Soft tissue injuries can be the easiest type of injury to overlook after you’ve been involved in a car accident. Because they don’t involve the bones or organs, soft tissue injuries are often dismissed as minor and are simply treated with painkillers and time. Unfortunately, these injuries can be more serious than they initially appear, and can lead to chronic pain.
What is a Soft Tissue Injury?
A soft tissue injury is any damage or injury to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Estimates indicate that as many as eighty percent of people involved in car accidents suffer from soft tissue injuries. Sometimes these injuries aren’t detected right away, because they don’t show up on X-rays, and often don’t cause discomfort until some time after the accident occurs.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries to occur during a car accident is whiplash. Usually caused by a rear-end collision, whiplash is caused by the rapid jolting of the head forward, and then back. Severe soft tissue damage can result, including strains or tears to the ligaments and tendons of the neck, or even damage to the discs between the vertebrae that can cause long-term pain. Up to a third of whiplash victims report continuing neck pain as long as three years later.
Other soft tissue injuries include contusions, or bruises, as well as strains, sprains or tears to muscles or ligaments.
What Causes Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue can be easily torn or strained during a car accident, when the body automatically braces or twists in an attempt to avoid injury, or is jolted as a result of the force of the collision. A dramatic or high-speed collision isn’t necessary to cause soft tissue damage-in fact many soft tissue injuries are the result of collisions that occur at less than ten miles per hour.
Because low-impact accidents usually cause little damage to the vehicles involved, it’s easy to overlook the resulting injuries. And since soft tissue injuries are easy to miss in the first place, the problem is compounded. After any car accident, regardless of the severity, you should be evaluated by a doctor to determine the possibility of injury.
What are Some Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?
Symptoms of soft tissue injuries can manifest some time after a car accident occurs-sometimes as long as several days or a few weeks after. Even if you’ve been treated and released by paramedics or from an emergency room, you should still keep an eye out for any unusual discomfort or pain. Symptoms to be aware of include:
• Neck pain
• Sore muscles or spasms in the back
• Tingling or numbness in the extremities
• Dizziness or nausea
If you experience any of these symptoms, or any discomfort or pain after a car accident, see your doctor right away to determine if the symptoms might be due to soft tissue injury suffered during the accident. If they are, a consultation with a lawyer will help you determine the best way to pursue compensation for your injuries.