Most Common Injuries After a Car Accident, and How to Treat Them With Physiotherapy

Car accidents in Canada are increasing at a rapid rate, which has raised concern among Canadian drivers. Injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are common and can cause serious problems for victims.

When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, the first thing you should do is call 911. If anyone is seriously injured, emergency medical care is critical.

The Most Common Injuries’ associated with a Motor Vehicle Accident:

Getting into a motor vehicle accident can be a major ordeal, both physically and emotionally. It’s important to know what types of injuries are common in these incidents, so you can look out for them and get prompt treatment for them. Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents can vary greatly depending on the severity of the crash.

The most common injury associated with motor vehicle accidents is Whiplash. Whiplash is a medical term for neck injuries caused by vehicle collisions. Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms in the neck and upper back.

Description: A whiplash injury occurs when the head suddenly moves backward, forward, or to either side. The sharp and sudden movement causes damage to the ligaments and tendons that support the spine and muscles & bones of the neck. A whiplash injury may be caused by an impact on your vehicle or another vehicle, such as a rear-end collision. Whiplash isn’t typically a “one-time” injury that heals on its own or goes away over time, it can cause chronic problems if does not get treated on time. So even if the accident was minor, anyone should go see a healthcare provider and get whiplash assessed.

Symptoms of whiplash include:

These are the most common symptoms after a whiplash but there can be other symptoms also present.

  • Headache – This can be a sharp, piercing pain that may be worse when you turn your head or move suddenly or even at rest
  • Muscle stiffness – Soreness in your neck, shoulders, upper back, and back that gets worse when you move
  • Nausea – Many people who have whiplash experience nausea or feel nauseated
  • Dizziness or balance problems – The sudden jerking motion of your head can cause dizziness or make you feel unsteady
  • Neck pain – It may manifest as stiffness, muscle aches, pain when rotating and moving your head in any direction
  • Arm pain — If the arm is injured as well, this can be tenderness, weakness, and sometimes there can be radiating pain down the arm which might be coming from the neck

Physiotherapy after a Motor Vehicle accident:

Although minor whiplash typically resolves on its own with rest and time, physiotherapy care may help reduce soreness and speed up the healing process. Physiotherapists are trained to provide safe, drug-free treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate whiplash injuries.

Physiotherapy is one of the most important parts of recovery from a motor vehicle accident. The goals of physiotherapy treatment are to reduce pain, improve mobility, regain strength and coordination, restore function prevent additional injuries, and reduce the chance of long-term problems.

The aim is to help you recover as quickly and fully as possible after any type of car crash. Treatment can start immediately after the accident as it’s necessary to prevent further injury or permanent disability. You should be checked by a doctor if you have any physical problems right after the crash, even if they seem minor at first.

A physiotherapist will assess your injuries to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you depending on your circumstances and injury. Depending on the assessment findings, the physiotherapy treatment will include a combination of the following treatments:

  • Education on the condition
  • Home care advice
  • Manual therapy for joint restrictions
  • Soft-tissue mobilization to decrease the muscle tightness and stiffness
  • Rehabilitation exercises to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance
  • Modalities such as Class 4 Laser to help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Functional Dry Needling to reduce muscle tightness

If you think you may have sustained an injury to any part of your body following an accident we suggest you make an appointment with one of Calgary Physiotherapists as soon as possible. Our Physiotherapists are trained in class 4 laser therapy, manual therapy techniques, and rehabilitation exercises.

Please book an appointment today with Encompass Sports Therapy at our SW or SE Calgary locations to get assessed and treated for motor vehicle accident-related injuries. Call us or book an appointment online at