If you have been in a car accident and are now experiencing shoulder pain, you may be wondering if there is a connection between the two. Shoulder injuries are common after auto accidents, but how can you know for sure if the crash caused yours?
There are a few things to consider as you evaluate the potential connection.
Consider the type of injury
The type of shoulder injury you have can provide clues about its cause. There are a few common types of shoulder injuries caused by car accidents. For example, rotator cuff tears are common because of the violent motions of a crash. This can cause pain and limit mobility. In some cases, the shoulder joint gets dislocated, or pulled out of the socket, due to the force of the impact. When the impact directly affects the shoulder area, you might also experience a fracture which could significantly interfere with normal use and movement.
Think about the timing
When your shoulder pain starts is also important. Pain that begins shortly after an accident is often connected to that event. Immediate or next-day onset suggests a traumatic, accident-induced injury. Delayed pain a week or more later is more ambiguous. Still, crash injuries can sometimes take days to fully manifest.
Reflect on the accident details
The characteristics of your accident provide more clues. High-speed crashes are more likely to cause joint and bone injuries, including those in the shoulder. Was your shoulder or arm pressed against any hard surfaces such as the door or dashboard? This can also lead to shoulder trauma. The exact motions your arm went through during impact are key details.
If you believe your shoulder injury resulted from an auto accident, seek medical evaluation and treatment right away, before your injuries potentially worsen.