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How to Treat and Manage Musculoskeletal Pain after Motor Vehicle Accident?

Mon Jan 23

Musculoskeletal pain after a motor vehicle accident (MVA) is unfortunate for many people. After a major traumatic event such as an MVA, the body can experience acute pain, stiffness and soreness, long-term chronic pain and decreased range of motion. Motor vehicle accidents can cause serious musculoskeletal pain, and it’s important to seek prompt medical attention to receive the appropriate treatment. Musculoskeletal pain can range from mild to severe and significantly impact a person’s daily activities. Fortunately, various treatments are available for managing musculoskeletal pain after a motor vehicle accident. 

Motor vehicle injury and musculoskeletal pain are two of the most common causes of disability and decreased quality of life. Motor vehicle injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to much more serious injuries such as whiplash, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. Various factors, such as prolonged sitting, repetitive motions, and improper use of muscle groups, may cause musculoskeletal pain.

The first step in managing musculoskeletal pain is determining the source and type of pain. Pain from motor vehicle accidents can be caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, or more serious conditions like fractures, herniated discs, or spinal cord injuries. It is important to get a full evaluation from a qualified doctor to identify the source of the pain and rule out more serious conditions.

Both types of injuries can severely impact an individual’s ability to work, participate in leisure activities, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This article will overview motor vehicle injury and musculoskeletal pain and discuss their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Pain identification

Once the source of the pain is identified, treatment options can be discussed with your doctor. Treatment options vary based on the severity of the injury and may include physical therapy, medication, bracing or immobilization, injections, or surgery. Physical therapy is often recommended as part of an overall treatment plan to improve mobility and strength while controlling pain levels. Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and help control spasms. In some cases, injection therapies such as epidural steroid injections may target specific areas of pain or swelling. Surgery may be recommended if non-invasive treatments are not successful in managing pain levels or if there is nerve damage due to the accident.

Physical Therapy

Therapies for managing musculoskeletal pain after a motor vehicle accident may also be beneficial for controlling symptoms and improving quality of life. Lifestyle modifications can reduce stiffness caused by spasms, and cold therapy can reduce inflammation. Gentle stretching exercises help reduce stiffness while strengthening weak muscles.

In addition to managing symptoms with therapeutic exercises and advice on activity modification, a physiotherapist may also recommend other treatment modalities such as heat or cold therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy and massage therapy. The heat helps to relax muscles and improve circulation, while cold can reduce inflammation and swelling. Ultrasound therapy produces sound waves that vibrate deep into soft tissues aiding healing. Electrotherapy delivers electrical currents into the affected area for pain relief and tissue repair. Finally, massage therapy helps to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation and relax tight muscles which can contribute to increased pain levels if left untreated.

In addition to these more traditional treatment methods, physiotherapists must recognise the psychological effects an accident can have on a person’s physical recovery. As such, they should offer emotional support and provide psychological interventions such as goal setting, relaxation techniques or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These interventions are designed to help people cope with their thoughts and feelings about their injury and adjust to move forward in their rehabilitation process without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged by their fear or anxiety surrounding their physical recovery struggles.

Alternative therapies

Alternative therapies such as massage or acupuncture have been known to relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain caused by motor vehicle accidents. Massage helps relax tense muscles while improving circulation, which helps decrease inflammation and discomfort levels. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body that trigger nerve impulses that help block the pain sensation while stimulating healing processes within the body.

Acupuncture therapy is one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese medicine and is one of the most popular alternative therapies used to treat musculoskeletal pain after an MVA. This treatment involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the release of chemicals that reduce inflammation and relax muscles. This can help to reduce pain, improve circulation, and encourage healing.

Another popular alternative therapy for musculoskeletal pain after an MVA is chiropractic care. This method focuses on correcting alignment issues in the spine and other joints to reduce stress on the musculoskeletal system. Our chiropractors in Calgary use various techniques, such as manual manipulation, mobilization, myofascial release and stretching, to restore proper alignment and reduce tension in the body.

Yoga is another therapy that can be beneficial for MVAs sufferers. By engaging in gentle stretching exercises and breathing techniques while focusing on mindfulness, yoga can help to reduce muscle tension while promoting healing and relaxation.

Finally, diet and lifestyle changes can also benefit those suffering from musculoskeletal pain after an MVA. Eating a healthy diet full of anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, lean proteins, nuts/seeds/beans/whole grains/avocado/olive oil/and fatty fish can help reduce inflammation while providing essential nutrients needed for repair and healing processes throughout the body. Additionally, engaging in moderate amounts of exercise, such as walking or swimming, can also promote increased circulation which may help alleviate some of the aches associated with MVAs.


Individuals who have experienced musculoskeletal pain following a motor vehicle accident must seek medical attention immediately to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The Port Physiotherapy and Massage is well-equipped to provide you with a range of motor vehicle accident therapy in Calgary and help you manage the pain better.

With prompt diagnosis, proper medical care, lifestyle modifications, and alternative therapies if necessary, individuals suffering from musculoskeletal pain due to a motor vehicle accident can find relief from their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.