Understanding Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

The moments following a motor vehicle accident can feel like a blur. The sudden impact, the confusion, the fear—it can be a very scary and frustrating experience.

What’s worse is the aftermath: the pain and the struggle to perform everyday tasks that were once second nature.

We at Coeur Physiotherapy understand this pain. We empathize with the frustration you feel when simple tasks like reaching for a cup in the cupboard or walking to the mailbox become arduous. Our goal is to alleviate that pain and restore your normal function.

What Causes Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries?

Motor vehicle accident injuries occur when the force of the collision impacts the body. This sudden impact can cause a range of injuries, from whiplash to fractures to more severe traumatic brain injuries.

Your vehicle’s speed, the angle of impact, and whether or not you’re wearing a seatbelt can all influence the severity of your injuries.

The most common type of injury from a motor vehicle accident is soft tissue damage, which can include injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This can result from the sudden force exerted on your body during the crash.

Symptoms of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

The symptoms of motor vehicle accident injuries can vary widely, depending on the type and severity of the injury. For example, some may feel immediate pain, while others may not notice symptoms until days or weeks after the accident.

Common symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected area. You may also experience decreased range of motion, trouble sleeping due to discomfort, and, in some cases, numbness or tingling.

It’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if you feel fine initially—some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Common Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries


Whiplash is one of the most common injuries following a motor vehicle accident. It happens when the head is suddenly and forcefully jerked back and forth, causing damage to the neck’s soft tissues.

Strains and Sprains

The fast motion of a car accident can lead to many of the different muscles, tendons, and ligaments experiencing an injury.  Common examples include shoulder and wrist injuries from bracing against the steering wheel or strain to the ankle, knee, or hip from jamming on the brake pedal or from impact in the accident.


The impact of a car crash can cause fractures in various parts of the body. The most common are fractures to the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur if your head hits an object, like the steering wheel or window, or sometimes just from the sudden motion of the accident. Symptoms can range from mild concussions to more severe brain injury.

Psychological Injuries

Car accidents can also lead to psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur if your head hits an object, like the steering wheel or window, or sometimes just from the sudden motion of the accident. Symptoms can range from mild concussions to more severe brain injury.

How to Treat Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in treating motor vehicle accident injuries. By assessing your condition and creating a personalized treatment plan, our therapists can help restore mobility, reduce pain, and speed up recovery time.

Your treatment may involve exercises to improve strength and flexibility, manual therapy to improve your ease of movement, acupuncture or electrotherapy modalities to help with pain, and education to prevent further injury and get you back to living your life.

Some helpful resources for you

Alberta Insurance – What to do when you’ve been injured in a car accident

My Whiplash Navigator – A helpful site with information to help you manage your symptoms

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, even minor car accidents can cause serious injuries. Symptoms might not appear immediately but can develop over time. Therefore, it is essential to get checked by a healthcare professional after any car accident.

The recovery time after a car accident varies depending on the severity of the injuries. While minor injuries may take a few weeks to heal, more serious ones can take months or even years.

It’s recommended to seek physiotherapy as soon as possible after a car accident. Early intervention can help speed up the recovery process and prevent long-term complications.

The type of therapy needed will depend on the injuries sustained. For example, you might require a combination of physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care.

Physiotherapy can help manage pain, restore mobility, enhance muscle strength and flexibility, and improve overall function.

Your Next Steps

At Coeur Physiotherapy, our team of experts is ready to help you navigate your recovery from motor vehicle accident injuries.

Our personalized approach ensures you receive treatment tailored to your needs and injuries.

Take the first step towards recovery today—book an appointment online or call us at 587-200-8992.

What Our clients say