Shoulder pain and upper back pain can be a major factor in disrupting a person’s daily activities. The shoulders and upper back contain several muscles, ligaments, nerves, arteries, and bones that can cause an abundance of pain when injured from an auto accident.


There are several injuries and conditions that may result from an auto accident, such as, a dislocated shoulder, strained muscles near the neck, and a herniated disk in the cervical area of the spine. The spinal cord is the most crucial area in the upper back that may have serious repercussions if not treated properly. Typically, auto accidents will cause the muscles and ligaments to become inflamed when hit directly, and they will become sore for a number of days, weeks, or months, depending on the type of injury a person sustained.

If suffering from shoulder and upper back pain has become constant, damage to a part of the cervical spine may have occurred during the auto accident. Once the pain begins, a patient’s first priority should be to schedule an evaluation with a chiropractor. A chiropractor may be able to treat many conditions involving the spine and back, and there is no reason for the pain to continue after being treated regularly. Our non-invasive approach to pain relief and injury recovery has proved to have very successful results.

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Shoulder Injuries and Causes of Upper Back Pain

Here are some of the most common injuries that can result from an auto accident.

  • Broken collarbone: Falling on an outstretched arm can cause the collarbone to break
  • Broken shoulder blade: A shoulder blade injury is usually associated with relatively forceful trauma
  • Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff can be injured from consistent throwing or repetitive use
  • Shoulder or A-C separation: The collarbone and shoulder blade can be injured when the ligament connecting them is stretched or torn
  • Whiplash injury: Ligament and muscle strain are results of whiplash and are caused by sudden acceleration or deceleration, as in an auto accident

How Do Chiropractors Assess Shoulder and Upper Back Pain?

When a patient is suffering from shoulder and upper back pain, a chiropractor will typically want to closely examine x-rays or MRI scans and perform a physical examination to make a proper assessment. Measuring the pain is actually one of most difficult things to do for doctors because it’s about communication, and establishing a dialogue about pain between the patient and doctor can be challenging based on the amount of information to obtain in a short amount of time.

Doctors will assess the pain and determine if it is intermittent or constant, what type of pain is occurring (e.g., stabbing, burning, etc.), what triggers pain, when pain is more likely to occur during the day, and how much pain the patient is in on a scale of 0-10. After establishing a dialogue of the patient’s situation and understanding the extent of the pain, doctors will inquire about previous treatments and any medications being taken.

Some doctors may ask the patient to keep a journal of the pain that demonstrates the level of pain that occurs. This will help them better understand the patterns of the condition. A good assessment will help doctors understand what type of treatment will best suit the patient and help relieve the amount of stress they have.

Don’t let shoulder and upper back pain prevent you from participating in life! Depending on your condition, a chiropractor can help. Schedule your free consultation today.

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