Many people suffer from shoulder pain following a motor vehicle accident. The severe trauma to the joint as a result of the impact can result in several different types of ways. Pain is a warning mechanism the body uses to indicate something is wrong. Treating the pain only can result in prolonged recovery. Therapies such as chiropractic care, acupuncture or dry needling, and specific rehabilitation exercises that address the cause of the pain are able to help the injured patient to respond quicker, and become pain free.

Common Shoulder Pain Symptoms

A variety of symptoms can present after an auto accident that affects the shoulder and surrounding areas. Some of the most common complaints are the following:

  • Stiff, painful, tender – the shoulder normally hurts more at night and may interrupt sleep when the shoulder is described in this way
  • Tingling, numbness, weakness – many times nerves are involved when these symptoms are present. This may require an MRI or additional testing to determine the severity of neurological involvement
  • Swelling of the joint – when the join becomes injured, fluid will accumulate in the join and decrease function
  • Pain in a specific point that is worse with exertion – structural imbalances, brusing, muscle tears, and direct trauma to the area can lead to pinpoint pain
  • Difficulty moving arm in any or certain directions – a variety of injuries can generate this symptom
  • Sudden, unprovoked pain in the joint – this can indicate a tear of one of the ligaments, and instability of the joint
  • Discoloration of the skin – bruising is a common symptom when the should impacts a part of the car
Shoulder Pain:  Joint Bones and Muscles of the shoulder
Shoulder Pain:  Joint Bones and Muscles of the shoulder

Shoulder Injuries following a Motor Vehicle Accident

The shoulder pain symptoms that are present after an auto accident, in conjunction with a complete physical exam, imaging (such as MRI, x-ray, etc) help the doctor to diagnose the specific injury. The most common shoulder diagnoses include:

  • Rotator cuff tear of the muscles that hold the upper arm to the shoulder joint
  • Strains and sprains of the ligaments, muscles and tendons
  • Fractured bones are identified on x-ray, and frequently require casting from a medical doctor
  • Bruising is the most common presentation, specifically where the shoulder strap of the seatbelt is located across the collar bone

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder can develop in some individuals if the result of an injury renders the shoulder joint to have limited movement due to pain. Following trauma, if a shoulder is not moved, the tissue surrounding the joint thickens and shrinks. Thus, losing its ability to stretch. Trying to move after this occurs can result in pain and less movement. Which puts someone into a cycle that leads to the shoulder joint freezing and with greatly decreased movement. This process can take months after an injury if not treated properly and swiftly. Some individuals develop a frozen shoulder in the absence of an auto accident.

Treating Shoulder Injuries

At Synergy Chiropractic of Houston, we use a variety of different techniques to get our patients out of pain as quickly as possible. We work to find and fix the underlying cause so the joint can recover at the fastest rate. Different techniques we use include Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Soft Tissue, and Neurological Rehabilitation. Contact our office if you believe you have a shoulder problem and would like to see how we can help.

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