Soft tissue injuries

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About soft tissue injuries

  • Soft tissue injuries affect muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage and include strains, sprains, bruises and tears
  • Soft tissue injuries can cause other problems such as headaches, dizziness or pain in the arm or leg
  • Unlike fractures, they don't show up on an x-ray

Soft tissue injuries can be painful and frustrating, affecting just about every aspect of your everyday life. They can make it difficult to work, to exercise and to socialise. They can affect such basic things as sitting down or getting to sleep. A side effect of such injuries can be feelings of depression and isolation as people wonder if they will ever get better.

The TAC brochure Information for people with soft tissue injuries has plenty of useful information about how to deal with your injuries, the types of services the TAC can fund and how health care professionals can help you recover faster by getting moving.

Getting better

Recovery from soft tissue injuries can depend on a number of factors, including your age, your lifestyle, your general fitness and your type of injury. There is general agreement, however, that you will get better faster if you get moving again and return to your daily activities as soon as possible.

There is a range of health care professionals who can help get you moving again. Your doctor may recommend a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath who works in your local area.

As you get moving, you may have pain at times. Not all pain is harmful, and it may help to keep moving despite it. Talk to you doctor or health care professional about ways to modify what you are doing to help you keep moving, even if there is some pain.

Remember, as you get better and get moving again you will have good days and bad days. This is normal.

Most people are much better within three months. If your injury hasn't improved within three months, talk to your doctor or health care professional about the steps you need to take to get moving again.

Handy hints for managing your injury

  • Reduce the weight in your shopping bags and always use a shopping trolley to carry bags from the supermarket to your car
  • If you are carrying shopping bags, make sure the weight is distributed evenly
  • Don't try and do all your housework at once. For example, carry two small basket-loads of washing to the line instead of one big load
  • Only lift or carry what you can manage
  • Avoid putting items on the floor that you will have to pick up later
  • Adjust your desk and chair so you are comfortable when you read, work or study
  • Don't stay in the same position for more than 20 minutes. Move about. If you work in an office, get up occasionally to stretch and walk. Do your exercises in the ad breaks when you watch TV
  • Look for opportunities to walk rather than drive. Leave the car at home and try walking to the shops, for example, or to the bus stop.

The Whiplash Evidence Based Information Resource provides evidence based information to the general public and health care professionals about whiplash and its management.

View Information for people with soft tissue injuries

Information for people with soft tissue injuries


This booklet provides information about soft tissue injuries (e.g. painful strains, sprains and bruises) and how health care professionals can help you recover faster by getting moving. As well as explaining the types of treatment and services the TAC can fund, there are handy tips about working with your therapy providers, staying motivated and measuring progress.