If you have a serious injury, go to the emergency department. If your injury is a non-emergency, consult your family physician or walk-in physician. If your injuries are more soft tissue in nature, consult a physiotherapist. To qualify for the in-protocol programs, you must be evaluated within 10 days of the injury.
By Brian Yu BScPT, DPT
You have just completed your self-assessment and determined you have sustained an injury from the car accident. You have aches and pain which limit function but are not life threatening. You need to decide to see either a physician or a physiotherapist
Physician diagnose serious injuries and assess for signs of physical or mental trauma. Physician are able to determine if diagnostic imaging is required and coordinate referrals with medical specialists. Physician monitor for serious signs and symptoms and manage with self-care, advice, and medications when required. If you have been in a car accident, it is advised you consult your family physician.
Physiotherapist assess function. Through observation, history, and physical examinations, physiotherapists are able to determine which muscles, ligaments, joints, and nerves have been damaged or irritated. In most cases, the physiotherapist works with the family physician to facilitate the recovery process. Physiotherapist use exercise and self-care as their first line of treatment. If needed, physiotherapist will recommend active care which includes hands on techniques, modalities, and various acupuncture/needling techniques.
If you need time off work, you must be assessed by a physician. If deemed medically necessary, the physician will complete Form AB-1A Claim For Disability Benefits. Note: You will need to complete Part 1 and 2 prior to seeing the physician. Part 3 and 4 is completed by the physician and is send to your insurance company.
If you need any form of therapy, it is recommended that you are assessed by a physiotherapist. If deemed therapeutically necessary, the physiotherapy will complete Form AB-2 Treatment Plan. The physiotherapist will complete Part 3 to 6. You will need to complete Part 1,2 and 7. Depending on your findings, your treatment can be administered by a physiotherapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor.
During your recovery, you will need to see both your physician and physiotherapist on a regular basis. As a patient, it is important you understand your injuries and be an active participant. In the first 4 weeks after the accident, you will notice the most improvement. If you fail to achieve your targets during this period, your physician or physiotherapist will discuss your findings and provide specific recommendations. If you require additional information or resources, our office will be pleased to assist you if you live in the Calgary area.