Trauma to the shoulder during an auto accident is a common auto accident injury. Because the shoulder is an extremely mobile joint, it is susceptible to injury, particularly when the violent force of a traumatic accident affects the neck or the shoulder itself. There are several causes of shoulder pain after an auto accident. These include:
• The jerking movement associated with auto accidents can affect the shoulder joint, causing pain and other symptoms. When wearing a seatbelt, the shoulder strap may cause damage to the shoulder. Injury can also occur in the shoulder when auto accident victims have neglected to wear a seatbelt and the shoulder comes in violent contact with the interior of the vehicle. Side-impact accidents are another factor that can lead to shoulder pain.
• Injuries to the neck can cause pain to radiate down the shoulders and arms due to compression or irritation of the nerves. Whiplash, in particular, can cause not only pain and swelling in the neck, muscle spasms, and headaches, but can also lead to shoulder pain.
Shoulder pain, like many other auto accident injuries, may not be felt until some time has passed after an auto accident. This is especially true in cases where whiplash or other neck injuries are the cause of shoulder pain. This phenomenon is known as the delayed onset of symptoms. Whether shoulder pain occurs immediately after an accident, or takes days, weeks, or even months to develop, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms develop.