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Understanding Arm Pain After a Car Accident

Arm pain from a crash can be attributed to a wide range of injuries

A car accident can happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Immediately following the crash, there can be a period of confusion. You may feel disoriented and confused. At first, you may not even know if you were injured. Some people report feeling discomfort or pain but aren’t sure if it is anything serious.

One example is arm pain. There can be many different causes of this type of discomfort. A person’s arm may have made direct contact with the steering wheel or dashboard. The pain may have been caused by contact with a seatbelt or the deployment of an airbag during impact. Whatever the cause, the result is an injury to a driver or passenger.

Types of injuries that can cause arm pain

There are a wide range of injuries that lead to arm pain, ranging from minor to serious. They include:

Fractures – Fractures or broken bones in the arm can occur during a collision. These fractures can affect various parts of the arm, including the humerus, radius, or ulna. Arm fractures typically cause pain and may be accompanied by visible deformities, swelling, or difficulty moving the affected arm.

Nerve Compression – The arms and shoulders can experience significant force or pressure during a crash. This can lead to nerve compression injuries, such as thoracic outlet syndrome or brachial plexus injuries. These conditions occur when nerves in the neck, shoulder, or upper arm are compressed, resulting in pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected arm. Symptoms may be immediate but can sometimes be delayed.

Dislocations – These injuries occur when the bones in the arm, such as the shoulder joint or elbow, are forced out of their normal positions. Dislocations can cause severe pain, swelling, and restricted mobility in the affected arm. They may also damage the surrounding ligaments, muscles, and nerves.

Rotator cuff injuries – The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. These injuries can result in pain in the upper arm and shoulder region. Common symptoms include weakness, limited range of motion, and difficulty raising the arm.

Compartment syndrome – In this condition, there is increased pressure within the muscle compartments of the arm. This pressure can impede blood flow and lead to intense pain, swelling, and potential nerve damage.

Soft tissue injuries – These injuries include sprains, strains, and tears of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. The sudden force or motion during a collision can cause damage to the soft tissues in the arms. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and reduced arm function.

Contusions and bruises – During a crash, sudden impact or contact with hard surfaces can lead to contusions or bruises on the arms. While not as severe as fractures or dislocations, they can still cause significant arm pain.

Diagnosing arm pain

If you are experiencing arm pain following a car accident, getting medical attention as soon as possible is important. A healthcare provider can determine the cause of the pain and begin treatment for any injuries you have suffered. Diagnosing arm pain may include:

  • A physical examination –A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to assess the range of motion, tenderness, and swelling in the arm. The provider will also check for visible signs of injury, such as bruising or deformities.
  • Imaging studies – Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans may be ordered to visualize the bones, joints, and soft tissues in your arms. X-rays are useful for identifying fractures, while CT and MRI scans can reveal more subtle injuries, such as ligament or nerve damage.
  • Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) – If nerve damage is suspected, NCS and EMG tests can help assess the function of the nerves and muscles in the affected arm.
  • Ultrasound – This imaging technique can be used to assess soft tissue injuries, including muscle and tendon damage.

If complex arm injuries are suspected, or there are complications, a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon may be consulted for further evaluation.

Treating arm pain

Treatment for arm pain depends on its cause and severity. A healthcare provider can determine the proper treatment after a diagnosis is made. But in general, treatment options can involve:

  • Surgery – In cases of severe injuries or structural issues – such as torn ligaments or fractures – surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.
  • Immobilization – The arm may need to be immobilized with a splint or cast to allow proper healing in cases involving fractures, dislocation, or severe sprains.
  • Medications – Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate pain. For more severe pain, prescription medications may be necessary.
  • Physical therapy – This can be effective in treating arm pain to help improve strength, flexibility, and mobility, especially with injuries involving muscle strains or ligament sprains.
  • Rest – Giving the affected arm time to rest is often a part of any treatment.

An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation

Diagnosing and treating arm pain following a car accident can lead to significant medical expenses. This can create financial stress, especially if you are unable to work for some time. If a negligent driver caused the accident that left you injured, you shouldn’t have to pay these expenses. However, recovering compensation can be challenging.

The negligent driver may deny doing anything wrong and refuse to accept any responsibility for what happened. This can leave you in the position of having to prove negligence.

Insurance companies may dispute the seriousness of your arm injury and ask you to undergo an independent medical exam. They may also seek access to your medical history to look for evidence that an injury was pre-existing. Many times, they’ll offer a settlement – one that falls far short of covering all of your damages.

That’s why it’s important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side. At Smith & Hassler, we know how insurance companies operate. We will fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

Our legal team investigates your accident to gather evidence and can build a strong case that insurance companies have to take seriously. We determine all of the damages you suffered, including all current and future medical expenses for treating your arm injury and other damages such as pain and suffering.

We are determined to help you get the best possible outcome. Learn more about how we can help. If you have an arm injury from a car accident in Houston, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “Understanding Arm Pain After a Car Accident.”

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