After a car accident, you might experience pain in one or both of your shoulders. It’s not uncommon to feel shoulder pain after being in a car crash, especially if one of your arms was trapped for an extended period of time. In addition to shoulder pain, you may also experience numbness, tingling, weakness, and symptoms.
If you were involved in a car accident and you’re experiencing shoulder pain afterwards, there are several ways that you can help yourself get better faster. Learn more about what causes your shoulder pain after an accident and how to deal with it.
What Causes Pain In Shoulder After Car Accident?
Shoulder injuries can occur when the shoulder is forcefully pushed out of place, causing a tear in the muscle and ligaments that support the joint. They can happen when shoulders get pinned against the seat, through rear-end collisions, or being hit by an airbag, among others. This can cause you to experience pain in the area, which is likely to last for several weeks.
Shoulder joints having the widest range of motion give them the least stability, thus are more vulnerable to injuries. The most common shoulder injuries after car accidents are rotator cuff injuries and dislocation. Other shoulder injuries include the following below.
Common Shoulder Injuries From Car Accidents
There are two types of shoulder injuries commonly sustained in car accidents: soft tissue injuries and fractures. Common shoulder injuries that occur after a car accident include the following:
- Rotator cuff tear: The rotator cuff consists of muscles that help the shoulder joint function properly. A torn rotator cuff causes pain and/or loss of mobility in the shoulder joint.
- Shoulder dislocation: The ball and socket joint are pushed out of place. A dislocated shoulder happens when one of your shoulders pops out of its socket. This can cause significant pain and make it difficult to move your arm. A dislocated shoulder is a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.
- Rotator cuff strain: Tightness or spasm in the muscles around the shoulder joint.
- Shoulder sprain: A stretching or tearing of the ligaments around the shoulder joint.
- Shoulder fracture: A break in one or both of the bones around the shoulder joint. You are most likely to experience clavicle or shoulder blade pain after a car accident due to these being vulnerable to breaks as they are close to the driver’s seat and don’t have a lot of muscle covering them.
- Shoulder Contusion: A contusion is a bruise on your shoulder. It can be caused by the impact of your car’s steering wheel, seatbelt, or seat itself.
- Whiplash: Whiplash happens when the neck over-extends back and forth due to forceful impact, causing tissue damage and swelling. The pain in the neck can radiate down the shoulders towards the arm or hand.
Auto Accident Shoulder Injury Symptoms To Look Out For
If you’ve been in a car accident, you should be on the lookout for shoulder injury symptoms, especially if you felt moderate to significant pain in your shoulders during or after the crash. Some common signs and symptoms of a shoulder injury after a car accident to look out for:
- Intense pain in one or both of your shoulders. Your discomfort may range from mild to severe.
- Tingling, numbness, or pins and needles in your shoulders or arms. This could be a sign of a nerve injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is common among people who experience shoulder pain after an auto accident.
- Weakness in your arms or hands. You might have trouble lifting or gripping heavy objects.
- A limited range of motion in one or both of your shoulders. This could be a sign of a sprained joint or frozen shoulder.
- Swelling, bruising, or other signs of trauma to your shoulders.
Shoulder Injury Treatment: What To Do With Shoulder Pain After Car Accident?
When experiencing the following shoulder pain symptoms above, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
A shoulder injury is usually diagnosed by a healthcare provider such as a doctor or chiropractor. Depending on the type of injury, an X-ray may be taken to look for any breaks or tears in the bones. An MRI scan or CT scan may also be used to get more detailed images of the injury and check for damage to nearby nerves and blood vessels.
Depending on the severity of the injury, an injured person may need to rest from activities that put too much stress on their shoulders. They may also need medical treatment including medication, physical therapy, surgery, or other treatments to help relieve pain and inflammation.
If possible, injured people should avoid activities that put too much stress on their shoulders until they have recovered fully. These tips can help you manage pain in the shoulders after an accident:
- Ice: Applying ice to the shoulder joint can help control swelling and ease pain and discomfort.
- Rest: Avoiding activities that cause pain or place excessive stress on the shoulder joint (such as heavy lifting) can help the injury to heal more quickly.
- Compression: Wearing a compression bandage can help reduce swelling and improve blood flow.
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage pain and swelling.
- Nutrition: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein can help the body to recover more quickly.
If you experience persistent pain after a shoulder injury, consider consulting with a medical professional to rule out more serious conditions such as degenerative joint disease or an infection.
How Chiropractors Help Relieve Shoulder Pain
To treat shoulder pain, chiropractors do more than spinal adjustments. They also address musculoskeletal injuries and take a deep dive to identify the root cause of your symptoms.
Car accident chiropractors provide non-invasive treatment options that could address shoulder pain after car accident injuries. From diagnosis to treatment, chiropractors take charge and make sure to deliver a personalized plan for recovery. Chiropractic care may include gentle spinal adjustments, therapeutic massage, spinal decompression therapy, and ultrasound, among others. In addition to these, chiropractors also help in preventing future injuries through stretches and conditioning exercises for faster recovery.
Shoulder pain after an accident can be debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right treatment and self-care, you can heal quickly and resume your normal activities in no time.
Our team of skilled chiropractors at Affordable Chiropractic in Killeen, Texas puts improving your overall health and quality of life as the top priority to help you back on your feet. Contact us today for a consultation to know more about how we can help manage and relieve your pain and discomfort.