Shoulder injury from car accident 4 months ago still hurts

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Hello all, I was in a roll over car accident about 4 months ago and my shoulder hurt pretty bad right afterwards due to the seatbelt. The docs took xrays but nothing on it. I had several weeks off from work and thought the pain was getting better. Ever since returning, the pain has come back and has not gone away. I finally went back to the doctor about a month ago and they prescribed me some ibuprofen and muscle relaxer and also referred me to physical therapy. Well, a month into physical therapy, the shoulder really still hurts. It's hard to lift my arm and do overhead activities. It's also hard to reach in the back and put on my coat for example. Any kind of pressure on it makes it sore and it feels pretty weak now. I was told from worker's comp to possibly ask a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon but I am not sure I want to go down that road. I am thinking of asking the doc to order an MRI. Any suggestions or similar stories? Maybe I should just stick with physical therapy for awhile or take action? 

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  • Posted

    First, I am sorry to hear about your accident & shoulder pain. Based on my experience with one torn rotator cuff & a fractured shoulder, an MRI will show the physician what is going on with all the soft tissue in the shoulder including the rotator cuff. That would be my suggestion for your next step. Best wishes on your recovery.

    Linda

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  • Posted

    In my experience (fracture from landing on my shoulder, motorcycle accident), the x-ray wasn't helpful but the MRI indicated exactly what was broken.  The sooner you find out what is going on in your shoulder, the quicker you can start recovery. I had surgery (hemiarthroplasty) in Aug. 2014, recovery is very slow and still doing a great deal of physio but improving.  Full range of motion, I am told, won't be obtained but mobility has improved with lots of work.  Best of luck. 
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  • Posted

    Hallo

    I am waiting for an MRI scan on my right shoulder.I have been offered some physio at the local hospital next month but until the scan shows just what is wrong I am doubtful whether this will help recovery.I would definitely ask for a scan

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the responses. I asked my physical therapist what he thought and he said he didn't think it was a good idea. He said sometimes you get MRIs and the doctors will use it to talk you into surgery when you don't need it. Especially if you make an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon. I am kinda worried about that and I can see it happening but at same time, I want to know what's wrong.
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  • Posted

    Hi - in your circumstance, I would go for the MRI.  I had physio first, after just an Xray, which was agonising, no-one knew how serious the rotator cuff tear was until I had the scan four months later.  I have since seen three surgeons, the keyhole surgery failed and the other two surgeons have refused to try again.  Personally, I would be so grateful to have surgery instead of having to live the rest of my life with two torn tendons.  Regards, Graham
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  • Posted

    So I did get an MRI done and it didn't show anything wrong. Maybe it's more of a frozen shoulder type thing. My shoulder has started to feel better so I decided to try and not take the muscle relaxer that the docs prescribed me the other night. My shoulder hurt a little in the morning which it normally doesn't if I take the pill before bed. By the end of the day, it hurt so bad again which was fustrating. I feel like I can move it a little better because of physical therapy but it was fustrating that it hurt again like it did just because I didn't take the muscle relaxer. So i'm not sure what that means. My other shoulder has started to feel strained as well and I'm sure its because the injured shoulder has hurt for so long. The doctors have said its just muscle strain and since the MRI didn't show anything, perhaps it is. I don't really think there is anything else I can do at the moment. Last time I went to the doctors, I was able to move my arms fairly good despite some pain so the docs said I didn't have to come back since my range of motion was good and just continue physical therapy. There are days where my shoulder does feel better and days that it doesn't. It doesn't seem to hurt as much after work now but it was pretty bad the other day and I assume it's because I didn't take the muscle relaxer. I hate having to take medications if I can help it but looks like I need it still. 
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  • Posted

    I was in a car accident about 3 1/
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  • Posted

    Did you ever figure out what the issue was? I am having the same troubles but I am going on 7 months since the accident. The MRI showed nothing and physical therapy hasn't helped. Do you have any advice as to what made the pain go away?

