Ligaments, Whiplash, Sprains And Strains: What Are They?
The term “whiplash” or “soft tissue injury” has come to be almost derogatory in the world of personal injury. These are words used by insurance companies to minimize the injuries that someone in an accident sustains. You will often hear people say that someone was “lucky” because they “only” suffered a soft tissue injury.
But although whiplash certainly isn’t as serious as other kinds of injuries, it is by no means a minor injury. Whiplash and soft tissue injuries can be painful, debilitating, and can, for some people, last a lifetime.
Sprains and Strains
The term soft tissue injury refers to an injury to the ligaments, usually the ligaments in the neck area. Ligaments connect bones to each other, stabilizing our skeletal system. In the neck area, ligaments connect the bones in your cervical spine to each other, and to the skull.
When a ligament is injured, it is called a sprain. You may have also heard of sprains in the ankle area, where athletes often suffer sprained ankles. Even the notorious ACL and MCL injuries that athletes suffer, and which can require up to a year of treatment, are injuries to ligaments.
But bones don’t just connect to each other, they also connect to muscles. When you injure the ligaments that connect a muscle to a bone, you have suffered a strain.
There is little difference in the treatment between a sprain and a strain, although the location of the sprain or strain and their severity will alter the course of treatment. In many car accident cases, sprain or strain injuries are initially not diagnosed, because the typical emergency room only provides X-rays, which do not see or pick up ligament injuries, only broken bones.
There is no surgery that can effectively heal a sprain or strain injury. Usually, therapy, along with muscle relaxers can often help. Sometimes, time is all that is needed to heal. Thankfully, many people do recover, some almost completely, from whiplash type injuries. However, other people may continue to suffer some type of pain, or loss of range of motion, for many years and some will never fully recover.
Causes of Ligament Injuries
Ligament injuries are very common in car accidents. Sometimes, the immediate thrust of the body forward, leaving the head behind when a car is rear-ended, can cause sprains and strains. Shoulders, wrists, and elbows can also sustain ligament injuries when the victim tries to brace himself with an arm inside the car during a collision.
Unlike a broken bone, which likely will cause severe pain immediately, sprain strain injuries can be slow to develop. Sometimes, the victim may just feel slightly uncomfortable at first, with more severe pain developing hours or even a day or two after the accident.
Contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help. We understand what you are going through if you have been in an accident.