Many individuals suffer shoulder pain after an automobile accident. Any trauma to the shoulder joint caused by an accident can result in different types of shoulder injuries. The most commonly reported shoulder injuries after an automobile accident are Shoulder Sprains, SLAP (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior) tears and Rotator Cuff tears.
A separated shoulder is sometimes referred to as a shoulder sprain. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is the area where the bony projection at the top of the shoulder blade meets the clavicle or collarbone. When this type of injury is sustained, ligaments that stabilize and support the shoulder are stretched or torn and the AC joint bones become dislocated or separated. Trauma to the shoulder after a car accident can cause shoulder sprains.
A SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum. The labrum is cartilage that forms a cuff at the end of the arm bone that allows it to move inside. A SLAP tear occurs at the point where the tendon of the bicep muscle inserts on the labrum. Because the socket of the shoulder joint is shallow and has a great range of mobility, it is often susceptible to injury, especially as a result of an automobile accident.
After an automobile accident, a SLAP tear injury may result when the body tenses up and braces the steering wheel in a rigid manner, causing the shoulder to lock and undergo an excessive amount of pushback. Individuals who suffer from a SLAP tear injury may experience pain associated with engaging in overhead activities, such as throwing. Other symptoms include grinding, locking, or popping sensations, decreased range of motion, loss of strength, difficulty sleeping, or a sensation of instability in the shoulder region.
Likewise, a torn rotator cuff is another common yet painful injury that may be sustained as a result of an automobile accident. Rotator cuff tears occur in any of the muscles and tendons that connect the upper arm to the scapula, or shoulder blade. There are four rotator cuff muscles that help an individual’s shoulder to rotate, as well as four tendons that work with muscles to stabilize the shoulder to help the arms lift and move about.
The most common type of accident associated with a torn rotator cuff is a rear-end collision. Similar to a SLAP tear injury, a torn rotator cuff can result when someone anticipates being struck from behind and grabs the steering wheel while tensing up. As a result of the shoulder being tense, it absorbs a large amount of force upon impact from the crash. Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff can include pain on the top or outer sides of the shoulders, radiating pain throughout the arm, swelling, and a popping or clicking sound associated with arm movements.
If you experience shoulder pain after an automobile accident, or your existing pain worsens after an accident, call the auto injury professionals at West Coast Wellness. Our team has been helping patients injured in automobile accidents address pain and regain their health since 1984. Dr. Barr has treated patients experiencing shoulder pain successfully and can help you get healthy again. Call our office at (941) 210-3969 for more information.