One of the most common, but often overlooked, car accident injury symptoms is shoulder pain. Shoulder pain after a car accident can be debilitating and result in a significantly decreased quality of life. In addition to pain, injuries to the shoulder can prevent injured accident victims from returning to work, performing basic daily care, and enjoying an active lifestyle.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose the exact cause of shoulder pain without an extensive medical examination and testing. MRIs, Ultrasounds, and X-rays may all help doctors determine where the injury is located in the shoulder and what treatment is best.
Car accident victims who are suffering from shoulder pain should avoid speaking to insurance companies or signing any settlement agreements without first meeting with an experienced Washington DC car accident attorney.
Shoulder pain can be a sign of a more serious injury that may require extensive rehabilitation, therapies, and long-term care. Any settlement should reflect the full nature of the injury and the long-term prognosis.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain after a Car Accident
Shoulder pain may be an indication of an acute injury to the actual shoulder area, or it can be referred pain from the neck or head. As a result, diagnosing shoulder pain is tricky.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include, but are not limited to:
- Torn rotator cuff injuries
- Swollen bursa sacs or tendons
- Pinched nerve in neck or shoulder
- Dislocated shoulder
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
Since the causes of shoulder pain are numerous, doctors must perform a complete medical examination in order to determine the best course of treatment. In addition to a medical examination, doctors may use additional tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds, to pinpoint the injury and develop a treatment plan.
Torn Rotator Cuff Injury
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain after a car accident is a torn rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff is comprised of the muscles and tendons that join the upper arm to the shoulder socket.
During a car accident, violent forces can cause the delicate tendons and muscles in the shoulder to become damaged. The resulting tear can be either partial or complete, depending on the degree of severity.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:
- Dull ache in the shoulder
- Pain when lying on side
- Arm weakness
- Pain when using the shoulder
- Stiffness in joint
- Decreased range of motion
Rotator cuff injuries are typically treated with a combination of rest, physical therapy, and medications. Some more extreme rotator cuff injuries may require surgery to replace the joint.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is another injury that can occur after a car accident. It happens when the blood vessels or nerves located in the space between your collarbone and first rib are compressed. The result of this compression is often a pain in your shoulders and neck, as well as numbness in your fingers.
While most cases of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome will improve with physical therapy and medications, some individuals will require surgery in order to heal fully.
Complications Due to Shoulder Pain
In many cases, shoulder pain can be treated with rest, ice, physical therapy, and medications. However, sometimes, shoulder pain will require extensive surgeries or rehabilitation in order to heal fully.
Some causes of shoulder pain can even result in permanent disability, loss of motion, and stiffness in the affected joint for the remainder of your life.
Accident victims may find that they are unable to work in their chosen profession or enjoy their lifestyles after suffering a shoulder injury. If not treated properly, or if the injury is severe, they may even suffer from chronic pain.
Contact Our Experienced Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers
If you have suffered from shoulder pain after a car accident in Washington DC, you may be surprised to learn how long your recovery could be. In some cases, shoulder pain worsens even with treatment or results in a lifetime of pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. When this occurs, you need an experienced law firm on your side with extensive experience representing injured car accident victims.
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our Washington DC car accident attorneys work tirelessly for all of our clients. To learn more about your legal rights after a serious car accident, contact our law firm by calling (202) 742-1500 or (888) 625-6635 or filling out our confidential contact form. We offer a free initial consultation for all injured accident victims and can help you choose the legal path that is best for you. Call today!