Soft tissue injuries can happen from all kinds of accidents. When you experience one, you could feel like you’ll never recover, and like this is your life from now on. But the good part about soft tissue injuries is that though they might take a long time to heal, they are usually able to heal on their own and do not require surgery.
Whether you got a soft tissue injury from an accident with another car, a truck, on a motorcycle, in the workplace, or from a defective product like an airbag, you are probably wondering when the injury will heal so that your life can feel like it’s back to normal. At McMath Woods, P.A., our Little Rock personal injury lawyer will be able to help you through this hard time and recover compensation for your damages. Let’s take a look at soft tissue injuries and how long they can take to heal.
What Is a Soft Tissue Injury?
When you get hurt in an accident, sometimes you don’t break any bones, but you harm the tissues that connect your bones and muscles, which is called a soft tissue injury. Even though these usually aren’t visible from the outside, and sometimes don’t show up on X-rays or other imaging, that doesn’t make them any less painful or necessary to recover. Sometimes they can take even longer to heal than a broken bone would.
Here are some examples of soft tissue injuries, as described by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
- Sprain. A sprain is when a ligament stretches or tears. A ligament connects bones to other bones and stabilizes joints.
- Strain. Similar to a sprain, a strain is when a tendon or muscle stretches or tears. Tendons attach muscles to bones and assist with movement.
- Contusion. Otherwise known as bruises, contusions are when muscle fibers or connective tissues are crushed, and blood comes out of the vessels and pools under the skin.
- Whiplash. This injury is in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck, and is caused by the head whipping quickly from one side to another. If left untreated, it can cause bigger problems that spread to the head and back.
Since we looked at the potential soft tissue injuries you’re facing from an accident, let’s look at how to properly recover from them.
What Is the Recovery Like?
Depending on where and how severe your soft tissue injury is, it could take days, weeks, or months to heal. And if you aren’t following the proper instructions for your healing, the pain could last even longer than that. If you need surgery, your healing regimen might look a little different from this, but most soft tissue injuries can heal through the RICE method. As recommended by UPMC, RICE entails:
- Rest. With mild soft tissue injuries, you should rest for the first 48 hours after the injury. If the pain persists or if it is a more severe injury, you might have to rest for longer.
- Ice. To keep swelling down, you should ice the area for 20 minutes at a time every 4 hours for the first 48 hours after injury.
- Compression. If possible, wrap the injury snugly with a medical bandage, but not so snug that circulation is cut off to the area. If you find that you still need the wrap after 72 hours, the injury could be more severe than originally thought.
- Elevation. Finally, if possible, you should elevate the injured body part above heart level. This keeps excessive blood and other fluids from the area and reduces swelling.
With injuries like whiplash, though, your recovery process might not follow this entire method. You’ll likely need to rest and use ice or heat on your injury. With all these soft tissue injuries, physical therapy can be a great tool to recover quickly and as fully as possible.
When you’ve been in an accident that causes a soft tissue injury, you might not be able to see the injury, but you can definitely feel it. Not only physically, but you might also feel financial pain from the burden, as you now have medical bills for treatment and even physical therapy. At McMath Woods, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys know that getting compensation cannot change the fact that you were injured, but it can ease the financial burdens you’re facing. Reach out to our office today if you believe you have a claim, and we can discuss your potential legal options moving forward.
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