WHAT EXACTLY IS A SOFT TISSUE INJURY

Four most common types of soft tissue injuries
1) Sprains
2) Contusions
3) Strains
4) Whiplash

One of the most common types of injuries sustained in an auto accident is referred to as a soft tissue injury. A soft tissue injury is considered an injury to a muscle or tendon. The term “ soft“ refers to areas of the body that typically become injured after undergoing some trauma such as an auto accident or other types of personal injury accidents. When a victim is involved in a serious car accident, there is generally some type of soft tissue injury as a result. When you are involved in a car accident, your body is subjected to an extreme amount of trauma. Because of the rapid change in direction that your body undergoes and the force that is absorb by the muscles and tendons, the result is a reaction known as muscle splinting. Many people involved in automobile accidents sustain a soft tissue injury as a result of the accident. One of the most common types of injury is often referred to as whiplash. However, other injuries occur in auto accidents such as sprains, contusions, and strains. Below is the definition of each of these type of injuries.

     Whiplash— The most common occurrence of whiplash is from a forceful rear end   automobile impact. When you are involved in a collision where the vehicle is struck from the rear with great force, your neck and head move forward and back in a violent motion. The most common symptoms that we are hear from clients involved in rear and motor vehicle accidents include stiffness, neck pain, back pain, and in many instances loss of memory and concentration. Sometimes the symptoms are felt immediately following the collision. However, it is important to note that you may not feel pain at the scene of the accident and your symptoms can occur several days or a week after the accident. These type of soft tissue injuries cause pain, soreness, stiffness and swelling and sometimes even bruising. Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles involved in a serious car crashe experience pain from the violent forces involved and being thrown around the vehicle in the collision.


Sprains — a sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn and these are a common injury as a result of automobile collisions. Ligaments are a strong band of connective tissue and they connect one bone to another. Our ligaments stabilize and support the joints in our body. Often the violent forces of an automobile collision cause these to be sprained or torn.

Contusions –The word bruise is the common term for what doctors usually referred to as a contusion. Contusion injuries are often caused by a force, a direct trauma, a blow, or some type of blunt impact causing the underlying muscle fibers to be crushed. A contusion is the result of fibers and connective tissues that are under the skin to break without breaking the skin. However, this type of trauma usually causes discoloration and blood pooling in the affected area which can be seen visually as a light or dark colored bruise often even red and purple in color.

Strains — people often use the term strain and sprain interchangeably but they are different injuries. Strains are injuries to the muscles and tendons of the body. As referenced, tendons are made of fiber chords of tissue and they attach our bones to our muscles. Although strains are similar to sprains, a strain occurs when your tendons are stretched or you tear a tendon or a muscle. Strains can cause cramping, muscle weakness, pain, swelling and spasms sometimes. Although a lot of these terms are used to interchangeably these injuries are different and generally result from trauma, often trauma from car accidents.  

What should you do if you sustain soft tissue injury?

The most important thing to do when you sustain a soft injury is to seek medical attention and follow the doctor‘s advice. Often doctors will recommend several methods for pain management often referred to as the RICE method or the no HARM protocol.

RICE – this is an acronym generally used to describe a treatment protocol for soft tissue injuries.  It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Often medical providers may suggest that you take a break from your activities to rest in order to let your injury heal. Unfortunately, this is not possible for many people in the busy lives that we lead. Doctors may also recommend that ice be placed on and off the affected area in 20 minute intervals, but avoiding direct contact of ice with the skin. Many commercial ice packs can be purchased or you can put ice in a plastic bag and wrap a towel around it to avoid direct contact of the ice with your skin.

HARM- A second method of treatment for soft tissue injuries often recommended by doctors to be used within the first 48 to 72 hours of sustaining injury.  The method is also recommended to help speed recovery. The HARM method stands for heat, alcohol, re-injury, and a massage. Doctors may recommend that a patient who sustains a soft tissue injury apply heat to the injured area within 48 to 72 hours after the injury. Applying heat to the area can cause blood to flow and the swelling to decrease. Doctors may also recommend avoiding alcohol following injury because alcohol can inhibit the ability to feel and if the injury is becoming more aggravated it could increase the swelling and cause the injury to get worse.  Following an accident, like rest, doctors will advise to avoid any activities that could re-aggravate the injury and cause further damage. Finally, massaging an injured area can promote blood flow and swelling and potentially cause more damage if done too early following the injury

Although these are some at home tips to deal with the pain following an automobile crash accident, if pain persists after the first 24 hours, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq.  urge you to consult with a medical professional who can help diagnose and implement a treatment plan to speed your recovery. In addition, in the State of Nevada, you cannot make a claim for personal injuries if you did not obtain any medical care. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek medical attention to substantiate and prove the injuries that you sustained as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

Recovery time

Soft tissues can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to heal depending on your general health, prior injury status, severity of the injury, and age.  In very severe soft tissue cases, a splint or even surgery can be recommended which can take an substantially longer time to heal. Often time’s anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed to help but these are not suitable for all people.  Sometimes, injuries initially seem to present as soft tissue injuries and as time goes on and they do not heal. In those cases, additional medical intervention is needed to determine the extent of the injury including diagnostic studies like MRI or CAT scan. At the time of the collision, the pain that you are feeling may be soft tissue or may be more extensive injuries. That is why it is extremely important to consult with a medical professional following any personal injuries sustained in an auto accident.

If you have a question regarding soft tissue injuries and/or any questions regarding any personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

         At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson offices. The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.