Shoulder pain is common after a car accident. Seat belts offer safety to drivers and passengers that typically run across the front of the shoulder to the side of the hip. Certain types of car accidents may cause you to strain against the seat belt, putting pressure on your shoulder joint. You might feel sore, stiff, or even experience some mild scrapes and bruises in the shoulder area. Seat belts can’t prevent you from getting injured at all during a car accident, but they are designed to help keep you safe from some of the most traumatic car accident injuries. If you have shoulder pain after a car accident, then you may want to see a car accident doctor who can provide you with the treatment and rehabilitation necessary to alleviate your discomfort for the long term. Car accident doctors treat shoulder injuries caused by car accidents every day and can provide you with the comprehensive care you need to recover fully.
Top 5 Shoulder Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
A car accident doctor can diagnose your specific type of shoulder injury caused by the car accident. Here are the top five shoulder injuries and their typical symptoms:
Soft Tissue Injury
A soft tissue injury refers to damage that affects muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All three of these types of soft tissues work together to help the shoulder joint function properly. They also provide support and stability to the joint so you can move your arm freely. A strained muscle or torn ligament can lead to pain and swelling. You may also experience soreness and difficulty moving your arm in certain directions without pain and discomfort.
A dislocation of the shoulder joint also causes significant pain and will need to be treated right away. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, which means the arm bone has a rounded ball-like shape on top that fits into a socket at the shoulder. When you experience a shoulder dislocation, that means the top of the arm bone has shifted out of its normal place in the shoulder socket. Whether you experience a partial or full dislocation, you will likely be in a lot of pain and unable to move the arm until it is resolved.
Torn Rotator Cuff
Part of the shoulder is known as the rotator cuff and refers to a group of muscles that attach the arm bone to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff is what makes you able to lift and rotate your arm. If you tear part of the rotator cuff, then you may experience pain and even a cracking sound when you try to raise or move your arm in different directions.
A fracture is the medical word used to describe a broken bone. You may suffer a fracture to the clavicle or humerus, which can cause significant shoulder pain. The clavicle is the collarbone, and damage to this bone directly impacts the movements of the shoulder. The humerus is the arm bone that connects to the shoulder socket. Any time you experience a broken bone, it will cause pain, restricted movement, and inflammation in the area.
You may be surprised to learn that whiplash can also affect your shoulders. While typically known as an injury to the head and neck, whiplash can actually end up causing inflammation and swelling that compresses or damages nearby nerves. This can cause painful, stabbing sensations that shoot into your shoulder and down into your arm.
Treatment for Shoulder Injuries After a Car Accident
The shoulder provides the arm with a wide range of motion and is actually the most mobile joint in your whole body. That’s why you want to visit a car accident doctor who understands the complexity of the shoulder joint and can help you experience pain relief and regain the full range of motion in your shoulder. Many car accident doctors will start with non-invasive and conservative approaches to your pain before resorting to more invasive surgical procedures.
Take the necessary steps to make sure your shoulder heals properly and visit a car accident doctor as soon as possible after you’ve been in a wreck. The team of car accident doctors at Pro-Care Medical Centers works together to provide you with comprehensive care and individualized treatment plans so you can experience lasting pain relief and a full recovery.