4 Types of Motorcycle Accident Shoulder Injuries and One Overlooked Treatment

4 Types of Motorcycle Accident Shoulder Injuries and One Overlooked Treatment

Motorcycle crashes are far too common, and shoulder injuries resulting from those crashes make up a significant portion of injuries seen by ER doctors following collisions with automobiles. Because the shoulder joint mechanism is so complex, injuries are often serious, but even minor motorcycle accident shoulder injuries can cause significant problems. 

Motorcycle shoulder injuries are especially common when the bike hits the ground at such an angle that the shoulder is affected. However, it’s also related to our immediate reaction to catch ourselves as we fall, placing a hand out toward the ground and injuring the shoulder with the impact. Sometimes, the shoulder is not directly involved in the accident, but is injured due to the twisting and stretching of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

This article discusses common motorcycle accident shoulder injuries, their symptoms, and the best treatments for finding relief from pain and disability, including one often overlooked, all-natural treatment.

What Are Some Types of Motorcycle Accident Shoulder Injuries?

Shoulder injuries can cause pain and affect your ability to drive, reach, or raise your hands above your head. These symptoms can at a minimum affect your quality of life, and at the extreme interfere with your ability to perform everyday activities. 

Some of the most common motorcycle shoulder injuries include shoulder dislocation, fractures of the shoulder bones, a torn rotator cuff, and nerve damage.

Shoulder Dislocation from a Motorcycle Accident

If you land directly on your shoulder in a motorcycle accident, it’s possible for the joint to pop out of the socket, resulting in intense pain and damage to the muscles. It may be impossible to move the joint following a shoulder dislocation. 

One study showed that after a motorcycle crash, 15.4% of patients had an upper extremity joint dislocation. 

Dislocation of the shoulder is typically obvious from a visual exam, although x-rays may be required in some instances. In most cases, there will be pain and difficulty moving the joint, while some people experience muscle weakness and numbness. 

Treatment involves moving the joint back into alignment. This typically involves immobilizing the arm for a few days and treating the swelling with ice. In some cases surgery may be necessary as well as rehabilitation to regain function. 

Fractures of the Shoulder Bones from a Motorcycle Crash

A motorcycle accident may result in a fracture of the shoulder bones. The collarbone (or clavicle) as well as the upper portion of the arm or shoulder blade can be broken from a motorcycle crash. Fractures may be difficult to see, but sometimes you may see a bump under the skin if the broken ends of the bone do not line up properly. Fractures are often painful, occasionally resulting in debilitating pain. You’ll experience limited range of motion and swelling. 

The clavicle, which extends from the top of the chest to the top of the shoulder, is a fragile bone that can easily break, even in a fairly minor accident. In most cases, the fractured bone does not require surgery to be repaired. As long as the bone is lined up properly, it can just require that you wear a sling and keep your arm immobile for several weeks. 

Surgical treatment for a fractured shoulder bone is often intense, requiring hardware to be used to hold the bones in place, which may or may not need to be later removed in a separate surgery.

Regardless of whether you have surgery or not, you will need to undergo strict physical therapy and a rehabilitation program to regain strength and mobility. Following your doctor’s orders until you are completely recovered is necessary or you may feel lifelong pain and discomfort.

Torn Rotator Cuff from a Motorcycle Wreck

Your rotator cuff is made up of four separate muscles that wrap over your shoulder. They allow the arm and shoulder to move in a normal range, from reaching behind you to over your head. If you tear one of these muscles in a motorcycle accident, then you may no longer be able to move your arm within that normal range. 

You may experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Inability to lift your arm above shoulder height

An x-ray or MRI is usually necessary to be sure that your injury is a rotator cuff tear. In some cases, your doctor will recommend surgery; however, rehabilitation could include other options, including stretches and exercises, which must be done regularly to see improvement and prevent permanent, irreversible damage. 

Nerve Damage from a Motorcycle Accident

A motorcycle crash often results in nerve damage to the shoulder. The shoulder is filled with delicate nerves that can be injured by bone fragments, swollen tissue, or other problems in the shoulder. Symptoms of nerve damage include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Impinged range of motion

In many cases, nerve damage will repair itself once the other problems have been addressed and the swelling has gone down. However, some cases require rehabilitation that will meet the problem head on. Never leave symptoms of nerve damage for long, waiting to see if they heal on their own. Always see a doctor or specialist who can recommend necessary treatment. If left untreated for a long period of time, your nerve damage could lead to permanent issues, such as the loss of sensation in your arm, hand, or fingers. 

What Type of Treatment Will Help with Motorcycle Shoulder Injuries?

There are many types of motorcycle accident shoulder injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may require different levels of treatment. If you have suffered a shoulder injury in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The sooner you are seen by a doctor, the better your chances are for making a full recovery.

Most people are surprised when they find out that a chiropractor can help with a myriad of shoulder injuries following a motorcycle accident. Of course, you should always see a physician following an accident; however, you should also see your chiropractor, who can provide rehabilitation options that may otherwise be overlooked. 

Chiropractors manipulate the spine, muscles, and joints in a way that can provide relief at the source of the problem. For instance, chiropractic manipulation can reach nerve damage that extends from the spine, even when the symptoms are focused in the shoulder, as all nerves go through the spine before reaching other areas of the body.

A chiropractor can offer relief for inflammation and provide exercises and stretches that will help you work through pain and damage to your normal range of motion. If you have been in a motorcycle accident and are experiencing shoulder pain, then schedule a chiropractic appointment online or call us today to find relief from your symptoms.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.