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Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

Written by Andy Zapata

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, shoulder injuries can occur during sports, in accidents, or even while partaking in everyday activities. The shoulder is a joint that you tend to take for granted until you don’t have full use of it. Unfortunately, the impact of a car accident can cause serious injury to your shoulder as well as other parts of your body.


If you are experiencing shoulder pain after a car accident, it is important that you seek immediate medical treatment. After that, you will likely be referred to physical therapy to make sure your muscles and tendons heal and function properly.


Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is comprised of two joints with several moving parts. Because of this, when one part is affected, every area of the shoulder can experience discomfort. If a bone or tendon is injured, everything else in your shoulder tries “to pick up the slack.” When you have to rest to allow a bone to heal, you will likely experience tension and weakness in the muscles from lack of use.


The shoulder is comprised of two main bones known as the scapula and the humerus. Articular cartilage lines the glenoid and head of the humerus to prevent friction. The glenoid (the end of scapula) and the head of the humerus connect to create the glenoid cavity, which in turn creates a ball and socket joint. The cartilage, ligaments, and tendons combine with these bones to create a functioning shoulder.


Types of Shoulder Injuries

There are many ways a shoulder can be injured. Falls and sports injuries are common causes of shoulder injuries, but car accidents are a common cause as well.


Three shoulder injuries that are common after a car accident:



Fractures impact the bones in the shoulder while the rotator cuff and labral tears are injuries to the muscles, tendons, and fibrous tissue that hold the joint together and help it move properly. Many studies have shown a correlation between whiplash and torn rotator cuffs. Some of these injuries require surgery to begin healing properly. After surgery, you will need to seek physical therapy treatment to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your shoulder and promote full range of motion.


How Physical Therapy Relieves Pain

If physical therapy is the best course of treatment for your shoulder injury, working consistently at physical therapy can help you to avoid surgery when you suffer from shoulder pain after a car accident. But even if it’s unavoidable and you must have surgery to repair your injury, physical therapy can go a long way toward pain management and making a full recovery.


Physical therapy treatments for shoulder pain can include:



You will also be taught exercises that will strengthen your muscles and produce endorphins that relieve the pain. Increasing your strength and flexibility can help speed up your recovery time and get you back to your normal routine as soon as possible.


Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

If you are injured, facing surgery, or recovering from surgery, causing shoulder pain after a car accident, contact our experienced team at Physical Therapy Now at 800-481-4582 to schedule your first appointment.


We will work with the recommendations from your medical team and tap into our in-depth knowledge about shoulder injuries to create a personalized treatment plan.  We will also provide you with an exercise regimen that you can implement at home. Your health and recovery are important to us, and it is our goal to get you back to your daily life as quickly and painlessly as possible.


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