How To Treat AC Joint Pain

It is important to know how to treat AC joint pain to recover and to prevent further injuries. On the shoulder blade there is a bony feature called the acromion. The acromion attaches to the clavicle by ligaments and connective tissue. This is known as the AC joint. It is easily injured through sports. Treatment and rehabilitation are critical following such an injury. The treatment for AC joint pain follows the acronym RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  1. Rest the shoulder. The first step for AC joint treatment is to rest the shoulder and to avoid all activities that uses the arms to any great degree. This will allow the swelling in the shoulder to subside.
  2. Apply ice to the shoulder. Next, apply an ice pack, or cold compresses to the shoulder. This will help to control inflammation, and also relieve some of the pain.
  3. Compress the injured shoulder. Use medical tape to wrap the shoulder. If you are not experienced with wrapping an injury, consult a trainer or coach who has experience with treating injuries. This will immobilize the injury and promote healing.
  4. Elevate your shoulder. Lay down on the opposite side of the injury. This will elevate the shoulder above the heart and will help to control the swelling of the joint area.
  5. After the initial AC joint treatment, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor can suggest follow-up treatments ranging from a sling to surgery, depending on the the severity of the injury.
  6. Rehab and strength training is important to prevent further AC joint injury. After fully recovered from the AC joint injury, regular exercise and flexibility training is needed to prevent further damage to the shoulder.
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