Are you experiencing sudden pain in your shoulder? This pain may be a signal of an AC joint separation. The AC joint connects the shoulder blade and collarbone and is responsible for overhead motions. If you damage this joint with overuse during sports or strenuous physical activity, it can significantly impact your overall quality of life. Here are three signs of an AC joint separation and how you can seek treatment for relief.

Severe Pain with Swelling

If you have an AC joint separation, you may experience severe pain along with swelling in your arm or shoulder. These symptoms can become worse while lifting heavy objects or sleeping on your side. You may find a limited range of motion when you try to move your arm in an upward direction. Swelling can be reduced through the application of ice packs or cold compresses within 48 hours of the injury and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.

Shoulder Instability

An AC joint separation can also cause shoulder instability. You may feel weakness in your arm similar to the feeling of a pinched nerve. This may cause you to become unable to bear weight with your shoulder or use the affected area at all. Some individuals may experience a popping noise when lifting the injured shoulder.

Changes in Appearance

Changes in appearance can occur with an AC joint separation. You may notice one shoulder hanging lower than the other or a protrusion at the top of the shoulder. In some cases, a shoulder bump can lead to the collarbone poking out of the skin. You may notice bruising and redness of the skin at the affected area.

AC Joint Separation Relief

An AC joint separation is easily treatable. Effective treatment options can include rest, cold compresses, braces, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and surgery in severe cases. Recovery can last anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the severity of the condition. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Struhl specializes in treating shoulder injuries and AC joint separation with advanced treatments and surgeries customized for an individual’s unique health needs. Get relief for your shoulder pain by scheduling an appointment for an examination today.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD