Many doctors and physical therapists claim there’s not much you can do for an AC joint separation. Others believe strengthening the shoulder and perhaps surgery could remove your pain. However, both of these assumptions are unfortunately a common misconception. As you’ll see in the video below, hands-on manual therapy techniques can get rid of AC joint pain. In addition, they can improve shoulder mobility limitations caused by this injury quite quickly.
If you’ve had an AC injury or strain that is still bothering you, call or text us at (512) 693-8849. We can schedule a free on-site consultation with one of our physical therapy experts.
AC Joint Separation Pain Relief Technique
Dr. Carter is an excellent PT. His evaluation was thorough, he explained all of the issues affecting my shoulder, and laid out a cohesive plan of how to address these issues to improve my range of motion. The combination of manual therapyand home exercise have resulted in improved range and I feel empowered to continue this progress. Thank you for the excellent care.
Today I’d like to share a cautionary tale about re-injury that we see very commonly in our physical therapy clinic. People who have been injured but are doing really well with treatment and recovering nicely will start to feel “pretty good.” They return to most of the activities that their pain was keeping the from. They get back on the trail running, playing with their kids around the house, or even go back on the golf course to play the game they love.
At this point, during a PT session, they will often say they “still feel it a little,” but it is not much of a problem. This is where trouble can begin…
Learning the hard way
We know from experience that “pretty good” is not good enough. But at this point, many decide that the pain is so minor, they don’t really need to continue treatment.
I’ll explain exactly why this can cause big problems and cost them a lot more money than if they’d just completed that last 1 or 2 treatments and attained 100% recovery. But first let me tell my own story of making this same type of mistake when I was younger.
I was in Mexico doing some work with local indigenous villages helping them build a school. I ate some local cuisine that I was assured was not washed with their water.
As anyone who has spent time in Mexico knows, even eating eating produce washed with local water can create some serious health issues. I invariably got sick from the cuisine—which was amazing by the way.
This led me to come back to the main city to a hospital because I was getting quite dehydrated from the intestinal issue I was dealing with.
After meeting the doctor, I was given some antibiotics and told very clearly to finish out the prescription even if I was feeling better. Of course, being 20 years old, I took most of the antibiotics but stopped once I felt “good enough.”
What happened next was predictable and quite common. Once I stopped taking the antibiotics, I felt terrible again. This is a lesson we sometimes learn the hard way.
When doctors of physical therapy prescribe a certain amount of treatment, the goal is to ensure every patient gets the right amount of “medicine” we provide.
If you see your treatment through its entire prescription, you give yourself the best chance of recovering fullyand staying 100% better. “Good enough” is not good enough.
How quitting when you feel “pretty good” leads to re-injury
This is because abnormal movement compensations/strains will still be occurring to some degree, and those can build up over time just like they did before. Stopping at “80% better” because you feel “good enough” and you’re no longer limited in your activities can eventually put you back to square one. Unfortunately, this can cost you much more over time and knock you back out of your beloved sport/competition or ability to work.
It is important to see your treatment plan of care through its entirety for these 3 reasons:
Pain is a sign that something is wrong even if it is minimal. When the pain is still there or it returns, it means something is still wrong and should be addressed quickly.
When you see your treatment through til you are completely pain-free, you give yourself the best chance of avoiding re-injury. And that means your pain does not come back in the future.
The body is much quicker to adapt than it is to heal. Adaptations can get in the way of us truly healing and staying 100% better.
So whether you’re getting treatment at our Austin clinic or somewhere else, see your therapy through til you are 100% pain-free. Then you will be able to get back to doing all the things you love. You don’t have to “just live with” pain … even if it’s minor.
I occasionally get the above question, and the short answer is, “Yes, of course.” What people call a “crick in the neck” can come from a few different things, but in my experience, the majority of these painful scenarios occurs when the tissue surrounding a neck joint (called the joint capsule) gets pinched inside the joint. This can happen during sudden head movements, while lifting objects, and also when you sleep with your neck in an awkward position. The joint capsules have a lot of nerve endings and are very sensitive. When this occurs, the reaction of the muscles in the neck is to tighten up and protect the area, which is why a “crick in the neck” almost always has muscle spasms associated with it. These spasms add to the painful, stiff, debilitating condition that, for some, will go away within a few days but for many others will leave some level of tightness and pain for months. This can ultimately turn into a chronically stiff and often painful neck. (more…)
So now that we have a better idea of how fascial distortions can cause pain in the same area, I’d like to explore an example of how they can lead to pain elsewhere in the body. The patient I am about to describe is actually quite common, though I often see patients like him after unsuccessful visits to multiple practitioners. Why? Because the underlying cause of his pain was not in the area he was experiencing symptoms.
One year prior to meeting ‘Mr Smith,’ an avid runner, he had strained his right lower back lifting a heavy box. The discomfort from that injury faded over the next couple months, and since the symptoms were getting progressively better he decided he would not get checked out by a healthcare practitioner. (more…)
My Fascia has a twist, tear, separation, adhesion, or some other sort of distortion from normal … why does that necessarily cause pain? Well, these things Don’t always cause pain. This post is not about the mechanisms of pain generation in the body, so I’ll keep this part brief and simplified, but pain is only experienced if signals from specific types of neurons/nerves are registered by the brain. There are many other details and factors involved in that process, but again, I’m not writing this to describe them. I’m writing to make the point that for a change in the myofascia to cause pain in the same area of the body that it exists, it must directly or indirectly result in these pain signals being sent to the brain.
So how does this happen? There are a number of examples, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just choose one for today … (more…)
I’m starting my posts with a focus on Fascia because I believe it has so much more to do with musculoskeletal pain and injuries than most give it credit. Over time as I write about a variety of injuries and conditions, a common factor in these discussions will be the role Fascia plays, so it makes sense to give some good information about it up front. (more…)