After you have been involved in a car accident, your body needs to heal. This is true whether you have sustained a significant injury like broken bones or whiplash, or whether you were lucky enough to come away with some bruises and sore muscles. After an accident, the first thing you should do is see your chiropractor to verify you have no immediate injuries. Your doctor will then probably have you rest for a short time, take an anti-inflammatory, and start with a prescribed exercise and physical therapy plan as soon as the initial pain has subsided.
What If You Have No Specific Injury?
If you just feel a little stiff, and your doctor has confirmed that you have no serious injuries, here are five quick exercises you can do after an accident to strengthen the neck, arms, legs, and hips. Repeat 10 times each in 3 repetitions of the whole cycle.
- While sitting up straight in a chair, lower the ear to one shoulder and slowly roll your head toward the opposite shoulder, tucking chin to chest as you come to center.
- Using weights or cans of soup, sit in a chair and lift weight or soup out to the side and raise to shoulder height.
- While keeping the arms at shoulder height, scissor the arms in front the chest by first bringing one arm over and then the other. Bend your elbows a bit, but do not bring your arms behind the body.
- Get down on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below the hips and legs hip width apart. While keeping your back straight (not arched) and your neck straight (not below the shoulders), lift a leg and the opposite arm straight out. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- With your hands and feet on the floor, raise your hips to form an inverted V (“downward dog” pose in yoga). Keep the spine long and neck straight.
Exercises For Specific Injuries
There are specific exercises that a physical therapist or chiropractic doctor is likely to suggest after certain types of injury. The goal is usually to promote stretching and strengthening to regain range of motion. Exercise in the healing stage is gentle so as to promote healing, as rigid muscles are more susceptible to injury. Breathing deeply while exercising brings oxygenated blood to the muscles.
- Arm fracture
- After the cast is off, grab the broken arm with the good arm and lift it above your head.
- Grab the bad arm with the good one and slowly bend it at the elbow as far as possible.
- Leg fracture
- With feet flat on the ground, step forward with on foot while keeping the other in one in place as you lunge forward.
- From a sitting position with feet flat on the floor, extend one knee out, so that it is perpendicular to the ground.
- To build muscle strength in the calf, keep both feet flat on the ground and rise to the balls of your feet and hold for 5-10 seconds.
- For strengthening the ankle, rest your ankle on the opposite knee while in a sitting position. Using both hands, gently rotate the ankle for 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other ankle.
- Hip fracture
- Lie on your back, with your legs straight up and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Move one leg to the side and return it to center position. Repeat with the other leg.
- Stand next to a chair or table for balance and move one leg as far to the side as you can. Repeat with the other leg.
- You doctor may specify neck stretches, stretching with resistance bands, and range of motion exercises rather than having you wear a neck collar until the pain subsides.
Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center Can Aid Your Recovery
While there are many exercises you can do at home after an accident to aid your recovery, it is always best to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially after you are hurt. Many accident victims come to Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center for alignments, massage, and a supervised rehabilitation program. For an evaluation, book an appointment online or call us at 816-623-3020.
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