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Dr. Rachel BanksDec 16, 2015 12:39:43 PM5 min read

Typical Soft Tissue Injuries After A Car Accident

Soft-Tissue Injuries are quite common after you are involved in a Car Accident. The amount of trauma your body absorbs from the rapid change in direction due to a Car Accident causes a reaction in the body known as muscle splinting.

Similar to putting a splint on broken fingers, our body reacts to violent motions by shutting down certain muscle groups, our nervous system goes into a fight or flight state, and our ligaments can become more relaxed.

With these injuries, pain, swelling, bruising, and loss of function are possible. A person's range of motion can be significantly affected. The most common types of soft tissue injuries are sprains, strains, contusions, and whiplash.

Our goal in this blog post is to share with you common Soft-Tissue Injuries following an Auto Accident, natural therapies you can do at home to help, and what where you can go to get checked out by an experienced Car Accident Injury Doctor if you are still experiencing pain.

There are two categories of Soft-Tissue Injuries that occur in the body; Acute and Chronic.

  • Acute tissue-injuries immediately follow an event like a Car Wreck or Sports Injury and are the injuries this post speaks to.
  • Chronic injuries are long-lasting and can affect your Activities of Daily Living.

Typical Soft Tissue Injuries Following A Car Accident

Any injuries to the body's “soft” areas (ligaments, tendons, and muscles) are classified as soft-tissue injuries.

Soft tissue injuries can cause great pain and discomfort in the form of soreness, swelling, bruising, and stiffness. These types of injuries are common in car accidents because of the impact of the collisions between vehicles.

Common examples of soft tissue injuries include:

  • Sprains: damage to a ligament due to the overextension of a joint. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to the bone. The usual symptoms of a strain include localized pain in the area of impact, ongoing muscle spasm, muscle weakness and nerve weakness, localized swelling, inflammation, and cramping.
  • Contusions: A contusion is a bruise caused by a direct blow, crushing underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin, the bruise is a pooling of blood underneath the skin. A contusion can result from falling or being slammed into a steering wheel, console or even your seat belt during car accidents.
  • Strains: A sprain is a stretch and tear of a ligament, a strong band of connective tissue that connects the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body's joints. When a ligament is damaged in an accident, it creates a laxity or creep effect. This laxity in a joint can cause any area of your spine to move past its normal range of motion. This puts an incredible amount of stress on your vertebral discs, two types of common ligament strains after an Auto Accident are Whiplash and a Spondylolisthesis. 


Perhaps the most frequently occurring type of soft tissue injury is whiplash, especially after a car accident.

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, similar to the cracking of a whip.

This soft tissue injury is most commonly caused by rear-end car accidents.

But whiplash can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse, and other types of traumas, such as a fall. Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.

Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes chiropractic care and exercise.

However, some people may have chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications.

Signs and symptoms of the soft tissue injury whiplash usually develop within days of the injury, and may include:

  • Neck discomfort and stiffness
  • Discomfort that worsens with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or discomfort in the shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Most people who have whiplash feel better within a few weeks and don't seem to have any lasting effects from their injuries as long as they see a chiropractor after their car crash.

However, some people continue to have complications for several months or years after the car crash occurred.

It is difficult to predict how each person with whiplash injuries may recover, and that's why you should always see a chiropractor.

What Are Simple Treatments To Do Following A Car Accident?

Immediately following an accident, you should use the RICE method to take care of your injury.

The RICE method is as follows:

  • Rest. The particular area that is in pain from soft-tissue injuries should be rested, Never try to overexert yourself after a traumatic injury has occurred.
  • Ice. Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day after soft tissue injuries. Do not apply ice directly to the skin, instead, use a washcloth in between your skin and the ice.
  • Compression. To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage or have somebody else apply a gentle compression force to the area.
  • Elevation. To reduce swelling, elevate the soft tissue injuries higher than your heart while resting.

What If I Am Still Experiencing Severe Pain After the Car Accident?

Anytime you are involved in a Car Accident, you should seek Medical Attention to make sure your body is moving and operating the way it should.

If you are in Georgia or South Carolina, we invite you to any one of our Clinics.

At the Arrowhead Clinic, each new patient gets a free consultation.

During this free consultation, our expert chiropractors will complete a physical exam and a review of your medical history so they can design a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

The treatment plan may include adjustments, exercises, physical therapy, and nutritional advice that will help you make a complete recovery from your soft tissue injury.

And, if you've been involved in a car wreck, we can also refer you to a personal injury attorney that can help with your accident claim, if necessary.

Our team of Accident Injury Chiropractors and Medical Doctors have been treating Car Accident Victims for 40 years.

If you need to speak with someone about your Soft-tissue injuries, click the link below for a Free Consultation.

If you are concerned about the cost of returning your life to normal, read our blog post, How Much Does Medical Care and Legal Help Cost After a Car Accident?

Free Injury Consultation

Read our previous blog: A Team Approach to Help Car Accident Victims


Dr. Rachel Banks

Dr. Rachel Banks graduated from Jackson State University receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Pre-medicine in 1990. She then moved on to attend Life University when she was called to the healing aspects of Chiropractic care, she graduated in 1997 with a doctorate in chiropractic. She’s also a proud member of the Georgia Chiropractic Association. Dr. Banks joined the Arrowhead family in 2009 becoming the floater doctor in the Atlanta/Savannah/ Brunswick offices. Her belief and dedication to the field of chiropractic have made her an intricate part of Arrowhead Clinics. In 2016, she was asked to make a permanent move to Savannah taking over the Mall Clinic. Dr. Banks revamped the staff, implemented her own style of leadership and management and in 2018 her clinic won “The Most Goals Met” in 2017. Dr. Banks was born and raised in Atlanta and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority but enjoys living here in Savannah with her loveable furbaby - Lola.