In a car accident, soft tissue injuries are those involving supporting, non-bony parts of the body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This type of injury is quite common in car accidents. Often, they are present in the form of tears, sprains, strains, and general soreness.
When a car accident occurs, the impact of the crash can cause the the people inside the car to be jolted around. Hard braking and bracing against the impact lead to even more blows. The force of impact in a car accident can cause soft tissues to stretch considerably, resulting in significant damage. As a result, individuals often experience pain, swelling, bleeding, and loss of function.
Though soft tissue injuries are very common, they cannot be detected using X-rays, so they are more difficult to diagnose than hard tissue injuries affecting the bones and cartilage. Often, an individual with injuries to the tendons or ligaments will not experience symptoms for hours after a car accident. In some cases, it takes days for car accident victims to begin experiencing symptoms.
Once the symptoms begin, the car accident victim may experience persistent pain and inflammation. This is a natural result of soft tissue injury and helps to make the person aware that a body part has been damaged. The pain, however, can be significant and can stall or inhibit healing if left untreated.
One of the most common injuries of this type is whiplash, which occurs when a person in a car is hit from behind in an accidnet. In this type of collision, the head of the accident victim often snaps forward and back again. The head weighs a considerable amount, and when it snaps backward, it exerts significant force on the tissues in the neck. The resulting whiplash can lead to a range of serious conditions, including chronic pain, joint dysfunction, and herniated discs of the spine.
Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, headache, and burning sensations. Shoulder, back pain, and dizziness may be present as well. Some sufferers also report memory loss, depression, fatigue, and nervousness.