Active rehabilitation after car accidents

Active Rehabilitation: The pain is gone but I still cannot *insert favorite physical activity*

If you have been in a car accident or are recovering from a chronic injury your goal at the time was probably pain relief. At the time, all you wanted was to be able to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and perform your routine tasks without the pain and limitation. 

With that in mind, your physician probably suggested physiotherapy services, a chiropractor, or massage. The goal? – to be free of this pain and discomfort.  

While these services target injury and facilitate healing, often they stop at functional mobility and independence. Having received these services, you are now able to perform the routine tasks- at work, school, or light domestic chores, which, let’s be honest, is great in and of itself. 

Then your brain starts to feel antsy, “Is this it? Surely, there’s got to be more to life!” 

You’re absolutely right, a mere pain-free life is hardly the destination. That was a short-sighted perspective. 

As a patient, you don’t just want to get rid of your pain. You want to do all the things that made your life fun, meaningful and even purposeful. You want to experience life beyond the mundane: home, work, groceries etc.  

You, as a human being, deserve to live life to the fullest. 

Well, ask and you shall receive, they said. Today is your lucky day. Today, you get to learn all about active rehabilitation, the answer to your secret and desperate prayers. 

What is Active Rehabilitation? 

  • As the name implies, active rehabilitation is done by you, the patient, under the supervision and guidance of a kinesiologist. In stark comparison to passive treatments like dry needling or shockwave therapy, active rehabilitation involves your active participation.  
  • It is a program that is solely focused on improving mobility and strength using guided progressive exercises that are designed specifically for your lifestyle and your individual needs. 

Active Rehabilitation after a car accident: 

  • If you’re someone who has been very independent all your adult life and you hate having to depend on someone, especially to take care of yourself, then having interventions done to you or for you can be quite disempowering. 
  • On the other hand, if you are someone who is good with asking for help and support, sometimes being autonomous can feel emboldening. 
  • Ideally, we want this balance out, we want to be able to receive support when required and be independent when it’s safe to do so. Your active rehabilitation plan fits into your recovery plan by providing that balance. 

Active rehabilitation is typically begun, either as an add on with other treatments like physiotherapy or it’s prescribed at the end an existing treatment. 

For example, if you were in a car accident and began physiotherapy immediately, a few weeks after the accident, once your pain has subsided and foundational mobility is achieved, your physiotherapist or your physician may refer you to a kinesiologist to solidify and improve movement specific to your job, home, and other recreational activities. 

Kinesiologists are exercise experts with a strong background in physiology and movement.  

  • After an injury, physiotherapists use their skills and expertise to perform assessments with a focus on reducing pain and improving foundational movement. When the pain and discomfort is out of the way, kinesiologists will work with you to create an exercise program that is not only goal oriented, but also effective, time conscious, and holistic.  
  • As you can probably infer, this exercise program is specific to your individual needs and to activities that define your routines. For example, you love playing badminton. Unfortunately, after your accident, your shoulder was hurt and needed to be in a brace for a couple of weeks. The physiotherapist may use dry needling or manual therapy techniques to reduce pain and stiffness. At this point, you may still be concerned about your ability to return to a sport you love. 
  • With your pain under control, a kinesiologist can come on board to help you build enough strength and movement. Specific targeted exercises are not just taught, but also observed and corrected as you perform them. Gradually you grow physically stronger and that brings about a boost in confidence. Soon, you return to playing badminton, essentially your pre-accident quality of life.  

What are the components of Active rehabilitation? 

Kinesiologists focus on the following domains of body mechanics. 

  • Range of Motion training 
  • Resistance training 
  • Balance and agility training 
  • Strength and endurance training 
  • Aerobic conditioning 

Prevention of injury with Active rehabilitation: 

  • An often-overlooked benefit of active rehabilitation is the prevention of injury.  
  • The vast majority of us typically go about our day without realizing our movement patterns. Sometimes we overuse a particular muscle leading to strain injuries, and we under-use other muscles leading to atrophy or tightness.  
  • In both situations, you are at risk for acute soft tissue injury or chronic postural/ergonomic pain associated changes in body.  
  • Be it after a car accident or in the case of chronic conditions, research suggests an active rehabilitation program can significantly reduce the risk of re-injury. With exercises that are specifically modified to your body type- height, weight, endurance etc., you can be sure to have greater awareness of your movement patterns and take conscious, effortful steps to change the pattern and decrease injury.  

ICBC and active rehabilitation: 

  • In BC, with the new regulation, if you have an ICBC claim number you are eligible for 12 preapproved sessions of active rehabilitation. 

At Revere, we have our in-house kinesiologists who are experienced and committed to improving your quality of life. In addition to the best physiotherapy services and active rehabilitation, we also offer clinical counselling services. 

The goal is to offer you the entire recovery package, all under one roof to make your life more convenient. Like the saying goes, around here, you’re in good hands! 

If you think you could benefit from active rehab, reach out to us at We are offering a free 10-minute consultation. Call us at (604) 566-5108   

If you feel ready, book an appointment with our kinesiologist. Share this article with friends and family who also have been in car accidents and could benefit from the best rehabilitation services at Revere Physiotherapy. 

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