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How Long Should You Go To Physical Therapy After A Car Accident?

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A car accident can cause severe bones, muscles, internal organs, and other soft tissues. Physical therapy may be able to help relieve pain and get you back to living your life again. You can see a car accident injury doctor in New York or New Jersey for a referral to a physical therapist, or you can see the therapist directly, at least for a limited time. As a result, you may see a faster recovery and improved function. You may achieve effective pain management without the need for opioid medications and potentially avoid surgery altogether.

Physical therapy for accident victims is a process that can take some time. Your treatment plan is based on specific injuries, so it is hard to predict exactly how long it will take. The following factors influence the overall treatment time.

1. Your Past Medical History

Injuries or illnesses you have had in the past can affect the treatment you receive today for your car accident injury. Your physical therapist will ask specific questions about past injuries you have had, such as whether they were in the same area and how long ago they occurred.

If you had a recent injury and pain in the same area affected by the car accident, the previous injury might not have healed completely before the new one. This can complicate your treatment plan, and you may have to spend more time in physical therapy as a result. On the other hand, if the previous injury was quite a long time ago, you may have developed scar tissue. This can impede the healing of your current injury, and the therapist will have to deal with it before treating your new car accident injury, thus extending the amount of time you must spend in therapy.

2. Your Treatment Goals

During your first session, your physical therapist will assess your car accident injuries and ask you what you want to achieve from treatment and restore your pre-accident overall level of health. Based on the initial assessment, your therapist will work with you to set realistic treatment goals. Examples of physical therapy goals include increasing strength by a certain amount or achieving a full active range of motion.  Your therapist will help you make your goals specific and measurable, so you will know when you have reached them.

If your goal is not realistic, your therapist will tell you so and help you modify it to achieve it. The farther away you are from your goals at the beginning of treatment, the longer you may have to remain in physical therapy to achieve them.

3. The Type and Severity of Your Injury

The more severe your motor vehicle accident injury is, i.e., the more damage has been done to your body in the collision, the longer you will probably have to spend in physical therapy trying to heal it. However, different types of injuries may not take the same amount of time to heal, even if the severity is comparable.

Whiplash is a common injury occurring in an auto accident. The force of the collision can cause your head to jerk around, which can stretch and tear the neck’s soft tissues. A relatively severe whiplash injury may require physical therapy and take several weeks or several months to heal. A bone fracture may be relatively minor, but you may not be able to begin physical therapy until the bones have knit together sufficiently to prevent further injury. So you may have to have a month or two of physical therapy on top of the six to eight weeks it takes to heal your fracture.

In New Jersey, you have direct access to a physical therapist for up to 30 days. In New York, it is 30 days or 10 visits, whichever comes first. After that time, you can still receive therapy, but first, you have to get a doctor’s referral. Accident Help Zone can help you find a doctor or physical therapist to treat car accident injuries. Our auto injury doctors and physical therapists accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation and no-fault insurance. Contact us today!