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Top 10 Self-Assessment Tests after a Car Accident

If you have been in a car accident, it is important to assess yourself to monitor your injuries. Regular testing in the morning can assist you in making better activity decision later in the day.

By Brian Yu BScPT, DPT Self-Assessment

Following a car accident, it is normal to have pain and stiffness. For most, it is a balance of staying active and being respectful of your body. For others, body awareness is a challenge and perceived ability may be far greater than actual. 

Self-assessment is a tool where one measures their own performance. Physical outcomes can be influenced by pain, effort, and injury. The purpose of the self-assessment is not to game the test, but rather to gain feedback on what you can and cannot do. By doing the following test, you will have a pretty good picture of your functional performance.

Car Accident Self-Tests

Do the following tests.  If the test is easy, give yourself a 3 out of 3. If you cannot perform the movement due to pain or any other symptom, give yourself a 0 out of 3. If is somewhere in the middle, you got a 1. If it is almost there, but not really, you got a 2. Do not perform any tests where you feel you are unsafe.

Test performed in standing

  1. Look down to your feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Assess how far you can look down. Is it easy or hard? Where do you feel tight or weak.
  2. Look behind you in the stand position and rotate as much as possible. How far can you turn? Is it equal both ways? If it harder one direction, where does it pull the most?
  3. Raise both your arms over your head. Clap your hands over your head 10 times. Did you feel any sharp pain?
  4. Reach down to your toes with your hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Where do you feel the pull? Do you have a sharp pain on the way back up? Repeat toe touch exercise 10 times. Does it make the pain worse?
  5. Complete a squat. How far can you get? Is it ½ way or all the way? Where do you feel the tension? If there is no pain, hold the deep squat for 30 seconds and stand. Did it catch anywhere on the way back up?
  6. Lean forwards slightly like you are chopping vegetables on a counter. Hold the position for 90 seconds. Can you hold it or do you get tired?

Test performed in sitting

  1. Sit up tall in good posture. Put your hands on your head and bring your elbows back. Hold for 90 seconds. Do you have any pain or fatigue?
  2. Straighten your knee in the sitting position. Do you feel a pull? In that position, point your toes towards your nose.
  3. Cross your foot over your opposite knee. Sitting in good posture, lean forwards and bring your belly button forwards. Do you feel a pull?
  4. Slouch in the chair and try to touch your toe with your hand. Do you feel pain or pull? How far can you reach.

Interpreting your Score

If you score is 30/30, you are in great shape. If your score is less than 20/30, consult a physiotherapist. If your symptoms are less than 15/30, consult a physician.

The Twist

After completing the test, monitor your symptoms over the next 24 hours. If your symptoms increase over the next 24 hours, consult your physiotherapist. It is normal to have delayed muscles soreness if you have complete moderate activity (i.e. completed 5 km run). It is not normal to have delayed soreness with a self-assessment scan examination.

If during or after the test, you experience 10/10 pain or have atypical or referred symptoms, consult a physician and physiotherapist. If you are currently seeing a health care provider, complete the self-assessment on a daily basis to monitor your progress. If any of the tasks are difficult during the self-assessment, caution should be taken with corresponding activities.

Questions: ask@albertaPT.com

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