Recovering from an accident is different from getting help with a sports injury. That’s why accident recovery requires a different approach from your PT.
If you’ve been involved in an accident at work or on the road, you may need physical therapy to get back on your feet. This isn’t quite the same as pursuing treatment after a sports injury, though.
When you’re an athlete with a torn ACL, for example, and you need help recovering from the repair, you’re in a purely medical situation. Just find out what physical therapists your insurance covers and make an appointment.
When you’re taking legal action related to injury, though, you need to factor that into your decision.
Before you settle on a physical therapist for your accident-related injury, it’s important to ask a few questions.
Talk to your prospective physical therapist’s office about these three issues before you book an appointment. That’s because who you choose can determine not just the course of your recovery, but the outcome of your legal case.
What’s Your Specialty?
When choosing a physical therapist after a car accident, you don’t want someone who is used to working with elite athletes. You want someone who is familiar with the damage a car accident can do to the body.
That’s why the first step in selecting a physical therapist is to ask prospective physical therapists about their specialization.
Physical therapists who specialize in accident-related injuries understand two key things.
First, they know what kind of exercises and bodywork you’ll need to succeed in your accident recovery and treatment.
And second, they understand how to partner with your personal injury attorney to complete necessary evaluations and paperwork for your case. Personal injury attorneys collect evidence including medical documentation in these cases, in order to maximize your payout.
What Other Treatment Will I Need For Accident Recovery?
Physical therapy is rarely the only treatment you’ll need after being involved in an accident, whether you were injured on a construction site or hit by a car while riding your bike.
What a good physical therapist can do, though, is work collaboratively with other care providers to develop a plan of treatment.
Depending on the cause of your accident, you may also need to see an orthopedist, a neurologist, or other specialists.
However, in some cases, physical therapy can prevent you from needing surgery by restoring the range of motion and minimizing post-accident damage.
Talk to your physical therapist about what other practitioners they typically collaborate with. It’s more effective to work with existing networks than to try to build a treatment team from scratch.
How Do You Deal With Long-Term Injuries?
Lasting injuries represent a vexing problem for both physical therapists and accident attorneys. And ideally, you won’t have to deal with lasting pain or restrictions.
Typically, though, it’s hard to say precisely what the outcome of physical therapy will be, especially with more serious injuries.
What your physical therapist will do, as part of evaluating your injuries, is to set short- and long-term goals.
These generally focus on functional activities, such as sitting and walking, reaching, and lifting, though the specific goals will vary by individual.
They will also ask for your input based on what restrictions you’ve noticed since your injury and what activities you hope to return to.
Be sure to ask your physical therapist the following:
- How they deal with a long-term injury, including whether they advise ongoing treatment.
- If they recommend occupational therapy.
- And if they partner with pain management.
Physical therapy isn’t meant to go on forever but rather is designed to help you accomplish certain physical goals.
You should always thoroughly screen your healthcare providers to make sure that they’re a good fit for your needs. This process is especially important when your healthcare is also entangled in the legal system.
Talk to potential therapists and trust your gut – you’ll know when you’ve found the right provider. A great PT can make a huge difference and speed up your accident recovery and treatment.