I’d picture the sufferer of a shoulder separation with his real shoulder actually separated when I was growing up and heard the sports announcer say anything about a player having a shoulder separation. How awful. Could he ever play again?

I’ll be honest: I used to find these stories terrifying. However, since then, I’ve learned that it’s typically not as terrible as it sounds. Shrugging my shoulders (or AC) tears, clavicle fractures, and rotator cuff strains are some of the most prevalent shoulder problems I see. Fortunately, until you can go to a doctor, all of your initial therapy is the same:

  • A sling is used to keep broken bones still so they may heal.
  • Ice packs to minimize edema.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve) are examples of pain relievers.

shoulder-injuries-1-3Despite the fact that there are variations, it’s still beneficial to have an idea of what sort of injury you’re dealing with since certain information may be missing. If it’s going to take a long time for you to get X-rayed and treated by a doctor, here are some pointers:

Clavicle (collarbone) break: If there’s been direct trauma (for example, a fall), and part of the bone is very painful, it’s possible that something has happened to your clavicle. There may be a knot in certain situations. It takes around six weeks for a clavicle fracture to heal. Some people require a surgical plate or pin. A medical professional should establish this.

AC (acromioclavicular) separation: The clavicle is connected to the shoulder by ligaments at the acromion end of the bone. The AC joint may be sore, swollen, and painful to move due to a strain, bruise, or tear in these ligaments, which are usually caused by a direct fall on the shoulder. The AC joint will feel tender, sometimes swollen; it will be difficult to move. Slinging for one to four weeks is typically treatment. If the ligaments are severely damaged (quite rare), healing might take much longer. Of course, see your doctor as soon as possible to determine how serious the damage is and whether anything has been broken.

Rotator cuff strain or tear: The rotator cuff is a bundle of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint. Any one of these can be injured or strained. Place your arm in a sling until you can get expert assistance.

For further information on treating these frequent shoulder problems, as well as how to make a sling from your own garment, see the video above.

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels

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