In Singapore, the number of traffic accidents resulting in injuries increased slightly from 8,058 cases in 2015 to 8,277 cases in 2016. These injuries can have considerable impact on quality of life, and often carry with them not just significant economic costs, but also tremendous personal and social losses. They can diminish quality of life and lead to functional and occupational activity impairments, as well as psychological problems. Fractures of the lower extremities, in particular, have a major impact on functional status and health-related quality of life.The rehabilitation phase is crucial for a good quality of life and outcome among these patients. Even if the injuries are not life threatening and do not need hospitalisation, they can still make a huge impact on the life of the injured person.
How Physiotherapy Helps
Whether someone has sustained a minor injury or multiple fractures, the objectives of physiotherapy are to enable the patient to return to normal, or desired, levels of activity and participation, and to prevent the development of chronic complaints. One common injury resulting from traffic accidents is whiplash. Caused by the sudden back and-forth motion of the head, whiplash can lead to the damage of ligaments, muscles and joints in the neck and head, thus restricting motion of that part of the body. In acute cases, early physiotherapy has been shown to reduce pain and increase cervical movement. Another common injury from road accidents is bone fractures. A bone fracture that doesn’t need surgery will require rest to heal. Depending on the location of the fracture, you will need either bed rest (vertebral fracture) or a cast (arm and leg fracture). But rest means the muscles will atrophy and the connecting joints will stiffen.
Surgeons know that the faster a person can use the affected part of their body, the smaller these negative effects will be, so they will try to create a situation where the joints have room to move and the bone can bear some weight. A stiff joint can make daily life miserable — try brushing your teeth without bending your elbow or walking without bending your knee! Exercise is key to regaining strength, coordination and range of motion. Usually, your doctor will advise you to do some exercises, and which motions you can and can’t do. But when you are experiencing pain, it is difficult to exercise on your own. How often should I do it? How far can I go? Is it normal to feel this amount of pain? To get the best outcome, you need professional guidance from a physiotherapist in this early rehabilitation period. This is crucial if you suffered multiple fractures.
Exercise and Counselling
The most important physical therapy interventions for patients suffering the consequences of an injury after an accident are counselling and exercise.Counselling involves providing support, information and advice. Exercise, when used in rehabilitation, can start with passive movements and mobilization techniques, progressing towards active movement, then strength training and functional exercises.Don’t take lightly the impacts of a road traffic injury. Make sure you achieve optimal results and consult a physiotherapist, who possesses the right knowledge and experience for such rehabilitations.
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