A separated shoulder, medically known as an acromioclavicular joint separation, is a common type of injury. It is especially prevalent among athletes, but it can happen to anyone who falls onto their shoulder. As the name suggests, the AC joint separation primarily affects the acromioclavicular joint, a synovial structure that functions to raise the arm above the head. Because shoulder joints are more flexible, they are especially more vulnerable to physical trauma.
This injury often results from participating in contact sports such as football, soccer, cycling, skateboarding, hockey, snowboarding, rugby, parkour, wrestling, and horseback riding. The injury occurs when the soft tissue surrounding the acromioclavicular becomes disrupted, torn, or separated in some way.
This injury is usually classified into these types:
Type 1: In this type, direct trauma causes damage to the ligaments of the joint. This often results in a shoulder sprain.
Type 2: Tearing of the AC ligaments occurs, and there is possible tearing of the coracoclavicular ligaments.
Type 3: A significant, permanent bump forms in this type. The clavicle may fall out of the shoulder.
Type 4: The coracoclavicular ligaments avulses from the clavicle. This type may require surgery.
Type 5: The fibrous tissue of muscle becomes stripped off of the acromion and clavicle.
Type 6: A dislocation of the clavicle’s distal end occurs.
Shoulder pain from an AC joint separation can range from mild tenderness to excruciating pain. The amount of pain will sometimes depend on the type of AC joint separation. The injury is characterized by swelling bruising, bumps, and bluish skin in the affected area. Some people experience a popping sensation from the loose joint.
If you are suffering from an injury, the doctor will first need to perform diagnostic testing to determine the type of injury and the level of severity. Once enough information is gathered, the chiropractor will come up with a plan of treatment that is suitable for the patient. Injuries are typically treated on a case-by-case basis.
Chiropractic care offers non-surgical treatment for an AC joint separation. In a physical therapy program, the patient will be guided to build up muscle and re-stabilize the joint. A strength training program can restore the shoulder’s range of motion. Corrective exercise will target specific areas of tissue damage in order to recover from dysfunction.
NuView Health Medical is a leading Rockefeller Center chiropractic clinic. We serve the NYC areas of Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown East, and Midtown West. If you are looking for a quality chiropractic care center near the 10036 zip code, feel free to contact us at (212) 588-0707.
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