Shoulder Pain After Auto Injury

Shoulder Pain Is Common After Auto Injuryshoulder pain

It is estimated that over 25% of auto collision victims develop shoulder pain in the days following the impact. In general, there are three causes of shoulder pain due to an auto injury.

Direct Trauma

Direct trauma is when the shoulder directly strikes something. In a typical rear impact collision, the victim’s lower body is thrown forward into the shoulder belt. When this happens, the belt engages or locks and compresses the shoulder joint and collar bone causing trauma to the rotator cuff and the AC joint or acromioclavicular joint.

Nerve Damage

Our neck is made up of 7 vertebra that support and protect our spinal cord. Passing between each vertebra are the nerves that run from the base of the neck through the shoulders and down the arms to the hands. These nerves are responsible for the muscle movement and strength of the shoulder and arm as well as our sense of touch.

In an auto collision, there can be a shearing or shifting of the vertebra and discs in the neck resulting in damage or irritation of the nerve roots. This can result in a condition called radiculopathy, basically pain or sensation problems along the course of the nerve…which passes through the shoulder.

Injury To The Neck Joints

Probably the most common source of shoulder pain from an auto injury is referred pain from injured neck joints. The lower 6 vertebrae in the neck are connected to each other in the back of the spine by little joints called facet joints. These little joints are responsible for the motion of our neck. Each joint is surrounded by tough fibrous capsule to keep the joint lubricated. Each capsule has a large amount of small nerve fibers.

The force of an auto collision can cause a rapid stretching of this capsule and damage to the joint itself. The resulting inflammation of the damaged structure can cause pain, not only in the neck but in a specific referral pattern. When injured, the facet joints of the lower neck cause pain to be felt across the top of the shoulder and down the back around the shoulder blade.

Shoulder pain from an auto injury is a common symptom. Proper diagnosis as to its cause is crucial to finding relief. Chiropractic care has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of care for shoulder pain after an auto injury.  Give us a call at (314) 731-4383 or CLICK HERE to call us and make an appointment.