Soft tissue injuries can be a pain in the neck, literally. If you have ever had whiplash from an auto accident, then you know what I am talking about. Soft tissue injuries are the result of damage to the muscles, ligaments, or tendons within the body from various types of accidents.
Some of the most common forms of this type of injury often occur from a simple accident such as an ankle sprain when twisting it during a fall, a muscle strain during a sporting event, a contusion (or bruise) from a blow or fall, or a stress fracture due to overuse of a particular part of the body.
If you have been experiencing any swelling, pain, bruising, or have lost function of a limb after a fall, accident, or strenuous and extended movement, then you might be suffering from a soft tissue injury. The good news is that it will most likely get better. The bad news, it most likely won’t be overnight.
However, there are steps you can take to better your odds for a quicker recovery than if just letting it heal on its own.
Get It Checked Out
The first thing you should do whenever there is a known injury, especially stemming from an auto accident, is to get it checked out by a physician to make sure you don’t do any further damage to the injury, as well as getting the peace of mind that there isn’t anything more serious going on.
They might want to run a couple of tests such as an x-ray to make sure the injury isn’t more severe and will send you home with some basic instructions on what to do…and not do to recover from the accident.
One of the worst things you can do to any injury is to simply ignore it and hope it goes away on its own, without any care or thought given to it. A friend of mine spoke to a couple of bankruptcy attorneys in Sacramento, CA. After speaking to her, I decided to do some research. I found that over 60% of bankruptcies stem from people suffering financially due to medical bills…some of which could have been prevented with immediate care.
However, when the injury goes uncared for, it can lead to a more serious medical problem in the future and too much time off work as a result. So, if you can take care of your injury right away, you could help ward off both physical and financial problems in the future.
If your injury starts off as a minor one, you can take some steps in making sure it stays that way. What you should do is put the RICE principle into play as soon as possible, after you first notice the injury.
What is the RICE principle?
This is one of the most recommended techniques when it comes to reducing inflammation and tending to minor injuries at home. But, it also is important, because it can help prevent unnecessary aggravation now and in the future. RICE is actually an acronym and stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
This theory is best used for injuries such as the following:
- Pulled muscle
- Soft tissue injury
- Joint aches
- Sprained ligaments
By applying this method, it will help to reduce inflammation, pain, muscular spasms, and tissue damage. It works by slowing the excess blood flow surrounding the injury and reducing any minor hemorrhaging that might happen in certain injuries.
Now, it’s just a matter of applying the principle.
It’s best to temporarily stop using the part of the body that is injured and give it a rest. Your body has the unique ability to send signals to you. One of those is pain.
If you are experiencing pain when you move, your body is simply letting you know that moving it right now is not a good idea. For example, if you have a case of whiplash from an auto accident, you might feel some pain when you move your neck. This is your body’s way of telling you to rest it and immobilize it for a while.
Immediately after the injury, an ice pack might be in order for the injured area. You can do this by placing ice in a plastic bag with a seal. I suggest wrapping this bag in a towel so that it is cold to the touch, but won’t be too harsh on the skin.
The pack should be easy to conform to the injury for maximum benefit. The easiest way to do this is to use crushed ice. However, the ice will probably melt faster if it crushed. So, keep an eye on it.
I am sure you have seen the stretch bandages that wrap around injuries. They are often used to apply pressure to the injury and immobilize it further.
Just make sure that you don’t put it on too tight. If it’s more painful with it on, or you are feeling any tingling sensation, then it’s too tight and you might be cutting off your natural blood flow.
Sit back, relax, and put your feet up. Well, if it’s afoot, ankle, or leg injury that is. Elevate whatever body part is injured to the point that it’s resting above your heart. Sometimes that is easier to do if you are lying down, to begin with, and using pillows to prop your leg or arm up.
As you can see, it’s important…but easy to take care of minor soft tissue injuries when they occur. The key thing to remember here is that you do take care of it before it gets you in trouble either physically or financially in the future.