Have you been involved in a car accident? Do you want to get back to the gym or just build up your fitness? Most injuries caused by car crashes affect the neck, back, or shoulders. Some may increase your risk of developing early onset osteoarthritis, chronic pain and other complications. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, there are various exercises you can do for muscle and strength gains.
Here are a few simple ways to build up your fitness after a car accident:
Take It Easy
Whether you're a pro athlete or a beginner, allow your body to heal before returning to your training routine. Increase workout intensity and volume gradually, engage in low impact activities, and watch for any warning signs. Cycling and swimming are recommended to those who had muscle strains. After a joint sprain, focus on rehabilitation and work out your non-injured areas. Incorporate new exercises every week. If you’ve had bone fractures, work with a physiotherapist.
Focus on Larger Muscles
Compound exercises, such as the squat, lunges, deadlifts, and shoulder press, are a better choice than isolation moves - at least for those with recent injuries. For example, you can start with exercises that target larger muscles like your chest and quads. Use machines only. As you progress, use stabilizer exercises to strengthen smaller muscles. Warm up properly before working out. Cool down after exercise. Warming up and cooling down may help reduce injuries and improve blood flow to your muscles.
Focus on Recovery
Proper recovery is just as important as training. Stretching, massage, foam rolling, and physiotherapy can help rebuild your strength. These techniques support muscle repair, increase your range of motion, and keep your bones flexible. In addition to your regular workouts, spend at last 30 minutes a day stretching your muscles. Get a massage at least three times a week to speed up healing.
“I was in a small car accident last month. It was really no big deal, I was stopped in traffic and the guy behind me was not paying attention and rear ended me going 30 miles an hour. Since then, I can’t turn my head to the right, my right arm is numb, and I can’t sleep through the night. I went to my family doctor and he eventually gave me a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory and a pain pill. I can sleep better but I hate that groggy feeling I get in the morning and to be honest, the pain is about the same. Is there anything chiropractic can do for me?”
This type of case presentation is something we see at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic all the time. Often, the treatment options offered by family doctors have side effects that can sometimes be more annoying than the condition being treated. Not only that but there may be underlying injurys as a result of the whiplash that may be creating your pain and leave you with life long disability. So the question is, “what can a chiropractor do for neck pain following a car accident?”
Neck pain following a whiplash injury is frequently caused by one or more of the 7 vertebra in the neck shifting out of alignment and literally, getting stuck – losing its ability to bend and rotate when we move our head and neck. It’s like taking one worker away from a group of 7 and asking the remaining 6 workers to do the same amount of work. This leads to all kinds of over-compensation in the other 6 vertebrae and can even alter function in the mid-back, as well. Depending on which nerve(s) get irritated, problems can include headaches, shoulder blade pain, arm pain, numbness and/or weakness. Another common problem that occurs when neck pain is present are muscle spasms in the neck area. This is due to a reflex reaction where the brain receives the pain signals from the neck and in response, sends signals back to the muscles to tighten in attempt to protect the problem. This becomes a “vicious cycle” and may continue until the joint is unlocked or released, which is the purpose of the chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic treatment for whiplash injuries works great because we are using a physical (not a chemical) form of treatment to unlock the joint, which in turns shuts off the signals from the joint to the brain and in turn, the protective muscle spasm discontinues. Sometimes, the improvement is immediate but more often, several treatments may be required to move the body towards healing. In general, the recovery time is shorter the closer to the time of the car accident you are treated, so obtaining an appointment immediately is wise. We can also show you methods of exercising the neck at home between treatments, which also speeds up the recovery time.
If you, a family member or a friend require care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our service. Being involved in a car accident can be a scary thing, and we appreciate everything that you are going through. We are proud that chiropractic care has consistently scored the highest level of satisfaction when compared to other forms of health care provision and we look forward in serving you and your family presently and in the future.
Dr. Michael Weir is the clinic director at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We will also be hosting a variety of relevant guest bloggers to help you understand your injuries better.