Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

Man having shoulder pain after a car accident getting treatment by nurse Car accidents can lead to a variety of pain or injury, including shoulder pain.  Debilitating shoulder pain is not only painful but can impact every aspect of your life.  Decreased shoulder mobility can make it difficult to function, even to perform simple daily tasks.  Waiting for shoulder pain to simply go away may not be to your advantage.  Shoulder pain from a car accident that isn’t properly treated can lead to chronic issues that follow you around for the rest of your life.  If you have been in a car accident and have suffered an injury to the shoulder, a shoulder doctor can provide treatment and rehabilitation necessary to address and alleviate pain.

What Causes Car Accident Shoulder Pain?

Car accidents exert tremendous force on the body, often leading to shoulder pain. This pain can be the result of a simple sprain or strain from the impact or more severe musculoskeletal injuries. The shoulder, being intricately connected to the neck and back, can also suffer from conditions like whiplash, where the force from a rear-end collision causes the head to jerk forward and backward. This motion can lead to tightness or soreness in the muscles extending into the shoulders, contributing to pain. It’s also not uncommon to experience collarbone pain after a car accident due to direct trauma or as part of a more complex shoulder injury. Recognizing these injuries early and seeking treatment is essential to prevent worsening symptoms.

Common Shoulder Injuries from Car Accident

The resulting injuries of a car accident can vary from minor injuries to severe.  Whatever level of severity your shoulder pain after a car accident, you should always seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent symptoms from worsening.  The cause of shoulder pain from a car accident could be a simple sprain or strain from the force of the impact.  Other musculoskeletal injuries may also occur.


Rear-ended car accidents almost always result in whiplash for those involved.  The force of the impact from behind pushes the head forward and slams it backward, causing the muscles of the neck to be tight or sore.  Whiplash, although significantly affecting the neck and back, can also radiate into the shoulders, leading to pain.

Torn Rotator Cuff

A high impact car accident can also lead to a torn rotator cuff.  The rotator cuff is a grouping of four muscles that attach the humerus to the shoulder blade.  The rotator cuff specifically helps to lift and rotate the arm.  Signs of a torn rotator cuff can include pain when moving the shoulder a certain way, weakness when rotating or lifting the arm, a cracking sensation when moving the arm in different directions, or pain when lying on the injured shoulder.


A car accident can result in a fracture of the clavicle or humerus.  A fractured clavicle, or collarbone, will severely limit shoulder movement.  Fracturing the humerus will lead to a very swollen shoulder as well decreased range of motion and significant pain.


Dislocation of the shoulder joint is also a common cause of shoulder pain because of a car accident.  Shoulder dislocations can lead to muscle damage or chronic conditions if not treated properly.

Soft Tissue Damage

Although not as severe, soft tissue injuries can cause shoulder pain after a car accident.  In fact, soft tissue damage from a car accident is more common than bone injuries. A SLAP tear is tearing of the labrum, or ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint.  This tissue stabilizes the shoulder joint and serves as an attachment point for other ligaments in the shoulder.  Trauma caused by a car accident can lead to tearing.  Depending on the severity, the shoulder doctor may recommend noninvasive or invasive treatment for repair.

The underlying idea is that if there is damage to the car after an accident, there is more than likely damage to the body, including the shoulder.  If you have any signs or symptoms of pain and injury to the shoulder from a car accident, it is imperative that you seek care from AICA orthopedic specialists to treat the injury and find relief from pain.

Treatment of Shoulder Injuries by Experienced Orthopedic Specialists

Doctors at aica helping man with shoulder pain from a car accident The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.  Because of this, it is more susceptible to damage and injury.  If you are experiencing symptoms of a shoulder injury after being involved in a car accident, such as significant sharp pain, deep bruising, tenderness, knotting, or weakness, a shoulder doctor at AICA Orthopedics can help.  If you show signs of a shoulder injury, our expert shoulder doctors will first perform a thorough examination of the problem area to assess the injury and provide a precise diagnosis.  Imaging devices such as X Rays or MRIs can assist in proper diagnosis and accurate treatment by providing an in-depth look at the area of concern.  Shoulder doctors at AICA Orthopedics provide the very best in comprehensive care to ensure you receive high quality, detailed treatment to ease shoulder pain and heal injuries.

Your Best Interests in Mind

Shoulder doctors at AICA always move forward with the patient’s very best interest in mind.  We first and foremost offer conservative, minimally invasive treatment options to address shoulder pain from a car accident.  Should more aggressive treatment be required, our shoulder specialists will walk you through the treatment plan towards recovery and healing.  From knowledgeable shoulder doctors and chiropractors to experienced physical therapists and skilled surgeons, our team will work hard on your behalf to ensure you receive the very best in treatment options that are appropriate for your shoulder pain from a car accident.

Don’t Wait to Receive Care for Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

If you are experiencing shoulder pain from a car accident, don’t wait until symptoms worsen to consult a shoulder doctor.  See an orthopedic specialist at AICA Orthopedics who can fully diagnose and treat your injury.  Because the shoulder plays such an important role in the range of motion of the arm, it is imperative that you do what it takes to ensure your shoulder can heal properly.  Call AICA Orthopedics to schedule an appointment after a car accident and find relief from your shoulder pain.

FAQs on Shoulder Injuries After a Car Accident

What does left shoulder pain after a car accident mean?

Left shoulder pain, similar to right shoulder pain after a car accident, may indicate various injuries ranging from soft tissue damage to more severe conditions like fractures or dislocations. The specific side of the pain does not necessarily indicate the severity of the injury but rather the point of impact or direction of force during the accident.

Why does shoulder pain radiate through my arms after a car accident?

Radiating shoulder pain into the arms following a car accident could signify nerve damage or a more complex injury such as a torn rotator cuff or a cervical spine injury. This symptom requires immediate evaluation by a healthcare professional to prevent long-term damage.

Can you get shoulder pain after a rear-end collision?

Yes, shoulder pain is a common aftermath of a rear-end collision. The sudden jolt can cause whiplash, affecting not just the neck and back but also leading to shoulder pain. The force of the impact may also result in direct injuries to the shoulder area.

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