Back injuries that affect the spine and various soft tissues are common after car accidents. These injuries can be very painful, but it may be challenging to pinpoint the pain source. The anatomy of the spine is complex, and the terminology related to spine injuries can be baffling. Below we answer some of the most common questions about soft tissue and back injuries. With this information, you can communicate more effectively with your Portland car accident attorney, doctor, and insurance company.
What is a “soft tissue” injury?
A soft tissue injury is damage to your body’s soft tissues, including the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are tough, strong tissues that connect your bones to each other. Tendons are tissues that connect your muscles to bones. If a ligament is stretched too far or torn, this is a sprain. If a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn, this is a strain.
One of the most common soft tissue injuries in a car accident is whiplash. This is the stretching of ligaments and tendons in the neck when the head is whipped back and forth in the accident. This injury is painful and can be debilitating, but it cannot be seen on X-rays, so insurance companies may question the injury.
How long does it take for a soft tissue injury to heal?
A minor soft tissue injury can heal in one or two weeks, while a more serious injury can take three or four weeks. The worse types of soft tissue injuries can take months to recover. Your age, health and occupation affect recovery times.
What is a typical payout for a soft tissue injury?
Every injury is different, but many soft tissue injury cases settle for between $12,000 and $15,000. Many of these cases may deserve more pain and suffering compensation, but insurance companies are often stingy when it comes to compensation for soft tissue injuries.
What is a spinal disc?
A spinal disc is also referred to as an inter vertebral disc. It is round, flat, or oval in shape and is positioned between two vertebrae. The discs offer padding between the bones and absorb shock. All of your spinal discs have a tough membrane on the outside and a jelly-like core.
What is a “herniated” disc?
“Herniated disc” means a disc with a bulge that presses on nerves or the spinal cord. The bulge happens when the core of the disc leaks outside the disc structure. It looks like jelly oozing out of a donuts.
What is a “bulging” disc?
The term “bulging” disc means a disc that is expanded. The jelly material leaks around the disc’s circumference.
What is disc “degeneration”?
Over time, a spinal disc can break down and lose shape or height. This is often part of the aging process. An auto crash does not lead to degeneration, but the accident can lead to disc herniation and this can cause degeneration over time.
What is a facet joint injury?
A joint is the place where two bones come together. The spinal joints are known as facet joints. These joints allow the spinal bones to glide smoothly in many motions. Injuries to these joints cause the joint to become swollen, tender and stiff.
What is bursitis?
This is an inflammation of the bursa, which is a sac filled with fluid that cushions between two bones, tendons, or muscles. Bursitis can be caused by overuse of a joint or limb, but it can happen in a car accident, too.
How can a soft tissue injury cause nerve damage?
A spinal or soft tissue injury can lead to painful damage of the nerves, if swelling results from the major injury and leads to nerve compression.
What is “whiplash”?
“Whiplash” is the word that describes a neck sprain or strain that happens in a car accident in some people. The rapid deceleration causes delicate tendons and ligaments in the neck to be stretched beyond their normal range. Whiplash often causes neck pain and headaches, but it also can cause pain radiating down the back and into the limbs.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A TBI or traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain that causes physical, mental and/or emotional problems. Many car accidents involve traumatic brain injuries that come from the head striking the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield. But it is not necessary to strike your head to get a TBI.
The sudden movement of your head and neck during whiplash can make the brain hit the back and front of the skull. This motion can be bad enough to cause bruising to the brain tissue, which can make it swell or tear, too. A mild TBI may resolve in a few days or weeks. But a severe TBI can cause long-term and even permanent disability.
If you have any questions about your personal injury claim, please speak to the best car accident attorney online at The Herron Law Firm today.