Normal Shoulder Anatomy

Shoulder injuries are extremely common in sports or professions where repetitive shoulder movements are necessary such as swimming, pitching, weight lifting and jobs requiring heavy lifting. These injuries develop overtime and are largely from overuse of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. After working as an Everett auto crash lawyer, however, and reaching many personal injury settlements, I have come to realize how severe shoulder injuries can be in auto accidents.

Sudden force on the shoulder area can cause a sudden acute injury that can be debilitating. With enough force an accident can easily cause sprains or strains to the tendons and ligaments in the shoulder, or in more severe cases, break bones, dislocate the shoulder or damage nerves.


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A sprain or strain occurs when the ligaments, muscles and tendons are stretched beyond their normal position. This can be an annoying and uncomfortable injury, but usually will heal rather quickly with rest and ice. A tear in these soft tissues, however, can lead to permanent damage so it is important to see a doctor if you experience shoulder pain after an auto accident.

A dislocated shoulder for an auto accident also can cause lasting problems if the cartilage in the shoulder socket is broken or disturbed or if the shoulder is left in an unstable condition- if either of these occur surgery may be necessary.

Another serious shoulder injury that can result from an auto accident is brachial plexus neuropathy which occurs when injury to the shoulder causes inflammation in the nerves. This inflammation will cause sudden pain followed by muscle weakness.

Though most shoulder injuries can be treated with rest and ice it is important to be checked out by a physician to see if there is any significant damage. Catching a break or severe injury early and receiving treatment will help you heal properly.

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