No one leaves their home expecting to become the victim of a car accident. It only takes a moment for a car, truck or motorcycle accident to occur. Many accidents result in soft tissue injuries to the neck, back and other muscles which can take weeks or even months to fully present symptoms. This is why it is so important to visit an urgent care facility or see your primary care physician within 24 hours of a motor vehicle accident.
Soft tissue injuries are relatively common after a car accident. The forces involved in any car accident are very powerful. The body moves in many directions based upon a variety of sudden acceleration and deceleration forces, as well as side-to-side contortions. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries include damage to the discs of the neck and back, muscular injury and “whiplash,” an injury resulting from a sudden jolting of the neck.
When ligaments, tendons, muscles and discs are forced to stretch or compress during an accident the body releases endorphins and adrenaline which actually covers up the pain and soreness. This is another reason to be checked out by a physician after an accident. You may initially feel ok, but actually have severe injuries to your back and/or neck.
There are two categories of soft tissue injuries which occur during a car accident: Acute and Chronic. Acute soft tissue injuries are fairly evident in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Chronic soft tissue injuries take much more time to heal and impact your daily activities, range of motion and quality of life.
Soft tissue injuries usually result in a variety of pain and discomfort due to swelling, bruising, soreness and/or stiffness. Sprains occur when the fibrous tendons of a ligament, tendon or muscle are overextended. This can lead to muscle spasms and in some cases muscle weakness and nerve damage.
Contusions are a bruise caused by contact with the steering column, seat belts, windshield, frame supports, headrest or other physical bodies within the car.
Strains result when connective tissues are stretched to the point of tearing. These connective tissues connect bones to one another and stabilize joints. Stretched and strained soft tissue injuries result in “laxity” which allows critical support structures such as the spine and neck to move in a manner which is outside of it’s standard range of motion. This places a tremendous amount of stress upon the vertebral discs which protect your spinal cord and the vertebrae in your neck and back.
Other common issues include:
Disc herniation – A disk herniation is unfortunately one of the more common soft tissue injuries which result in car, truck, motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents. The forces of the accident compress, grind or attempt to pull the vertebrae apart resulting in mall tears or a protrusion of the inner core of the disc. When the disc’s core comes into contact with the spinal nerve roots a herniated disc is often the result. Disc herniation may take weeks or months to present after the accident. Herniation often results in sharp pain, immobilization, spasms or other symptoms such as tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
Joint dysfunction – The neck has several important joints that allow the head and torso to move freely, one of the more common issues related to whiplash is when the joints in the spine or limbs lose their normal resiliency and ability to absorb shock. This is often referred to in the medical community as joint play, possibly leading to a restricted range of movement and pain.
Spondylolisthesis – when a vertebra in your back slides forward over the bone beneath it the injury is called “Spondylolisthesis.” Spondylolisthesis usually occurs in the lumbosacral or lower spine and often results in numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in one of both of the legs.
See your primary physician or visit an urgent care within 24 hours of any car accident to be thoroughly examined and to establish a baseline of any known or unknown injuries. You may think you are “ok” but many soft tissue injuries take weeks or months to fully present symptoms. It is in the best interest of your personal health, as well as your ability to recover any future medical costs relating to injuries you suffer in a motor vehicle accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Kentucky motor vehicle accident we invite you to contact us or call for a FREE initial consultation with one of our lawyers, at (502) 583-9701. If you are too injured or unable to come to our offices we will come to you.
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