Though sports and work injuries are the most common causes of shoulder injuries, I have come to realize that serious auto accidents can lead to debilitating shoulder injuries as well.
There are a variety of shoulder injuries caused by auto accidents with varying methods of treatment. Depending upon the severity of the auto accident and the point of impact the shoulder injury may be as minor as a muscle sprain or as severe as nerve damage.
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In an auto accident there is a tremendous amount of force snapping the body forwards and backwards- this can stretch the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the shoulder beyond their natural limits causing them to strain or even tear. A muscle strain is uncomfortable, but with ice and rest will usually heal relatively quickly. If the force is so great it causes one of these soft tissues to tear, however, it can lead to permanent damage and sometimes will require surgery to fix.
In a more severe accident the shoulder may actually become dislocated. A dislocated shoulder can be easily popped back into place by a trained medical professional, but in some cases the dislocation can cause problems such as a break in the cartilage that keeps the shoulder in place, instability and even a fracture to the humerus which will leave the victim prone to dislocations in the future.
In rare cases an auto accident can lead to a nerve problem called brachial plexus neuropathy. This disorder occurs when a severe shoulder injury inflames the nerves. When the nerves are inflamed the patient will have sudden pain followed by muscle weakness in the arms. This can cause permanent problems for the victims of severe auto accidents and will often require surgery to fix.
Though you may feel that you can treat your own shoulder injury with a little tender loving care, it is important to have any discomfort looked at by a doctor. Some problems grow over time and it is essential that any injuries you have be treated quickly so you may recover quickly and not hinder your case.