Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
Of the nearly 6 million motor vehicle accidents reported every year in the United States, approximately 1.6 million result in serious injuries. Many of them involve the head and back, neck, chest and other extremities. Needless to say, head injuries are among the most serious, with the threat of traumatic brain injuries, concussions, skull fractures, comas and cognitive dysfunction. Yet, back injuries, particularly spinal cord injuries, may result in extensive nerve damage or paralysis. Herniated discs, along with changes in sensation and arm or leg pain are also common.
With motor vehicle accidents, whiplash is perhaps the most well known injury. It is characterized by significant muscle and ligament damage to the cervical region of the neck from sudden, forceful movements. In turn, the force of impact can prove traumatic for the chest and torso areas. There may be broken ribs, collapsed lungs and damage to the pelvis and abdominal region. Even so, some motor vehicle accidents involve pedestrians or motorcyclists, with a significantly higher risk of injuries, including broken bones, torn ligaments and severed limbs.
Treatment and Rehabilitation for Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Given the wide range of injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents, effective treatment and rehabilitation often centers on a combination of modalities that are tailored to each individual. Assuming a multidisciplinary approach, physiatrists are best positioned to devise and manage treatment and rehabilitation in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. With knowledge and expertise concerning a multitude of conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, physiatrists are able to treat the whole person—not one area of symptom.
Without question, patients benefit from selective treatments that are tailored to their condition. For instance, suppose a patient has suffered a whiplash injury. With symptoms such as neck pain and stiffness, headache, shoulder pain, altered sensation, possible visual disturbances and difficulty swallowing, a number of systems are at play. These include muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, discs and nerves. Thus, comprehensive therapy is needed to reduce pain and inflammation safely while working to improve range of motion and resolving tension in the patient’s neural tissues.
Under the direction of a physiatrist, therapists and other medical interventionists guide patients through selective exercises and therapies. These may include:
- Ice therapy
- Low level laser therapy
- Scapular stabilization exercises
- Proprioception and balance exercises
- Bracing and splinting
- Joint mobilization
- Biomechanical analysis
- Strength and stretching
- TENS machine
- Posture and positioning training
The extent of injuries from motor vehicle accidents varies from person to person, so there is no cookie-cutter treatment protocol or standardized therapy to follow. Rather, physiatrists consult a team of trusted medical professionals, which may include physical and occupational therapists, clinicians and interventionists to administer treatment tailored to the individual’s physical, mental and emotional condition following their accident.
With a passion for empowering patients in their recovery, Howard Liss, M.D. maintains a reputation for excellence in patient care. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly today.