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Car Accident - What is a Strain? What is a Sprain?

Dan horowitz and dr wil origel in court

Car Accident Injuries - Sprain or Strain?

You’ve had a car accident and the emergency room doctor diagnosed you with a strain. Your friends ask, did the doctor mean sprain? What’s a strain? Are they different?

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments and capsule of a joint in the body.
A strain is an injury to muscles or tendons.

That sounds very different. Strain is more understandable. We all suffer muscle strains when we overexert. But what is an injury to a ligament? Or a capsule? A ligament is stuff that attaches a bone to another bone. It is not glue but a type of connective tissue fiber. (A tendon attaches musle to bone). A capsule is stuff. It is stuff made out of tissue and it has blood vessels. It surrounds things like joints. So a sprain seems like a bump and a strain seems like a stretch.

The good news is, the words don’t matter in most cases. The treatment is the same. Rest, protection from more injury, ice, heat/ice, compression, elevation. Whatever your doctor tells you to do or what Dr. Google tells you to do. Most of the damage is self reparable and controlling the inflammation reduces pain and may aid healing.

If you are in an accident the sudden injury is sometimes called acute soft tissue injury. Acute usually means the injury has occurred within the previous 72 hours. If you are in a car accident this time period is considered the normal range for symptoms. If you develop strain or sprain after that time period it is difficult to make an injury claim for those pains. These injuries are expected to clear up in 3 months or less. If they last longer they are called chronic. Chronic soft tissue injuries are often questioned (in terms of cause or authenticity) by insurance companies.

When a lawyer submits a strain or sprain injury claim he/she is aware that the standard symptoms of sprains and strains are:

Pain in the injured region
Swelling and/or stiffness in the injured region

The lawyer looks for functional limitations. Short term what activities were blocked? Long term (for chronic injury), what limitations exist.

At our personal injury law office we do not take remission (improvement) for granted. We also do not simply term a continuing injury as “chronic”. Our staff includes Michael Yates who is a licensed chiropractor. We want to know if there is a root cause for your injuries beyond the standard strain or sprain. We are careful and we work with your treating doctors to understand whether you have damage that may show on an MRI or X-Ray. We want to know if there is neck or back injury that is structural and not simply strain or sprain. Also, if something has torn we are concerned about scar tissue and effect on function.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have had a serious car accident, our personal injury lawyers and legal teams will provide you with expert and personal legal care. Please us. There is never a legal fee unless and until you recover.