Aquatic Therapy: The Road to Recovery After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Your heart is racing. Your breath is short. Adrenaline is coursing through your body. In the moments after a motor vehicle accident, your first thoughts are likely, “Is everyone ok? Am I ok?” “Ok” is a relative term: every year, approximately 112,000 Canadians suffer injuries related to car accidents, 10,000 of which are considered “severe.” While regaining your “normal” can be challenging, aquatic therapy can put you on the road to recovery in a supported, safe environment.
Most Common Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Every accident is different, and a myriad of factors impact the type and severity of injury. That said, there are some injuries that are typical of a motor vehicle accident:
- Neck/back injuries
- Head/brain injury
- Broken ribs
- Herniated disc
- Knee trauma
- Ankle trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Injuries are so specific to the individual and to the type of accident. Recovery, too, is highly individualized. Every body responds differently to injury, and everyone has unique needs. Hydrathletics doesn’t treat “motor vehicle accident injuries.” We treat you.
Focus On Your Recovery
At this point, you have likely received emergency care and medical attention. Maybe your doctor recommends aquatic therapy and/or physical therapy to address ongoing symptoms, and here you are. Within reason, it is always best to treat injury sooner rather than later.
When you are coping with the aftermath of an accident and an injury, focusing on your recovery should be your number one priority. But too often, people are also dealing with insurance and doctors and questions. Hydrathletics takes care of as much of this as we can, including direct billing your insurance provider and developing a tailored plan that meets your needs. We want all of your energy directed towards recovery.
Can Aquatic Therapy Help After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Aquatic therapy is proven effective for people recovering from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. In chest-deep water, your body weight is reduced by 70%. Think about running: on land, the impact is about 2.5 – 3.5 times that of your body weight. That is a lot of force on your joints and muscles. In water, the impact is just 1 time your body weight, making running in a hydrotherapy pool equivalent to walking on land.
Further, you activate your muscles more effectively. Water is 800 times more dense than air; you’re working through resistance in all directions. For folks dealing with car accident injuries, poolwork allows them to walk (or run) unaided; the buoyancy reduces both vertical and horizontal force, so they can get active earlier and in a safe, supported environment.
Let’s say you injured your knee.
When you go to sit down, you are probably fine — until you’re about six inches from the chair. Then gravity takes over and you fall into it. In water, the lower you squat or lunge, for example, the more buoyancy you can leverage. This helps you increase your range of motion, comfortably and under your control. You take gravity out of the equation, and if you fall… well, the water has you.
In traditional manual therapy, the only way to “knock out gravity” is to lay down. But this completely changes the way the brain and muscles communicate, and it isolates joints. In a warm water environment, though, your brain follows the same patterns as it would on land as you walk, run, and work through targeted upper and lower body exercises. The difference is that you are fully supported.
The effects are not only physical. As you progress in the water, as you start to move your body the way you did pre-accident, you build confidence that will translate out of the pool as well.
Is Aquatic Therapy Right For You?
If you’ve been in an accident but aren’t sure if you need aquatic therapy, start with a consultation. In this session we will review the outlines of your coverage (remember we handle all of the billing directly with insurance companies!), and you will see a physio or athletic therapist for a one-on-one, detailed, comprehensive assessment. Head to toe, we skip nothing. Our team needs to understand the accident itself, as well as any and all symptoms you have been experiencing. For example, if you injured your hip, the pain and the problems don’t stay in the hip! You may experience issues in the lower back, knees, and/or groin. We document everything that could be problematic for you now and as your recovery progresses.
From our clinical findings, we develop targeted recommendations. Your treatment plan may involve aquatic therapy, as well as hands-on manual therapy and possibly massage therapy. Again, this depends on you and your needs. Likely, you will start off in the pool, and we’ll work towards transitioning to land as you regain strength, mobility, and balance.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, recovery should be your #1 priority. We can help. Need more information? Give us a call to discuss!