As a Dallas personal injury lawyer, I have worked on many cases involving soft tissue injuries. So, just what is a “soft tissue injury?” In the field of personal injury, a soft tissue injury refers to those injuries involving the soft tissue structures of the body such as the muscles and ligaments. For instance, a broken bone would not be considered a soft tissue injury, whereas a neck strain would be. When someone is involved in an accident, the body experiences a series of quick and significant forces within a fraction of a second. This is commonly referred to as “whiplash.” When the body instinctively reacts to these forces, injuries may occur to the muscles and ligaments in the effected area. For instance, if you have ever been in a car accident where you were rear-ended, the head is jolted back and forth with such speed and force that the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back are stretched and strained beyond their normal limits. This causes microscopic tears in the muscles and ligaments. What the victim of this type of injury usually experiences is a deep dull pain in the area. The severity of the pain will fluctuate depending upon the seriousness of the injury.
What insurance adjusters tend to do is undermine these injuries since there are no broken bones or visible injuries that would show up on an x-ray. However, if anyone has ever experienced a serious sprain, such as an ankle sprain, then you know these injuries can be very painful and long-lasting. Some doctors might even go so far as to state that you would have been better off fracturing the ankle than straining it since the bone can heal more completely than a soft-tissue injury.
Although some of these strains can heal with rest, many require medical intervention in the form of physical therapy. This is to ensure that the soft tissue is strengthened back to its pre-accident state, and is therefore less likely to get re-injured. If the injury is not properly treated in the early stages, then the patient may continue to experience severe pain and inflammation in the area for months and even years to come.
Many of my clients have undergone treatment for soft tissue injuries. They would usually seek treatment with a chiropractor or a physical therapist. The treatment would include things such as hot and cold packs, therapeutic massage, stretching and strengthening exercises. Additional treatment methods may also include electrical muscle stimulation and even injections to the injury site. Typically, the patient would treat with more frequency at the beginning stages, and then taper off as the treatment progresses. The typical treatment time is usually between 6 and 8 weeks. Although, treatment time can vary depending on many factors such as the level of the injury and the age of the patient.