Shoulder Injuries and Car Accidents

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Shoulder Injuries and Car Accidents
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 7/20/2020

There is no doubt about it. Car accidents impart huge amounts of force on your body from many different angles. Seatbelts and airbags only do so much to prevent severe injury or death, but the human body is not meant to endure rapid, whiplash movements. After an auto collision, your entire body might be hurting from your neck down to your feet. Shoulder injuries are a common complaint after a car accident due to the physiology of your shoulder and the forces of impact.

Imagine your shoulder like a ball and socket. The rounded head of the humerus bone sits nicely tucked in a well-fitting bed of ligaments and cartilage. Especially after large-scale collisions, your shoulder blade pushes forward quickly before getting caught by the seatbelt. Often, this quick movement is enough to tear the tissue surrounding the bone, which can result in substantial shoulder pain and limitation.

If your shoulder tissues have torn, you will notice some or all the following symptoms:

  • Pain – especially with overhead activities
  • Grinding, popping, and sticking in your shoulder socket  BLOGPOST_Shoulder_RS.jpg
  • Decreased range of motion in your shoulder
  • Reduced strength in your arm and shoulder
  • Swelling and bruising in the shoulder

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your medical doctor will likely want to take an MRI to help confirm their diagnosis. The most well-known shoulder injuries after a collision include that of your labrum, rotator cuff, and the acromion (AC) joint. While strengthening with physical therapy can often help your body recover to some degree. If the injury is severe enough, surgery is often warranted.

The type of surgery mostly depends on the level of tearing in the joint. Your orthopedic surgeon will be in the best position after reviewing the MRI to determine what type of surgery will be needed. With the advancements in medical technology, shoulder surgeries will often only require an arthroscopic repair. During an arthroscopy, the orthopedist inserts a small camera into your shoulder joint, which displays on a television. The physician then uses miniature surgical instruments to repair the ligaments. The alternative is an open repair and is typically utilized where the tearing is much more substantial. 

Arthroscopic shoulder repairs can be quick, efficient, and lead to a more expedient recovery. After an auto collision, acquiring the proper medical attention is of the utmost importance. If your shoulder feels painful or weak, you should immediately consult with your medical doctor about the next steps. Whether through physical therapy or surgery, shoulder repairs are quite common after car accidents.

Experienced attorneys will help guide you after an auto accident. While not medical doctors, qualified personal injury lawyers engage with injured clients daily. Understanding the medicine behind car accident injuries is half the battle to enjoying a successful insurance claim. The litigators at the Law Offices of Magnuson Lowell, PS offer a free case evaluation. Call today to learn more about your rights after an accident.

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