In Ohio, shoulder impingement is a painful yet often overlooked potential consequence of motor vehicle accidents. A shoulder impingement occurs due to inflammation in the shoulder tendons or bursa. The swelling pinches or impinges on the tendons and other structures, causing chronic pain, reduced mobility and other problems.
How car accidents cause shoulder impingement
Car accidents can exert tremendous force on the body, especially if they involve a high-impact collision. A sudden deceleration, impact and the force of the seatbelt restraint can cause an individual to tense their muscles. Combined with the body’s forward motion against the restraint, it can result in hyperextension, excessive strain and other problems that can lead to impingement over time.
Some symptoms arise immediately after an accident, while others may develop later. Early signs of a shoulder impingement injury include shoulder pain when reaching or lifting, which some people interpret as general soreness from the accident. Other signs are a limited range of motion, shoulder weakness and pain when moving their arm overhead. It is essential not to ignore these symptoms because if left untreated, they could worsen.
Leaving shoulder impingement untreated can cause worsening symptoms, such as progressive damage to tendons and other structures in the shoulder. Chronic inflammation and friction within the shoulder can lead to rotator cuff tears, bursitis or other conditions that become even more debilitating. Over time, these conditions can cause irreversible damage to the shoulder joint, limiting your ability to do simple tasks such as lifting groceries or engaging in physical work or sports activities. The constant pain and limited range of motion can make everyday tasks such as dressing and bathing difficult. Decreased shoulder mobility can also impact work performance and overall quality of life.
Treatments for shoulder impingement include non-surgical and surgical interventions. Physical therapy includes targeted strengthening and stretches to improve shoulder strength, eliminate pain and increase flexibility. Steroids and anti-inflammatory medications can relieve pain and inflammation. Ergonomic changes at work can provide alternative ways to perform tasks without aggravating the shoulder. These methods have been proven effective and can be adjusted to each patient’s needs.
Shoulder impingement can become debilitating after a car accident. Early intervention can help you regain control over your injury and daily life.