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Most Common Neck & Shoulder Injuries We See in Accident Patients

Due to the forces sustained in a car accident, you can experience a variety of neck and shoulder injuries that manifest immediately or in the hours and days following the collision. Although you may have experienced a stiff neck or shoulder before, the impact of a car accident can cause much worse damage, making it crucial to seek care immediately.

Learn about the most common neck and shoulder injuries that we see, as well as how we treat them at our Impact Medical Sun City Center Clinic. Let’s dive in.

What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain After an Accident?

During a car accident, your neck can suddenly jerk forward and backward and when your body is restrained by a seat belt, your neck takes the brunt of the force.

Moreover, a collision may cause your neck to forcefully move from side to side. Or you might even get hit by debris from inside or outside the vehicle.

Also, if you realize an accident is about to occur, you may tense up your muscles, increasing the risk of muscle strain. This forceful action can damage ligaments, muscles, discs, joints, nerves, tendons, or bones.

Common Neck Injuries

Some of the most common types of neck injuries from car accidents include:

Whiplash: This occurs when your head violently jolts forward and suddenly stops. Whiplash causes damage to your neck’s soft tissues, including the muscles, nerves, and ligaments. Victims may experience neck pain and stiffness, numbness, or tingling in the neck and arms.

Disc Injury: This injury causes the nerves in your neck to become irritated, resulting in bursts of pain in your legs and neck. The injury results from your spinal structure moving out of place.

Spinal Cord Injury: A neck injury can damage the spinal cord if your vertebrae are disrupted during an accident. Because the spinal cord consists of sensitive nerves, spinal cord injuries may cause the victim to suffer partial or complete paralysis or even death.

Vertebral Fracture: The impact of a car accident can cause vertebrae to break. These kinds of fractures are serious and require immediate medical attention.

Sprains & Strains: Muscle or ligament sprains in the neck occur due to sudden movements. They can cause pain in the neck, which can be worsened by activity.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can occur when your body is propelled into a hard object around you, such as the dashboard or the side of the vehicle.

Some common examples of shoulder injuries include:

Rotator cuff tear: The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint. This area can be torn during a car accident, resulting in a dull ache deep in the shoulder and weakness in the affected arm. Accident victims may experience limited movement, tenderness, and severe pain.

Rotator cuff tendinitis: If the rotator cuff is injured suddenly, it can cause tendinitis in the affected area.

Dislocated shoulder: This injury occurs when the ball and socket in the arm are dislocated from each other. This injury may result in muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, or spasms near the injury.

SLAP tear: A superior labrum anterior and posterior tear occurs when the tendon in the bicep that attaches to the cartilage at the end of the arm tears. These injuries are associated with instability, decreased range of motion, popping sounds in the affected area, and pain when lifting. 

Symptoms of Delayed Injuries

You may not realize that you have suffered a shoulder or neck injury immediately after a car accident. If you experience any of the following symptoms, we urge you to seek medical attention right away:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in the neck or shoulders
  • Back pain

Treatment for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Our accident pain specialists may recommend several treatment options to help relieve back or neck pain. These include:

  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Short-term use of a brace
  • Gentle stretching, manual, or chiropractic techniques
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Facet injections
  • And more

Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief

Don’t suffer from neck or shoulder pain after a car accident, instead, call our team at Impact Medical Sun City Center. We will comprehensively treat your pain so you can get back to living pain-free!

Schedule a consultation with our pain specialists today at (813) 938-5195!