A/C Joint Sprain – What is it & What Can You Do To Heal The term “acromioclavicular sprain” means that you have damaged the strong fibrous bands (ligaments) that hold the end of your collarbone (clavicle) to the tip of your shoulder blade (scapula). Another term sometimes used to describe this injury is “shoulder separation.” 40- 50% of all athletic shoulder injuries involve the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. AC injuries are common in adolescents and young adults who participate in contact sports, like hockey and football. Males are affected five times more often than females. Injuries may range from mild fraying of a single ligament to a complete rupture of all of the supporting ligaments. Significant tears can allow your collarbone to move upward, out of its normal position, creating a raised bump under your skin. AC joint injuries are categorized (Grade 1-Grade 6) based upon the amount of damage. Grade 1 injuries are tender without joint separation. Grade 2 injuries may be accompanied by a slight separation of the joint.

Grade 3 Pain No More with Our Franklin Chiropractor

Grade 3 and above will show significant joint separation. Injuries typically occur following a fall onto the point of your shoulder, while your arm is at your side, or by falling onto your outstretched hand. You will most likely feel pain and swelling on the very top of your shoulder. More significant injuries may produce bruising or a visible “bump” beneath the skin. Moving your shoulder will likely be painfully limited for a while. Your treatment will vary, depending upon the severity of your injury. Grade 1, 2, and most Grade 3 injuries are best managed conservatively. A sling may be used only when needed to control painful movements. Initially, you will need to limit activity, especially reaching overhead, behind your back, or across your body. The exercises described below are an important part of your rehab and should be performed consistently to avoid long- term problems. Using an ice pack for 10-15 minutes each hour may help to limit swelling and pain. Some mild separations will heal by themselves within a week or two. More significant injuries can take longer, and disabilities typically range between one and eight weeks. Patients who have suffered a significant amount of ligament damage may have a permanent bump on their shoulders, regardless of treatment. This bump does not usually cause ongoing problems.

Your Home Exercises The Franklin chiropractor often gets asked “What caused my problem and how do I keep it from returning?” Sometimes the origin of a condition may be easily identified as an accident or injury. More often, the Franklin chiropractor finds that exact cause is more difficult to pinpoint because the problem was generated by a series of seemingly harmless events and circumstances (i.e. your posture, increased activity, mild repetitive strains, etc). Most conditions are started by a “recipe” of irritants rather than any single “ingredient”. Muscle, bone, joint, and nerve problems begin when life’s physical demands exceed your body’s tolerance for those challenges. So the answer to the second half of the “…and how do I keep it from returning” question is answered by increasing your flexibility and strength, so you can increase your “threshold” for future injury. When your injury threshold is greater than life’s demands-you win and stays healthy! The following exercises have been specifically selected by your Franklin chiropractor to assist with your recovery and help minimize future problems. Exercises should be performed slowly and within a relatively comfortable range. Franklin chiropractor tip – Maintain good posture and breathe naturally. Do not hold your breath. Unless otherwise instructed, stop any exercises that cause pain, or radiating symptoms.