About AC (acromioclavicular) Joint Pain
The AC joint, or acromioclavicular joint, is the junction where the clavicle, or collar bone, attaches to the shoulder blade. This joint is a small joint that can be felt over the top of the shoulder especially if there has been a previous injury. The AC joint is stabilized by ligaments that can be injured by a direct fall onto the front or top of the shoulder. This type of injury is called an AC joint sprain or separation. It can vary in severity and cause pain that is made worse with shoulder motion or when pressure is applied over the joint.
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Symptoms of AC (acromioclavicular) Joint Pain
The most common cause for an AC joint sprain or separation is a direct fall onto the joint. This injury is common in cyclists. Pain over the AC joint is the most common symptom. There can be a loss of motion as well which is more significant with more severe injuries.
Treatments for AC (acromioclavicular) Joint Pain
Procedural options include cortisone or steroid injections into the AC joint for pain resulting from an AC joint sprain or separation. Ospina Medical also specializes in Regenexx regenerative medicine procedures that include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells that may be able to provide longer lasting pain relief and improved function by stimulating the body’s own natural healing response.
If you are looking to avoid steroids and are seeking a more natural solution for your pain, please book a consultation at Ospina Medical located in Midtown Manhattan. Our specialists are experts in treating orthopedic conditions and offer a variety of treatment options that will get you back to living your life!
AC Joint Pain FAQ
Can AC joint pain heal or go away on its own?
Depending on the severity of the injury, AC joint pain can often heal on its own, usually in about 2 – 4 weeks. If you have continuing or worsening pain after home treatment, it is recommended that you schedule a doctor’s visit.
Do treatments like cortisone, steroid, or Regenexx injections hurt?
No, most patients don’t find the various injection therapies offered at Ospina Medical painful. Our specialists use image guidance to ensure that the treatment goes exactly where it’s needed. We can also apply a topical anesthetic to help make you more comfortable if pain is a concern.
How can I treat AC joint pain at home?
- Ice your shoulder
- Rest your shoulder
- Use an arm sling to limit movement
- Consult your doctor and take over-the-counter pain relievers and NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)
- Engage in physical therapy and shoulder exercises when able
Will I need surgery for my AC joint pain?
Fortunately, most grade 1 – 3 injuries (the majority of AC joint injuries) do not require surgery. That's why we offer multiple effective nonsurgical treatment options for AC joint pain at Ospina Medical. These treatments have been shown to dramatically reduce pain while boosting healing for both acute and chronic AC joint injuries.