Cutting out risky sports activities and being more careful when we are using our shoulders may be a reality for some of us, and more so at certain times than others. However, it is likely that something will happen if high impact sports and our daily activities require us to use our shoulder in heavy lifting on a regular basis. That is where physical therapy and health care comes in. It should be noted that, like with other injuries, our chances for re-injuring and developing chronic conditions to the injured area like arthritis goes up after injuring whatever part of the body that we initially injured. So it is good to try and prevent an ac joint injury as much as possible. I try to keep this in mind whenever I am lifting something at work. Usually I can figure out another way to do the job a little safer. Even if it takes a little more time now how much for time would recovering from an injury take?
This article will explore its definition, symptoms, and different ways to treat acromioclavicular joint injury. It is my hope that this article might offer something that can help you or someone you know live life in a healthier and happier way. Smile! :-)
What is Acromioclavicular Joint Injury?
Symptoms of Acromioclavicular Joint Injury
- general shoulder pain and swelling
- swelling and tenderness over the ac joint
- weakness in the shoulder
- a visible bump above the shoulder
- pain when laying on the injured side
- inability to move the shoulder in normal range
- popping sound or catching sensation when moving the injured shoulder
- discomfort during daily activities that involve using the shoulder
- lifting above the head
- moving the arm across the body
- carrying heavy objects at your side
How is Acromioclavicular Joint Injury Diagnosed?
- A thorough review of the patients medical history
- questions regarding the pain initial occurrence, and what activities aggravate and relieve the pain
- a physical therapist will examine your shoulder assessing
- range of motion
- the therapist will perform several tests specific to the shoulder joint
- the therapist may ask you to reenact the activities, motions, or positions that cause you pain
- the near by areas like the neck and the upper back will also be examined to see if they are contributing to the pain
- x-ray, ultrasound, or MRIs are often used to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the injury
How do we treat Acromioclavicular Joint Injuries?
- range of motion
- once your therapist has assessed your current range of motion and some goals have been set , he/she will prescribe range of motion exercises that are appropriate for joint protection and range of motion restoration
- strength training
- your therapist will design a plan that will help strengthen all the muscles surrounding the shoulder, so that they might aid in properly supporting the injured area
- weakness in the surrounding areas can contribute to injury because all the muscles of the body help or hinder each other to work in a healthy and balance manner
- ideally no one muscle is overwork from another not doing its job
- manual therapy
- some areas of this injury may be difficult to treat with your own effort of movement, in this case, your physical therapist can gently move and mobilize your shoulder joint and surrounding area if needed to help improve your motion, flexibility, and strength.
- Pain management
- ice and heat to aid in managing the pain may be recommended
- functional training
- teaching your shoulder to work best in different position due to the great amount of stress that is often put on such a small joint
- for example, lifting over the head with poor coordination places undue stress on the ac joint, and can be diagnosed and corrected trough instruction from your physical therapist
- the first step to recovery is rest
- this varies depending on the degree of your injury
- your physical therapist will create a personalize plan for your rehabilitation, to eventually return you to your desired daily and recreational activities
- in order to prevent further injury as much as possible, you must retain what you learned during your rehabilitation, and take active steps to recall best movement practices when put in a situation where activity involving the shoulder and surrounding area is required
- the first step to recovery is rest
Read the full article “Physical Therapist's Guide to Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries” from the American Physical Therapy Association here:
How Virabhadrasana II Can Help Us Care for Acromioclavicular Joint! :-)
One of the greatest benefits that I have found with Virabhadrasana II is that you can train you shoulders to align in a healthy way for not just other more difficult postures in yoga like Chaturanga Dandasana or plank pose or four limbed staff pose, but for daily activities that requires lifting or strenuous reaching of the arm and shoulder. The trick comes when you point your arms forward, rotate your hands palm up, you should feel your shoulders reach toward each other on you back, then rotate your palms down.
- Avoid practicing Virabhadrasana II if
- high blood pressure
- neck problems
- don't turn your head and look over your front hand, instead look forward with each side of the neck evenly stretched
- Standing in Tadasana, also known as mountain pose or standing pose ( Learn more about tadasana and its benefits here: http://forselflove.weebly.com/blog/-how-to-make-2016-a-great-year-how-to-love-yourself-with-healing-and-hope )
- step your left foot back about three and a half feet, and turn your left foot out about 45 degrees to your left
- bend your right leg, so that you lower and upper leg forms a right angle. The knee should be directly above the ankle.
- raise your arms along your sides so that your right hand is pointing forward as if it were a spear, and your left is pointing behind you in a similar fashion
- look over your right hand if comfortable, otherwise look straight to your left
- Alignment: rotate your hands palm up. You should feel your shoulders reach toward each other on you back, then rotate your palms back down.
- Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable, switching sides, taking the same amount of time on each side
- once you are done with both sides step back to tadasana, smile, and thank your body for carrying you through your practice today
Here is an article from the Yoga Journal that provides more information and a video demonstration of Virabhadrasana II: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-ii-pose/
I hope this article has provided you with some useful knowledge about how to identify and treat Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury for yourself and the one's you love. Seek medical attention if you are hurting physically to an unreasonable measure. Make sure that you are honest with yourself, letting go of stubbornness. Otherwise you risk short term or long term injury. If you are not able to do this ask someone who cares about your well being that you feel will be honest with you. Always be very careful when addressing bodily injury.
If there is ever anything that you would like to hear about please let me know in the comments area here or on the Facebook group “For the Love of Self.” I am always happy to hear comments on how to improve or to hear what you enjoyed about the current article. May your ac joint be relieved! :-) Have a wonderful week! Do your best to take care of your shoulders, so that you might be happy, healthy, and productive throughout your days! Aaron Szczurek <3 :-)