By Logan Quirk
The aftermath of any car accident can leave you in rough shape. Even if the accident is considered minor, you could still have a soft tissue injury.
Soft tissue injuries are no joke. Serious soft tissue injuries can render you hobbled and unable to move around. You cannot shrug off minor soft tissue injuries either because they can cause a great deal of pain.
In this article, we will talk about the different soft tissue injuries motorists may sustain from accidents. We’ll discuss their symptoms, potential long-term effects, and how we treat them. Stay tuned to learn more about the injuries and how to handle them.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries are known as such because they involve damage to blood vessels, fat, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and any other tissues around bones.
Given how many parts of the body qualify as soft tissue, it should come as no surprise that these injuries are common. We get them all the time from various activities we engage in throughout the day.
If you play sports regularly, one collision or even a sudden change of direction can lead to a soft tissue injury. Exercising carries the same risk as overexertion and can often lead to the onset of injuries.
Of course, those injuries aren’t only for active individuals.
You could also wind up injured due to the work you do. Remaining hunched over your computer all day can be bad for your body. Slouching is also regarded as a bad habit because of how it exposes the body to injury.
There’s even a chance you could end up with a soft tissue injury from sleeping. If you ended up falling asleep in an awkward position, you can count on feeling some pain in the morning.
Car accidents are also known for causing soft tissue injuries. The amount of force produced during an accident can have an enormous impact on the body. Multiple parts of your body may get injured after your involvement in a vehicular accident.
Let’s go over some of the more common soft tissue injuries people sustain from car accidents below.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are among the most common soft tissue injuries that stem from car accidents. If one of your joints hits a part of your car forcefully during the accident, you will get injured.
Sustaining a sprain or strain can be incredibly painful. Parts of your body get stretched beyond the point where they should, and that causes the injury. In some cases, the part affected may even wind up torn.
While we’re on the subject of sprains and strains, let’s take a moment to discuss how they differ from one another.
As noted by MedlinePlus, the difference between sprains and strains boils down to which body parts are affected. Sprains refer to injuries that involve the ligaments. Those ligaments are responsible for connecting tissues to bones.
Meanwhile, the strains refer to issues involving your tendons. The tendons are responsible for connecting your muscles to bones.
Regardless of whether you wind up with a sprain or strain, you can expect to experience pain and discomfort in the days to come.
The Symptoms of Sprains and Strains
When it comes to sprains, people often say that they hear a popping noise when it happens. From there, the pain will quickly settle in.
A sprained body part will also be difficult to move, and you cannot place any weight on it. Bruising and swelling are other common symptoms of sprains.
Strains pretty much register the same symptoms that sprains do. They may also feature some muscle weakness that can be frustrating to deal with.
Treatment for Sprains and Strains
Many people opt for the RICE approach when treating their sprains and strains. RICE is an acronym for resting, icing, compressing, and elevating.
Avoid using the injured body part so it gets enough rest. Icing it down will help as well. Compressing and elevating are both intended to minimize any swelling.
Although RICE can provide some form of relief, you should still see a doctor if you believe you’ve suffered from either a sprain or strain following a car accident. They may prescribe medication or other forms of treatment that could speed up your recovery.
If you suffered a complete tear of a ligament or tendon, you would likely undergo surgery to address the injury. Once you’re out of surgery, you may be looking at a long road to recovery that involves plenty of physical therapy.
Contusions are also among the injuries people may sustain in the aftermath of their involvement in a car accident. You may know contusions better as bruises.
As we noted earlier, contusions can be symptomatic of a sprain or strain. Notably, though, you could also end up with a bruise even without any ligament or tendon injury.
Bruises are common byproducts of hitting something at full force. The meaty part of your shoulder or your chest bumping into your steering wheel can lead to the formation of a nasty bruise.
It is worth noting that contusions can vary in terms of severity.
Some contusions will come and go without you even noticing. That’s especially true if they show up on body parts you don’t always look at.
Other bruises are more severe. They cause more pain, and they will linger for a longer time.
The Symptoms of Contusions
Contusions are distinctive. You may have heard of the expression “black and blue” before. That’s a reference to how bruises often appear as either dark blue or black.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, discoloration can be blood pooling around the damaged tissue. The discoloration may also be ruptured blood vessels.
