Understanding soft tissue injuries

Damage to soft tissues can leave people struggling with pain and other health complications.

Whether New Yorkers are in a car accident, a slip-and-fall while in a grocery store parking lot or have been struck by an object, they can suffer what is often referred to as soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries sound fairly minor but they do have the potential to lead to additional problems. Therefore, it is important for people to gain an understanding of them.

What is soft tissue?

Most people think of soft tissue as muscle, but the University of California-Davis Medical Center identifies soft tissue as the skin, tissue beneath the skin, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. These different components are responsible for the transportation of blood, feeling, movement and senses.

What are the different types of injuries that occur to soft tissue?

One of the most common types of injury under the soft tissue classification is whiplash. Whiplash is solely associated with car accidents and especially in ones where the driver's car was struck from behind. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that when people are the recipients of a jolt from the back, the neck will suddenly flex and extend, which causes damage to the muscles and other surrounding tissue.

In addition to whiplash, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that soft tissue injuries can include contusions, strains and sprains. These are categorized as acute injuries because they were caused by a traumatic event.

How are soft tissue injuries treated?

Treatment of soft tissue injuries often depends on the type of injury that has been incurred. For whiplash, people may need to wear a cervical collar to keep the neck from moving around too much. Doctors also often prescribe drugs that will keep muscles relaxed, control inflammation, decrease pain and even combat depression. In some severe cases, people may need cervical traction or physical therapy.

Other types of injuries will often require rest, compression and ice packs. Doctors may also recommend that people stay away from using the leg, arm or back for activities during the healing period.

What complications are associated with soft tissue injuries?

Soft tissue injuries that are serious in nature do pose threats to people. One of these is the failure of the renal system, which can occur with compression injuries. If the tissue injury is accompanied by an open wound, people have a higher risk of developing an infection. In cases where a large amount of tissue has suffered damage, bleeding issues are a possibility.

Some people with a whiplash injury may struggle with headaches and pain for a long time afterward. In other cases, whiplash can also include damage to discs. Spine-health states that small tears may appear in the discs or the inner core of the disc could be pushed out, coming into contact with the root of a spinal nerve. People with this condition may suffer tingling in their arm, numbness, weakness of muscles or shooting pain.

People in New York who are injured through the negligent actions of another have the legal right to pursue compensation for their medical care and other damages. They should consider meeting with an injury attorney to learn more about the process.