Until your doctor gives the green light, rest and relax after a serious car accident. Your body needs the time to heal. Ask the doctor about safely adding some gentle exercises one to three days after an accident. If you suffered bleeding wounds as a result of a serious accident, do not exercise until the bleeding stops. Your doctor or physiotherapist must gauge the body’s inflammation response to determine the right exercise program. Most internal medicine, osteopaths and physiotherapists agree that resuming ‘workouts’ immediately after a car accident can derail recovery. Avoid weight lifting, yoga class, dance or Pilates-type stretching now. If possible, avoid lifting groceries, a toddler or anything at home. Use small, gradual steps to support recovery. Some of the ways to help yourself heal after a serious car accident, include:
“Sing.” The shock of a car accident causes most people to emit gasps or cries. The car’s shoulder harness compresses the chest to keep the body and its vital organs from moving into the steering column at high speeds. Your body’s response to a car accident causes your chest and diaphragm to tighten. You’re probably quite sore and tired from the exertion! Take a moment to express gratitude for survival by singing a song. The act of singing also exercises the diaphragm, and helps to bring healing oxygen into the lungs. Alternatively, try resting on your back with hands and arms at rest across the abdomen. Take slow, even breaths–in and out–and push air against your hands. Perform this soothing exercise for one to five minutes a day while you’re recovering.
Walk, according to your doctor’s instructions. As long as your doctor or osteopathic physician approves, take short walks to speed physical recovery after an accident. Again, unless you’re cleared to do so, don’t walk without your physical therapist’s supervision. She will identify a safe, flat surface for the walk. Wear a pair of supportive, sturdy shoes as recommended by your doctor or PT. Call the doctor if a short walk causes any pain. To get your body accustomed to moving again, even a walk of just a minute or two will help get you back on sound footing.
Physiotherapist-approved stretching exercises. Many patients benefit from gentle stretch techniques after a car accident. The purpose of stretching is to keep scar tissue from forming as the body heals. Proper stretching can also aid pain management. Don’t stretch if your doctor or physiotherapist vetoes the idea. Some exercises may cause mild discomfort, but they should not cause frank pain.
Guided aqua therapy exercise. Walking or performing exercises in a pool can help injured patients to recover. Water takes the weight off injured joints, muscles and ligaments. Don’t attempt aqua therapy without the PT. The physical therapist may walk arm-in-arm with you in the pool. As your therapist about whether ice or heat, or ice and heat, can help your injuries heal, especially after any exercise regimen.
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