Understanding “Soft Tissue” Injuries After A Car Crash

The human body is a complex system that includes vulnerable soft tissue in muscle, fascia, tendons and ligaments. Soft tissue injuries are divided into two basic categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries.

  • Acute injuries: caused by sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist or blow to the body. Examples include contusions, sprains and strains.
  • Overuse injuries: develop gradually as a result of repetitive athletic activity or other physical activity, which does not allow the body to fully heal in between injuries. Common examples include tendonitis and bursitis.

In cases involving auto accidents, soft tissue injuries are acute. Damage to the soft tissue can cause headaches, digestive pain and visceral pain. Additionally, soft tissue injuries—bruises, muscle strains, joint and ligament sprains, damage to the fascia (connective tissue)—lead to painful symptoms like inflammation, swelling, stiffness and soreness.

Some kinds of car accidents are more likely than others to cause soft tissue injuries. For example, if you were stopped when another car slammed into your back bumper going 30 miles an hour, the impact would have violently thrown your body forward and backward. The intensity of this impact is what leads to whiplash, causing strained muscles and damaged soft tissue.

Although they come with painful and debilitating symptoms, soft tissue injuries are difficult to prove. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and other advanced medical devices can clearly substantiate a broken bone, damaged organ, brain injury and other overt medical concern. However, soft tissue injuries are not always detectable by modern imaging equipment; they often exhibit symptoms that are inconsistent; and they respond differently to treatment. For example, physical therapy may completely relieve the tension, but the pain comes roaring back days later for no discernable reason.

The cost of treatment for soft tissue injuries is likewise unpredictable. For example, one person can be treated for whiplash with just a few physical therapy appointments, rest and massage. Another person might have months or years of persistent symptoms that lead to additional complications, such as fibromyalgia.

Another common problem with substantiating soft tissue injuries is that symptoms are sometimes quite distant from the location of the injury. Some researchers have noted that muscle knots in the upper back, chest, and neck areas are symptomatic of soft tissue injuries. This is one of many reasons why soft tissue injuries are commonly misdiagnosed.

Although medical research has not yet grasped a strong understanding of soft tissue injuries, the following steps allow you to be proactive about your treatment and (hopefully) land on a method that works for you.

  1. Keep records of your treatment and all diagnostics.
  1. Seek out different types of therapy and treatment to find the best solution.
  1. Determine what causes symptoms and what alleviates pain.
  1. Don’t underestimate the long-term consequences of a soft tissue injury.

Soft tissue injuries may not appear as debilitating as, say, a broken leg, but they can cost thousands in medical bills. Knowing the complexities involved in proving a soft tissue injury, your attorney might suggest deposing an expert witness to testify to the nature and extent of your injuries.

For immediate insight into your Nebraska car accident, call Inkelaar Law to get the justice you deserve at (877) 537-4665, or visit www.JusticeYouDeserve.com.

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Written by Inkelaar Law