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    • Posted

      Sounds very similar to mine. And even to this day I still have pain although at least in my case I am starting to wonder if the doctors were really right about it just being muscle pain to some extent. I have recently started going to a boxing gym and learning how to box. I have found that boxing is a great workout sport to get in shape but also has fantastic shoulder exercises that are definitely more vicious than physical therapy. Some days my shoulder hurts going to the gym but after working out the shoulder and everything else, I find that my shoulder feels better after the physical exercises. The physical exercises I do for boxing target each of the shoulder muscle groups. Its quite amazing. Strange because it definitely hurts during the workouts and I really have to push myself through it but really does feel better afterward just feels fatigued but not pain after workouts. I asked the boxing trainer what his opinion was and he said the exercises help loosen the muscles and naturally makes them stronger too. I always have to use 1 to 2 pound weights during workouts too. I've been doing this for about 2 months now and while shoulder generally hurts on days it does feel better too. Now I am not saying to go try out boxing. It's a hard sport and not for everybody however I am desperate to get rid if the shoulder pain and do not want to live with it forever. I feel like the workouts I do during boxing will make it stronger and help fix it. But will take time and patience and determination! Not to mention boxing is far more fun then physical therapy and heck of a lot cheaper. It very much helps that I can go to the gym anytime I want and get personal one on one time with the trainer. Everybody is different so I am not sure what pain u may be having but don't lose hope! I've seen so many doctors and have since had several MRI on neck and another one on shoulder. Everything turned out normal. Physical therapy helped some but not enough. So I am trying to find my own conservative ways to deal with it. I feel like my shoulder muscles are very weak and tight from being injured. It's been over 2 years since the accident happened so I am really hoping boxing can help me in more ways than one.

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    • Posted

      Might be AC joint separation. A collar bone is attached to your scapula on the top of your shoulder by a ligament. There is a study somewhere on the internet which says that the seatbelt squeezes the collar bone real hard during a car crash. It is similar as if you fall directly onto your shoulder. Once the ligament gets torn even partially, it is a bitch to heal. Everyone is different and every injury is different. So some people recover in 8 weeks, some on 3 months, some in 9 or 14 months. Usually the collar bone rises a bit hence you have a bump on your houlder. The bump and underlying ligament is tender to touch and irritated. The whole process of recovery can really last as long as 14 months to get full ROM and be painless. I am now 9 months after AC separation grade 1-2 and some 95% recovered. But 3rd to 4th month of recovery was painfull like hell. Soreness, cramps in my arm during nights, could not ride bike or do any sports, numbness in my arm, etc. One of the worst and most painfull and long lasting injuries to heal in my life. First I thought it is like a sprained ankel. It is 10 times worse. Not in the beginnig but 2 to 3 months after the injury. Some recover quick and easy but some recover painfully and looong. After 10 months I seem to be almost good, but I was thru horrible pain at times with this injury. Good luck with your recovery.
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    • Posted

      Probably a ligament tear would show on MRI but a ligament sprain, a ligament that was stratched never shrinks back again, would not show. The problem with that AC joint area is that by default there is not much room around but still underneath there is a nerve for the whole arm. So often times it all leads to a shoulder inpingement syndrome that can bother you for months. If interested, try to search for the study on AC joint sprains and separations by seatbelt in car accidents.
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    • Posted

      There are just some quick hits on the search I made:

      http://opensample.info/acromioclavicular-joint-sprain-and-its-prevalence-with-whiplash-injuries

      If you search more, you will find more evidence and also studies that MRI very often shows nothing with this kind of soft tissue injuries. My personal explenation to which I arrived based on my injury experience is the following. Once the ligament is stretched even a little, it never comes back. Meaning in the AC joint, the collar bone goes up even a tiny bit is enough. All of u sedden the whole shoulder are, being a complicated complex of many joints functioning as one, has different proportions, ratios and lengths. This severly impacts the mechanics of all the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments, etc. All of these soft tissues must work hard to compensate and modify for the changed ratios in this complicated engine. Plus the nerve can get pinched in this process od adaptation/modification. All of this takes months to reset again to some new functional mechanical complex. Muscle memroy that have been used for years in that are is off. In my opinion all of this happens even if the collar bone changes its place by 1 mm.

      My orthopedist also told me that I cannot have any more pain and shoulder problems if I am already 6 moths after the injury. Told me it is all heald by now and sent me home. Though I was in pain.

      On the internet, people usually advice to stay away from the surgery, just makes things worse in most cases.

      Another link:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977376/

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