Let us start with the question – what is range of motion?
Range of motion refers to the range through which a joint moves comfortably. It is the range of extension and flexion, as determined by the joint type. Other factors that determine the range of motion are tendons, regional muscles, ligaments, the physiological control of movement across the joint, and more. The range of motion is measured in degrees of a circle.
Range of motion also refers to the joint movement which includes static or passive, active or dynamic movement, or a combination of both movements. This is carried out usually to increase, preserve, and access the arc of the joint motion.
Now, measuring the range of motion is specifically important after a car accident. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the United States, more than 6 million car accidents occur each year. Out of these accidents, with at least 2.5 million rear-end crashes. This is a dangerous kind of accident, even if it is only at 5 MPH, as it leads to an injury known as whiplash. Whiplash occurs as the neck extends far beyond the normal range. Out of the many symptoms, one prominent symptom is the loss of range of motion and pain in the neck or shoulder region.
Sometimes the symptoms are not seen quickly and tend to arise after a longer period of time. Checking your range of motion after an accident can help determine if there is are further injuries in the arms, back, shoulder, or other areas.
If you experience a limited range of motion, like you can’t fully turn your head or move your arm, or turn your body without pain or discomfort, you should get treatment. These challenges may not resolve on their own and it can take chiropractic treatment, or other medical treatment to make improvements. Visiting a doctor or chiropractor for treatment immediately is highly advised. They will give you a plan to increase range of motion, and do we everything they can to get you back to the full range of motion like you could move before the accident.
Causes of Limited Range of Motion
There can be a limited range of motion due to joint problems. There may be some swelling of tissues around a joint. There could also be stiffness or pain in the muscles connected to or around a joint. You can experience a limited range of motion after a car accident for a number of reasons, including:
- muscle stiffness
- dislocation of the joints
- inflammation of the various soft tissues that surround the joint
- bone fractures
Diagnosis of Limited Range of Motion
Whenever any individual faces a problem related toa limited range of motion, it is necessary to see a chiropractor. The chiropractor will examine the condition which includes a thorough assessment ofyour joints, and muscles.
You will be asked a few questions such as:
- When did the accident occur?
- Is there any discomfort? Stiffness?
- Where exactly is the pain or discomfort?
- Are there other problems or discomfort?
The chiropractor will carry out a full evaluation to see how your muscles, your bones, and nervous system are working together. They might also schedule you for imaging, or do other tests to measure your range of motion. If you visit your primary care doctor first, they may suggest a course of physical therapy or chiropractic care which will help restore full range of motion.
Active Range of Motion
Range of motion refers to how much you can easily move your joints in various directions. There are many exercises and stretches that can help improve joint function. The goal of these exercises is to help move each joint through its total range of motion. These movements are quite effective in improving the flexibility of your joints and reducing pain. These exercises will improve your strength and balance as well. Our chiropractors can give you specific and unique stretches based on the areas you experience pain, and help you have what you need to start feeling better after a car accident.
Tips for Active Range of Motion
- Your healthcare provider might suggest some exercises. You can easily practice these exercises in the presence of your healthcare professional. This will ensure you are doing it correctly and not causing additional harm to yourself by doing it all wrong. You need to exercise daily as advised by your doctor.
- You should do all the exercises as prescribed by your chiropractor. If you struggle to remember the order we encourage you to go from head to toe. This will help you to remember the series of movements. You can start with neck stretches. Then carry out other exercises in order as you move towards the feet. You need to do exercises on one side and then repeat the exercises on another side. It’s important that you do them equally for your whale body, even if one side hurts more than another.
- When you are exercising you should move gently, slowly, and a bit smoother. You should stay away from jerky or fast motions. Do not exert or strain yourself.
- If at any point you feel pain, you should stop exercises immediately. However, you need to know that regular exercises will help in reducing the discomfort. If you have any concerns we encourage you to talk with your chiropractor and we can give you more direction and support.
Axcess Accident Center specializes in providing care after car accidents, and other injuries. Contact us immediately to set up an appointment so we can help you get on track to increase your range of motion. Remember that if you are in a car accident your insurance covers chiropractic care, under personal injury protection, so you won’t be paying out of pocket for your appointments.