Dr. Jeff J. Mollins, Brooklyn’s premier accident specialist has been diagnosing, treating, and documenting injuries sustained by accident victims for 30 years. Individuals involved in accidents (work accidents, car accidents, construction accidents, and slip and fall) often sustain soft tissue injuries. Whether they are traumatic (typically seen in high impact accidents) or overuse (often seen in work related injuries), soft tissue injuries can vary from mild to severe. This condition must be diagnosed as soon as possible. The sooner these injuries are treated, the greater the possibility they will be resolved, preventing possible dire consequences in the future.
Soft tissue injuries are trauma to any skin, muscle, tendon, or ligament in the body. These are neither fractures, injuries of hard tissue (bones), nor are these injuries to internal organs (brain, heart, stomach etc). There are two types of soft tissue injuries. Traumatic injuries (seen in accidents), where there is external force applied. The second type of soft tissue injury is called an overuse injury which is common with people who perform repetitive motion (commonly seen at the workplace).
The following are examples of traumatic soft tissue injuries:
- Contusion – A contusion is an injury to the soft tissue often produced by a blunt force such as a fall or blow. The result will be pain, swelling, and discoloration because of bleeding into the tissue.
- Sprain – This is a partial tear to a ligament and is often caused by a wrench or a twist. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists but can also occur in the neck or lower back.
- Strain – A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. This occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn. Strains are most common in lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring.
- Disc Herniation or Protrusion – This is common in traumatic accidents (often in motor vehicle accidents) where compression is placed on the spine causing the intervertebral disc to expand. Disc injury is most commonly seen in the cervical or lumbar spine. If nerve compression is involved, a herniated or protruded disc can be a serious problem.
Examples of overuse soft tissue injuries are as follows:
- Tendinitis – Is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon or the covering of a tendon (called a sheath). It is caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon. Symptoms typically include swelling and pain that worsens with activity. This type of injury is often seen with workers that perform repetitive jobs (i.e. someone who works on a computer all day may get a tendinitis in the wrist).
- Bursitis – This is an inflammation of a bursa. Repeated small stresses and overuse can cause the bursa in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, or ankle to swell. Again, common with workers performing repetitive motions. Many people experience bursitis in association with tendenitis.
Never underestimate the seriousness of a soft tissue injury. If you sustain this injury contact Dr. Mollins immediately. Dr. Mollins will take a careful concise history (which will include the mechanism of the injury). He will then perform a comprehensive physical examination which includes an orthopedic and neurological evaluation. Diagnostic testing such as general radiology and/or MRI study may be needed to provide a visual picture of the injured region. EMG/NCV testing can provide a functional evaluation if required.
Once a working diagnosis is established, Dr. Mollins will then place his patient on a comprehensive treatment regimen. Dr. Mollins will first attempt to treat the injured region conservatively (using physical therapy and/or chiropractic treatment). If that is ineffective, a more aggressive treatment may be necessary (pain management and/or surgery).
Always remember that Dr. Mollins and all of his referred medical specialist (orthopedists, neurologists, and pain management specialist) are workers compensation certified (in New York State). Any injury that occurs at work (even if it is an overuse soft tissue injury) is covered under workers compensation. This means that with ALL injuries, work related, you can receive treatment for free and be compensated for lost wages, if you are unable to work. When (and if) you return to work, treatment is still available at no cost.