Shoulder Injuries From Car Accidents: Symptoms & Treatments

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Are you experiencing shoulder pain after a wreck? The best thing you can do for yourself after a car accident is to get prompt medical attention. The sooner you see a car accident doctor, the sooner you can get started on a comprehensive treatment plan that will help reduce your pain and other symptoms. Shoulder pain after a car accident can impact everyday routines and activities. Many shoulder injuries can also lead to decreased shoulder mobility, so you might find it difficult or painful to do everyday movements like raising your arm over your head. A shoulder injury from a car accident can lead to chronic pain and other issues if left untreated. Here’s everything you need to know about car accident shoulder injuries and treatment options.

What Causes Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

Shoulder injury after a car accident can range from mild to severe. You might end up with some light scrapes and bruising around your shoulder where your seat belt locked, preventing you from getting ejected from the vehicle during the crash. Minor injuries like scrapes and bruises can typically be treated by home remedies and rest after the accident. However, more serious injuries may require medical attention. If you start noticing shoulder pain after a car wreck, you want a thorough exam from a car accident doctor. In addition to getting treated as soon as possible, you can help prevent your symptoms from worsening. Shoulder pain can be caused by the pressure of your seat belt, the force of impact when the vehicles collided, or even hitting your shoulder on the window or other part of the car. Talk to your doctor about as much as you remember from the car accident and when your pain started, so they can provide you with the most accurate diagnosis and treatment options for your shoulder injury.

5 Car Accident Shoulder Injuries

Car Accident Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder is a complex joint where bones, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues come together and provide mobility to your arm. Damage to any part of the shoulder joint can lead to pain, soreness, stiffness, swelling, and other symptoms. Here are five common car accident injuries that can impact your shoulder.

Shoulder Sprain

Trauma to your shoulder from a car accident can lead to a shoulder sprain. A sprain can occur when the ligaments that connect bones in your shoulder joint become overstretched or torn. These ligaments provide stability to your shoulder joint, so a shoulder sprain can feel like your shoulder is weakened after a car accident. A shoulder sprain will typically cause more pain and stiffness when you engage in certain movements. You may also notice swelling, tenderness, and bruising around the area.


Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries and is commonly associated with neck pain. However, a whiplash injury can also impact your shoulders. When another vehicle collides with yours, the force of impact can cause your head, neck, and upper body to snap forward and backward violently. Your muscles and tendons will stretch out of their normal range of motion, which can cause tissue damage and swelling. While the damage may occur primarily in your neck muscles, nearby nerves can send tingling pain that radiates into your shoulders. You may also notice stiffness and pain when turning your head from side to side or extending your arms outward.

Torn Rotator Cuff

A sudden blow to your shoulder can also lead to a torn rotator cuff. The rotator cuff refers to four muscles that connect your arm bone to your shoulder blade. This grouping of muscles supports common movements like lifting and rotating your arm. A torn rotator cuff can make it painful or difficult to turn your shoulder a certain way. You may also notice weakness in your shoulder, especially when lifting your arm or rotating your shoulder. A torn rotator cuff can also cause a popping or cracking sensation when you try to move your arm. If you suffer a torn rotator cuff after a car accident, you may have trouble getting comfortable when lying on the injured shoulder, which can impact your sleep quality.


A shoulder dislocation can occur due to a sudden force or blow to the shoulder during a car accident. This can cause the upper arm bone, known as the humerus, to pop out of the shoulder blade socket. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, which allows for a wide range of mobility. However, as the body’s most mobile joint, it can also be easier to damage in the event of a car accident, slip and fall, or while playing sports. A shoulder dislocation will require prompt medical treatment to get the joint back into place. You should never try to resolve a dislocated shoulder on your own, as this could damage surrounding muscles, nerves, and tissues.


A fracture to one of the bones that make up the shoulder joint can severely restrict your shoulder movements. The clavicle, also known as the collarbone, is a thin bone that could break with too much force or sudden pressure on the area. A broken arm bone, known as the humerus, can occur near the shoulder joint and lead to significant pain and swelling in the area. A fracture in or near your shoulder joint will typically lead to an immediate decrease in your range of motion, or you may not be able to move the joint at all.

Chiropractic Care for Car Accident Injuries

Chiropractic Care for Car Accident Injuries

Visit a car accident doctor for any shoulder pain after a wreck and find out exactly what is causing your pain and other symptoms. A car accident chiropractor can help with a wide range of shoulder injuries. In addition to reducing your pain, a chiropractor can also help restore healthy functioning to your affected joint and support your rehabilitation and recovery process. At Pro-Care Medical Centers, our team of primary care doctors and chiropractors work together to provide you with comprehensive treatment and care after a car accident.

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