If you were involved in a car or motorcycle accident, neck and shoulder pain is one of the most common symptoms.

This can be caused by a direct blow to your shoulder or an injury to the cervical spine. These injuries can initially cause temporary problems and long-term complications. It is essential not to ignore these issues as they can lead to chronic pain.

A personal injury chiropractor in San Diego will help you diagnose the underlying problem and suggest a treatment plan. For more information on car accident injuries, read on!

Shoulder Pain Can Be a Result of Whiplash

The accident’s impact causes the neck to jerk backward and forward, which may cause damage to the ligaments and muscles in the neck and upper back.

The ligaments are rugged bands of tissue that support your joints. The muscles are bundles of tissue surrounding your joints and allowing you to move. The most common form of injury from whiplash is called a cervical strain, which occurs when soft tissues around your neck are stretched too far.

The soft tissues include ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers, nerves, and blood vessels in your neck. Cervical strain causes pain in the front or side of your neck (or both).

In addition to cervical strain, other injuries may occur in your lower back or upper back because they were also impacted by accident.

These injuries may include muscle spasms or tears (strains), disc herniations, and fractured vertebrae (bones). It’s not unusual for people with whiplash to have more than one type of injury simultaneously or over time after their whiplash incident.

What Causes The Shoulder Pain?

1.     Rotator Cuff Tears

The tendons in your rotator cuff connect your arm to your shoulder joint and allow you to lift, rotate and stabilize your arm. Tears in these tendons can cause pain when you move your arm in specific ways.


2.     Bursitis

Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs that help protect overused areas of your joints, such as the bursa at the top of your shoulder blade (acromioclavicular joint). Inflammation caused by injury or overuse can cause this area to swell up and become painful (bursitis).

3.     Impingement Syndrome

This condition occurs when the tendons go through a shoulder part called the subacromial space to become inflamed or irritated. This narrow space can become compressed due to repetitive motion, causing pain when you raise your arm towards the sky (supination).

4.     Tendinitis

Tendonitis is usually caused by overuse or repetitive movements. You may develop it because of an injury to your shoulder joint, or it can be due to arthritis or other conditions that weaken the rotator cuff muscles and tendons.

5.     Arthritis

Arthritis is the most common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when cartilage wears away from joint surfaces over time, causing bony spurs to develop on the edges of bones. These spurs can rub together, causing friction and inflammation in the joint.

6.     A Dislocated Shoulder

This occurs when your arm pops out of its socket during a fall or an accident. The ligaments holding your bones together are stretched too far and tear apart, causing the bone to pop out of place. Your doctor may be able to put it back into place without surgery.

Neuromuscular and Bio-Mechanical Problems

Neuromuscular problems are caused by weakness of the rotator cuff muscles and capsule. These muscles support the shoulder joint and help control the movement of the arm. Overuse can also cause pain in the shoulder.

For example, repetitive overhead movements such as throwing a baseball may cause inflammation of the tendons around the shoulder joint.

Neuromuscular problems arise when there is damage to the nerves that control the movement of the shoulder. This may occur due to trauma or overuse, causing weakness or numbness.

It may also be caused by compression from an adjacent structure such as a rib cage or spine. The nerve may be compressed directly or indirectly by inflammation resulting from trauma or overuse.


If you have pain in your arm that travels down your arm, this could be due to nerve problems in your neck or the upper back area known as cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve) or thoracic outlet syndrome (narrowed passage).

These conditions can be treated using various therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and dry needling.


Cervical Trauma Symptoms

Cervical Trauma Symptoms include:


  • Numbness or tingling in the arms (especially the hands) or legs.
  • Trouble moving your arms or
  • Headaches, neck pain, stiffness, or difficulty turning your
  • Weakness or loss of strength in arms or
  • Pain in the back of your neck or head.
  • Trouble moving your neck or
  • Feeling dizzy or weak.
  • Difficulty


What Is The Best Treatment Option For Shoulder Pain After A Car Accident?

If a torn rotator cuff causes your shoulder pain, you may need surgery to repair it. The surgeon will repair the tear and possibly realign the bones around it. You will likely need physical therapy after surgery to help with recovery.

Shoulder impingement syndrome is another common condition after an injury in which you might experience shoulder pain after an accident. For this condition, there is usually a build-up of calcium deposits on tendons in front of the shoulder joint that can pinch them against the top end of your humerus (arm bone).

How Can A Personal Injury Chiropractor In San Diego Help You Treat Shoulder Pain?

Injury Chiropractor San Diego can help you with your shoulder pain by providing treatment such as chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapy. These treatments will help relieve the pain, reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the affected area.


Many patients find relief from their shoulder pain by getting chiropractic care regularly. The goal of San Diego Car Accident Chiropractor care is to reduce stress on the joints and muscles in the body to function adequately without injury or pain.

Patients who suffer from chronic neck or back pain often experience less pain after receiving regular chiropractic adjustments.

  • Adjustments to correct the alignment of your neck and spine.
  • Massage therapy to relieve muscle tension and stress.
  • Recommendations on exercises to strengthen weak muscles and improve range of motion.
  • Advice on posture and ergonomics to prevent future


Dr. Zach Beatty, DC
San Diego Auto Injury Center

Two Convenient Locations:

Kearny Mesa
7822 Convoy Court
San Diego, CA 92111
National City
241 W. 35th St. Ste B
National City, CA 91950
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