Soft tissue injuries are the most common to happen among those injured during a vehicle crash. Unlike obvious injuries like broken bones or severe pain due to torn muscles and ligaments from something like whiplash, soft tissue injury could take a couple of days to appear, and even longer to disappear!
Right after the Accident
When recovering from physical injuries caused by a vehicle accident, less severe aches and pains will typically completely heal within the first six months or so. Many of the bruises lie deep beneath the surface of the skin and never show outward symptoms, so it’s easy to do too much too soon. It’s like the Greek sage mused about all aspects of life, “Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater.”
The best thing you can do for your body during this time is follow doctor’s orders and get enough rest. This should lead to being able to sleep through the night without waking up, returning to work or school and resuming a normal schedule, and taking up recreational duties that were set aside from the accident.
You’re Not Fine
Even if you feel okay after a car accident, get checked out by a medical professional like the ambulatory staff on the scene or the staff at your local hospital’s emergency room. Within a few days, follow up with your family doctor. Unlike those who observed you after the accident, your regular physician has a full report of your medical history.
Soft tissue injury causes you to feel aches and pains. And although you can go without treatment, it’s preferable that you get checked out by a medical professional because what you might mistake for soft tissue injury could be a symptom of some larger problem. Here are some things you might experience in the first few days after an accident.
- Feeling aches and pains from head to toe – It may be natural to wake up feeling stiff and feel better as the day goes on, but if you feel pain throughout the day or during specific ways you try to move, then that could be a problem.
- Headache that will not go away or an ongoing migraine – A persistent headache could be the sign of a bigger problem, whether it is whiplash or something else. It is important to report headaches to your doctor, especially if they are accompanied by another symptom such as blurred vision or lethargy.
- Anxiety or panic attacks – Emotional recovery from an accident is as important as physical recovery. Your doctor may need to refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or even a grief counselor if the accident took the life of another victim.
- Pains that target the neck, shoulder, and back areas – These could be clues that a bigger problem exists, like a torn muscle, ligament, or tendon. If your doctor suspects this then he may schedule X-rays or an MRI to determine the cause of your pains.
- Feelings of lethargy, weakness, or fatigue – During the first few days or while taking heavy-duty prescription painkillers as prescribed by a doctor, feeling tired and worn out is perfectly natural. But if you’re not on medication and it’s more than a couple of days after the accident, report these symptoms to your doctor so he can make a diagnosis and prescribe a plan for treating the problem.
These are all signs that someone is suffering from some type of soft tissue injury, such as sprains and strains associated with whiplash. Because these symptoms can point to other injuries and conditions as well, it’s imperative that a medical professional diagnose the real problem so you can be on the road to recovery sooner.
Extended Healing Times
While mild soft tissue injuries usually completely heal within six months after the date of the accident, more severe cases could take far longer. This is especially true if there are additional injuries to bones or of surgery was required to help repair the damage. Recovery may not happen as fast as you will like, but it happens better when you follow the plan set forth by your doctor.
During the period of recovery, starting with the first few moments of the crash, document everything. It’simportant to do this because if you’re dealing with lawyers, personal injury ones hired to represent you especially, will need all of this information in order to do the best job of getting you compensated for your pain and suffering.
Freelance writer Melissa Cameron is also a wife and a mother. Although she works from home, she always takes the opportunity to read blog articles at sites like www.bgs.com that offer tips on staying safe while driving and what to do in case of an accident. Melissa is a fitness junkie and uses yoga and healthy eating to stay in shape. In her spare time she enjoys watching movies with her family and knitting.