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Karl Petrie, DC, CSCS
Returning To Exercise: Athletics Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
American Health and Wellness Center
. https://www.americanhealthandwellnesscenter.com/

Returning To Exercise: Athletics Following a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you have ever been involved in a motor vehicle accident one of your main concerns may be how soon you can return to exercise and physical activity.

It is imperative to seek chiropractic care for an initial consultation, which includes a concussion, musculoskeletal, neurological, biomechanical, nutritional evaluation and examination. Your chiropractor can increase healing rate by using different modalities and techniques.

It is important to understand the stages of tissue healing because most people will return to exercise during the inflammatory phase, which can be detrimental to recovery time and cause chronic conditions down the road.

Stage I: Active Swelling

Swelling is a sign of inflammation and that it is too early to return to physical activity. Swelling occurs for 12-72 hours – motion is lost and pain increases. To minimize pain and swelling, taping techniques, grade I-II mobilizations, e-stim machine, ice packs and compression bandaging can be used.

Stage II: Passive Congestion

Fluid trapped in tissues restricts motion, causes pain and delays healing. This stage begins by the  2nd to 4th day after initial injury. To remove fluid, relieve pain and restore motion, the e-stim machine, passive stretching, joint adjustments/manipulations and soft tissue massage can be used.

Stage III: Repair

This stage begins five days after injury and scar tissue is made for up to six weeks. Keep in mind that lack of motion in joints can cause excessive scar tissue in dense patterns disrupting normal function, which later can cause issues:

1. Excess scarring

2. Chronic pain and stiffness

3. Limited range of motion

4. Poor biomechanics

5. Weak musculature and ligaments

6. Loss of normal sensation

7. Poor nutrition

8. Increased risk of re-injury

9. Accelerated degeneration

A common mistake is to stop seeking treatment once pain goes away because dysfunction can still remain. To restore normal motion, sensation, promote full healing, and relieve pain your chiropractor may use Graston® tools, cupping, acupuncture and laser therapy. Nutritional advice, programs and postural exercises are also encouraged to allow the body to heal properly.

Stage IV: Remodeling

Connective tissue remodels gives better strength and flexibility. This often takes 3-14 weeks but may take up to one year with severe injuries. Strengthening exercises help to improve or maintain motion/flexibility, restore or maintain function and reduce or prevent chronic pain from arising. Patient education will help reduce the risk of re-injury or degeneration.

Injury Prevention Is Key

One thing that can improve your recovery from an injury is a high level of conditioning prior. Being in shape reduces your risk of injury, lessens injury severity, and reduces recovery time.

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