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Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder Injuries

What types of shoulder injuries are there?
Rotator cuff tear

A rotator cuff tear is a term used to describe tears to any one of the four rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder muscles. Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff include:

  • Loss of range of motion in the shoulder

  • Tenderness and pain in the shoulder, especially when reaching overhead

  • Shoulder weakness

  • Crackling sensation when shoulder is in certain positions


Dislocated shoulder

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the shoulder joint comes partially or completely separated from the socket it sits in. A shoulder can dislocate backward, forward, or downward. Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Pain in the shoulder and occasionally down the arm

  • Inability to move the affected shoulder

  • Bruising, swelling, and tenderness

  • Visible deformity of the area

What causes shoulder injuries?

Tears in the rotator cuff are fairly common. Frequently, a torn rotator cuff can be caused when the arm is used to break an impact, like in an auto accident. A hard, direct blow can cause a dislocated shoulder. Since the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints of the body, it is also one of the most frequently dislocated.


How is a shoulder injury diagnosed?

Your doctor will first ask you questions about your accident and physically examine your shoulder. However, if you are in too much pain or the physical examination is inconclusive, your doctor may have you undergo an MRI or other radiological testing.


How do you treat a shoulder injury?

Your doctor may employ a method called closed reduction to attempt to maneuver your dislocated shoulder joint back into the socket. If you are experiencing a large amount of pain and swelling, you may be given pain management medication or (in very severe cases) general anesthesia for comfort. Once your shoulder is back in place, pain will begin to improve immediately. For those with weak shoulders or frequent shoulder dislocations, surgery may be necessary.

Treatment for a rotator cuff injury primarily involves physical therapy. Your physical therapist will provide you with exercises to improve muscle strength and flexibility. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe pain management medication. In some more severe cases, you may require surgery.

What is the recovery time for a shoulder injury?

For a dislocated shoulder, immobilize the area with a sling for a few weeks. Immobilization occasionally results in a condition called frozen shoulder (read about frozen shoulder physical therapy). If surgery is necessary for a torn rotator cuff, recovery time lasts a minimum of six weeks. With a nonsurgical option like physical therapy, recovery time may vary depending on the severity of your injury, your age, and other additional factors.

If you’ve been in a car accident in New Jersey and need treatment for a shoulder injury, please call us at 866-609-4448 or fill out our contact form for a consultation.

Whether your injury is a small one, or is more serious, the staff at Sall Myers Medical Associates has your needs covered.

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