7 Tips on Choosing a Physical Therapist After a Car Accident
Are you in need of a physical therapist?
4.4 million people in the US suffer life-changing injuries after car accidents each year. In fact, road accidents are the most common cause of death for those aged 1-54 years old in the US.
It’s more common than you might think, and if you’re injured you’ll need the right care. But finding the right physical therapist can seem daunting, you might not even what to look for.
That’s where we come in! Read on for these 7 tips for choosing a physical therapist that’s right for you.
1. Only Choose a Licensed & Qualified Physical Therapist
When you’re looking at physical therapist options this is an important check. One of the most important, in fact. Make sure the therapists you’re considering have the right licenses and relevant qualifications.
To practice, they’ll need a degree from a recognized physical therapy institute. They must also have their national licensure exam under their belt.
Make sure you ask to check these credentials to verify them for yourself. A certified physical therapist will have nothing to hide, and won’t shy away from it.
2. Make Sure You’re Researching
There are different options and specializations available at different clinics. Some will offer more sports medicine focus, others will cover back and spine issues. Some might specialize in joint replacement recovery.
Some PTs offer special skills like geriatric patient care and pediatrics. Call around and visit as many clinics as you can find that interest you in your local area. Ask them about their physical therapy experience, and what cases they treat the most.
3. Find Out the Therapist Who Will Actually Treat You
Whatever clinics you’re looking at, ask if you’ll see the same therapist each session. When it comes to recovering from injuries, consistency is vital. Especially given the importance of getting PT help after a car accident.
You should always feel like you have the full attention of your PT, they need to be present, calm, and encouraging. A PT that’s distracted with other patience and stressed will hinder your progress.
If you ever feel uncomfortable or uneasy, make sure your voice your concern. Physical therapy requires a partnership and communication between you and your PT.
It’s important to work with someone you get along with and who makes you feel comfortable. You have some responsibility in your healing process too and there will be bumps in this road.
Your chances of a full recovery are higher if you trust and have a strong relationship with your PT. To get to that point, open, honest communication is the best foundation to build on.
4. Find a Specialized Therapist
Getting an APTA Board-certified PT who specializes in your injury will be a huge benefit. Even if you’re physical therapy budget is smaller.
A lot of physical therapists will branch out into a specialized field or area of the body. Some focus on things like the back, hands, shoulder, knee, or neck.
Their practice might further specialize in fields like:
- Pre or post-op care
- Car accidents
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Sports injuries
- Neurological conditions
When you’ve been in a car accident, first find a clinic that specializes in this area. Then, chat with them and see if any of their staff specialize in your type of injury.
5. Find a Clinic That Has All the Right Equipment
You want to find a clinic with the right equipment, who’s dedicated to quality service. Most outpatient physical therapy clinics will have the basic equipment. This includes sound, electrical and thermal therapeutics.
Some offer more advanced, up-to-date equipment/exercise machines than others, so check. You also want to consider the hours of operation prospective clinics offer.
Most regimes will see you visiting the clinic at least 2-3 times a week. This routine can go on for many weeks. Most people will run a busy schedule so you need to find a clinic that offers times that suit you. Look for early/late hours or weekend spots if your schedule is already tight.
6. Make Sure Your Physical Therapist Has the Skills
The best PTs can use their hands to catalyze, mobilize and get your muscles working. Often, they can do this better than strength and stretch exercises alone.
These skills will let scar tissues heal better, and can help reduce pain and inflammation. Gentle, but powerful hands will get the best results. But you also need to get the right instructions for home exercise.
If you want to heal as well as you can, you’ll have to put some effort in outside the clinic. You must find a PT who can teach you exercises to do at home with the right techniques.
This should include:
- Online videos
- Links to online programs
- Handout sheets
These should all show you the exercises and how to do them to avoid further injury. They should also provide hands-on training to make sure you’re getting the hang of it.
7. Know What to Expect For Your First Visit
You should have a full, thorough evaluation during your first physical therapy visit. They’ll get your medical history, do a full examination to see the full extent of your injury.
They’ll find any potential problems and any limitations you have to movement and function too. At this point, they should discuss your goals and help you set realistic targets.
The plan should be solid, but it should be realistic too. It’ll take time and patience, your PT should also be realistic about the level of recovery to expect.
Choosing a Physical Therapist Made Easy
So, there you have it! Now you know these tips for choosing a physical therapist you’re on your way to the help you need.
Your recovery will be a long journey, and you deserve to have the best professionals by your side. Do your research, find licensed, specialist help and set up a meeting.
You don’t have to hire the first person or clinic you meet, but it’s important that they suit your needs and you get along. Don’t settle for anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you’re looking for physical therapy after a crash, contact us today. At CIM we’re specialist rehabilitation experts dedicated to getting you on the road to recovery.