Are you experiencing arm pain as a result of a Motor Vehicle Collision, work injury, or sports injury?
It is not at all unusual to suffer from pain, tightness, or soreness in the arms or shoulders, following a motor vehicle collision, work injury, or sports injury.
This can be caused by whiplash in the neck, or the source might be another injury sustained in the trauma. The severity of arm or shoulder pain from whiplash varies depending on the case. It can be anywhere from temporary discomfort to long term pain, requiring therapy over a long period of time.
The shoulder is delicate and easily injured. It consists of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle) and shoulder blade (scapula). These bones are held together by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The shoulder joint has the largest range of motion of all the joints in the body. Because of it's extreme mobility, the shoulder is also exceptionally susceptible to injury, especially the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is positioned over the top of the shoulder where the collarbone and shoulder blade connect.
Whiplash in the neck can easily translate into pain, stiffness, and soreness in the shoulders.
When the neck experiences trauma by being moved violently back and forth, side to side, or any combination of directions, the surrounding muscles tense and move in unnatural directions, straining ligiments and nerves. The stabilizing muscles for the shoulders originate from the neck, so it is not unusual for the shoulders to be strained, stretched, and otherwise injured at the same time as the neck muscles. This is how arm or shoulder pain from whiplash extends down from the neck.
Whiplash, or violent shaking or jerking of the head and neck can easily lead to pain in the closely connected shoulder. At times, injury or stresses on the delicate nerves in the neck can block signals between the brain and the body resulting in uncomfortable tingling or numbness in the arms.
This kind of shoulder pain is usually addressed through therapy. Minor cases will hopefully fade overtime, however more serious cases may lead to months if not years of chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, biofeedback, and other doctor recommended treatments. Luckily, most shoulder pain caused by whiplash in the neck will lessen as the whiplash heals.
In the case of a vehicle collision, seatbelts can also be the cause of pain in the arm and shoulder, rather than arm or shoulder pain from whiplash directly. When the seatbelt tightens around the shoulder in order to secure your body, it pushes your body back against the seat while the rest of your body is flung around with the movement of the vehicle.
This can cause strained muscles and tendons in the shoulder or even damage the cartilage. In addition, arm muscles can be seriously strained from the violent motion. Small sacs of fluid called bursa, may swell in the shoulder and reduce or stop blood flow to the tiny blood vessels running through the shoulders and arms. This causes pain when the arm is simply lifted in the midst of daily activities.
Unfortunatly, if left untreated, some of these injuries can progress into more serious conditions such as a torn rotator cuff, torn cartilage (labrum), or a frozen shoulder.
Always seek medical attention when you start to experience discomfort in the shoulders or arms after a motor vehical collision, work injury, or sports injury.
A frozen shoulder typically originates from injury or overuse pain which limits the shoulder’s range of motion. Common conditions that cause pain in the shoulder are bursitis or a tear in the rotator cuff.
If you baby your injured shoulder, barely moving it for weeks on end, the tissue around the shoulder joint thickens and shrinks. It loses its elasticity, causing even more pain when the shoulder is moved, creating a vicious cycle as the joint caspule continues to stiffen the longer you keep the joint still.
A frozen shoulder develops over the course of months and therapy is extrememly important in the recovery process.
Cold pack - First help with pain
Ice is one of the simplest, safest and most effective self care techniques for injury, pain or discomfort in muscles and joints
During an initial injury, tissue damage can cause uncontrolled swelling. This swelling can increase the damage of the initial injury and delay the healing.
If you use ice immediately within the first 48 hours, you can reduce the healing time by up to 80%
When you visit us at the Whiplash and Injury Clinic, ask about our Cold Packs. Our gel-filled Cold Packs are made of the most durable materials. It is a silky nylon/pvc material that is smooth against the skin.
This 5x8 inch cold pack fits comfortably around your neck or wrapped over your shoulder, wrist, ankle, knee or any other injured area