical therapy, which means that patients are not legally required to have a physician’s referral to see a physical therapist. However, some insurances may require patients to have a referral or authorization before they will approve payment. Be sure to contact your insurance company beforehand and determine the process that they require.

It’s important to know that if you are under the care of a physician and require physical therapy treatment, you have the freedom to choose your own physical therapy clinic.

Do You Accept My Insurance?

We accept most major insurance coverages. Some of those we accept include Tricare, Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and workers’ compensation. If you don’t see your insurance company listed above, reach out to us and we’ll let you know if we accept yours. At the time of scheduling your first appointment, we request that you provide us your insurance information so that we may verify your benefits and coverage.  

How Can I Pay for Treatment?

We accept payment via cash, check, flex spending card, and debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard and Discover). Payment is expected at the time of treatment and typically required during check-in. If you have insurance coverage, there may be a deductible or copay required. 

Before your first visit, we will contact your insurance company to verify your benefits for physical therapy. Some insurance providers have restrictions on specific treatments. As a courtesy, Lattimore Physical Therapy files with your primary insurance as well as any secondary coverage. You will be billed for any cost share (if applicable) after your insurance has paid their portion. 

What Should I Expect During My First Visit?

During your initial visit, your physical therapist will provide you with a thorough 45-minute to one-hour evaluation in a private room. Please be prepared to discuss your needs, your pain, and any lack of mobility or function that you currently have. This evaluation will involve certain range-of-motion, postural and strength tests to help your physical therapist develop a plan unique to you and your condition.Treatment for your injury will begin on the day of your initial visit.  

How Should I Dress?

You should wear loose-fitting clothing during each session with us. Loose-fitting clothing helps us access and move the areas of the body that are being treated. If you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice. For low back problems, a loose-fitting shirt and pants are the best go-tos.

Do I Need to Bring Any MRIs or X-rays That I Have?

Please bring any relevant MRI or X-ray interpretation reports from your physician’s office. However, since X-rays and MRIs aren’t always the most telling, your physical therapist will want to also take into account your medical history and other physical tests and measures. Their goal is to perform an evaluation as best they can using a thorough series of processes.

How Many Visits Will I Need?

The number of visits necessary to complete treatment varies from patient to patient. Some patients only undergo a couple of sessions, while others need several months of care. It most often depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairment(s), your past medical history and other similar factors. You will also be reevaluated on a monthly basis. Each time you visit your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our professional recommendations.

Can I Bring My Child With Me to My Appointments?

Yes! Our policy allows for children to accompany their parents during appointments.