After a car accident, you might not feel like you’re injured, but you could actually have a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries could take hours or days to reveal themselves. The area might become swelled, bruised, or painful to move after a while, and that’s when you finally know you were hurt.
Since soft tissue injuries can take days to appear, it’s best to go to a doctor immediately after the accident even if you don’t think anything is wrong. The sooner you get seen by a doctor, the sooner you can start treating your injury.
How to Treat a Soft Tissue Injury
If you sustained a soft tissue injury from a car accident, you’ll want to know how to treat it. The first step you should take should always be to go to a doctor. They will be best at helping to treat your injury. Otherwise, here are the steps you should take to treat your soft tissue injury.
- RICE protocol. For the first three days, be sure to rest, ice, compress, and elevate your injury to the best of your ability. You should ice 20 to 30 minutes every couple hours. Compression can help minimize swelling and offer support. When elevating, raise the injured area above your heart to keep swelling down.
- No HARM protocol. You should avoid heat, alcohol, running or exercise, and massages. These all can increase bleeding, swelling, and pain in the affected area.
- Physical therapy. Depending on what your doctor says, once your injury has healed enough, you can start to try to regain movement in the area. Your doctor might even give you exercises to help build back strength in the body part.
If you follow these steps, you should heal in about two to three weeks. If your injury is worse, though, it could take longer. Be sure to take your time healing because an unhealed soft tissue injury can negatively affect you for the rest of your life.
Different Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
It’s important to know what’s going on inside your body after a car accident. The better you understand your injury, the easier it is to treat it. These are the soft tissue injuries that can be caused by a car accident:
- Sprains. A sprain is when you stretch or tear a ligament, which is the soft tissue that connects bones. Sprains usually happen at joints, like wrists, ankles, or knees. Serious tears could require surgery to be repaired.
- Strains. A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, which connects muscles and bones. In a serious strain, the muscle could tear from the bone, which would require surgery.
- Whiplash. Whiplash can occur in car accidents that happen at the lowest speeds. When your neck whips quickly from one side to the other, it can injure the muscles and other tissues in your neck. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), whiplash is the most common injury from a car accident and affects nearly 75% of crash victims.
- Bruises. Bruises occur from either on forceful or repeated blows to soft tissue. Blood pools under the skin from the injury, which causes discoloration and pain. As it heals, your body reabsorbs the blood.
Symptoms of a Soft Tissue Injury
Getting examined by a doctor immediately following an accident the best way to avoid a soft tissue injury from becoming a major problem. But if you choose to wait until symptoms to appear, here’s what to look for:
- Bruising or discoloration
If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re probably trying to physically and mentally recover even though you’re worried about medical bills and taking time off work to heal. At Belsky & Horowitz, we understand how hard it can be to get back on your feet after a car accident injury. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping victims of car accidents. Contact us today so that we can start helping you.