Pooling blood can also lead to the formation of a hematoma.
Bruises feel tender to the touch. Pressing down even slightly on a contusion and you may feel a sharp pain.
The emergence of a contusion can also impact how you can use the affected part of your body. Parts of your body may be harder to move around, and they may even swell. Contusions can also weaken muscles temporarily.
Treatment for Contusions
Similar to sprains and strains, you can treat contusions with the RICE approach. However, since some bruises appear on parts of the body, such as the chest, compression and elevation may not be possible. Resting and icing will still help, though.
If the bruises aren’t going away, you should go to the doctor. There may be a more serious issue that’s causing the bruising. They may prescribe you certain drugs that will help get rid of them.
As for hematomas, the bad ones don’t go away easily. Your doctor may surgically drain the fluid buildup in that part of your body to eliminate the hematoma.
Whiplash occurs when your neck moves back and forth rapidly due to an external force. It’s a violent motion that can be painful at the moment and leave behind uncomfortable symptoms.
The dangerous act of tailgating is a common cause of whiplash. The force from the car hitting the back of your vehicle can often cause your neck to move dangerously and become vulnerable.
The Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash has a more diverse collection of symptoms compared to sprains, strains, and contusions because it affects the head and neck area. People suffering from whiplash may experience both physical and cognitive symptoms.
In terms of physical symptoms, whiplash can cause a great deal of neck pain. The mere act of trying to move your neck from side to side could be too painful to bear. Some affected individuals may be unable to move their necks altogether due to the stiffness brought about by the injury.
The pain and discomfort will not remain localized to the head and neck area. You may also feel weakness in your shoulders and upper back due to the lingering effects of whiplash.
The injury can also cause you to feel a tingling sensation in your extremities. If not that, you may experience numbness instead.
Other known physical symptoms of whiplash include fatigue, blurred vision, tinnitus, and headaches that seem to come from the base of your skull, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The cognitive symptoms from a whiplash injury can also be severe.
You may soon become more irritable and encounter difficulty concentrating on anything. Going to sleep may also prove to be a challenge due to this injury.
Some individuals may also suffer from memory issues and depression as a result of whiplash.
Treatment for Whiplash
You cannot take any whiplash injury lightly. As soon as you feel any discomfort in your neck, go to the doctor immediately.
It’s still a good idea to visit the doctor even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms right after the accident. Some symptoms take longer to make their presence felt. The examinations performed on you could help identify potential issues sooner.
If you’re experiencing pain whenever you move your neck, you may receive a foam collar. The collar will stabilize your neck and minimize the amount of pain.
Resting is also essential for this injury. Hopefully, you can get someone to line up your mattress and pillows properly, so your neck receives ample support.
Different medications may also help individuals suffering from a whiplash injury. You may receive painkillers and muscle relaxants to alleviate the discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-depressants to address the cognitive symptoms you’re experiencing.
When the pain subsides, you may need to start exercising your neck to restore its range of motion. Rotating your neck is a good form of exercise for that purpose. Rolling your shoulders should also help.
Those who have suffered a severe whiplash injury may need a different recovery plan. They may undergo physical therapy to become pain-free and restore range of motion.
What to Do if You Sustained Soft Tissue Injuries from a Car Accident
Make it a point to pay a visit to the doctor after being involved in a car accident. A lot of people don’t like going to the doctor, but it’s a necessity in this scenario.
Along with treating your injuries, your visit to the doctor may also prove crucial when the time comes for you to seek compensation. The doctor’s diagnosis is evidence you can use if you’re filing a claim against your insurer or if you’re moving forward with a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.
It’s also important to get a doctor involved because some soft injuries are hard to prove. The other party could state that the symptoms you’re dealing with now are caused by something else. They may claim that the accident has nothing to do with your symptoms.
With your doctor’s backing, you can respond to those claims better.
This is also a good time to start looking for a personal injury lawyer. Make sure you partner with an experienced personal injury lawyer. An experienced lawyer can make a compelling case on your behalf because they’ve likely worked with similar clients in the past.
The assistance provided by a skilled and experienced lawyer in the aftermath of a car accident is essential. Feel free to reach out to us at the Quirk Law Group if you need expert representation in your personal injury case. We will work with you to ensure that you receive fair compensation for all your soft tissue injuries.