You should consider physical therapy after an injury from a car accident.
The biggest reason is you heal faster.
Physical Therapy is considered active treatment. What that means is you don’t sit there and get treated like chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, or massage; instead, you actively must stretch, and perform exercises in a controlled environment. People say it’s hard work. But with stretching and strengthening exercises, you recover faster.
Also as a result of getting stronger and more flexible, you protect against long term injury.
Often times someone will get injured, get some passive treatment, then will resume their pre-injury activity before they are fully healed. Their muscles are not elastic or strong because they have only received passive care, and they try to do a physical activity like snowboarding or playing golf and get re-injured. We see this all the time in our practice. But when you’ve done physical therapy, this prevents or protects against this type of re-injury because you have strengthened your muscles and pushed yourself in a controlled environment, and therefore know your limits.
Duty to mitigate – It is the Law
There is a jury instruction “WPI 33.01 Avoidable Consequences—Personal Injury Generally” that states in part that a person … is not liable for any damages arising after the original [injury] that is caused by failure of the injured person to exercise ordinary care to avoid or minimize such new or increased damage. What this means is you, as an injured person, have to try to get better. You can’t just sit there having done nothing to get better, and then say the person that hit you is responsible for your pain and suffering. You have to try to get better. And that means if you are in pain, you should go to the doctor. And if the doctor says try some physical therapy, you need to comply.
Physical Therapy vs. other forms of treatment as it relates to your claim
Lastly, If you were in a car accident, the accident was not your fault, and you were injured, then physical therapy is an option that you must consider. That doesn’t mean that there are not other types of treatment that are effective and helpful. There are many other types of treatment that people find helpful, including chiropractic treatment, massage, and acupuncture as some of the most popular choices. But if you don’t consider physical therapy in that mix, you are making a mistake. First, if you go to a primary care physician or a medical doctor, often times their initial treatment choice is physical therapy. It is in fact a branch of their practice. So if it’s recommended, then you should do it. Secondly, juries and insurance companies may value physical therapy over only chiropractic treatment and massage. A combination of therapy may be the best way to recover and add value, talk to your doctor!