Acromioclavicular shoulder pain – how a chiropractic adjustment may help

Shoulder pain is a common presentation that our chiropractors assess.

The shoulder is a complex and intricate anatomical region – which can be open to a variety of injuries that result in shoulder pain.

A frequent – but usually missed and undiagnosed – cause of shoulder pain involves the acromioclavicular joint.

The acromioclavicular joint is found at the lateral (outer) aspect of the shoulder girdle. It is the articulating union of your clavicle (collarbone) and your acromion (the bony protuberance at the top and outer end of your shoulder).

Your acromion is actually part of your scapula (shoulder blade).

Your AC joint is pivotal for overhead and across body movements. This joint also acts as a weight bearing structure which provides the ability for the arm to transfer forces and resistance to the rest of the body during tasks like lifting, pushing and pulling.

What causes acromioclavicular shoulder pain and joint injuries?

Due to the acromioclavicular joints multiple functions, a variety of causes can result in injury.

AC joint injuries can be divided into two categories – overuse and traumatic.

Traumatic acromioclavicular joint injuries usually arise after a fall where a person lands directly on their shoulder, or they use their hand to brace their fall, and in turn transfer a compressive force up through their arm into their shoulder. Commonly this presentation is seen in athletes who are tackled with their arms locked, people having an accidental fall and tradies who break their falls with an outstretched arm.

Overuse acromioclavicular joint injuries most frequently stem form a history of overuse tasks. This can be seen in patients who perform repetitive tasks that involve bearing some degree of weight that stresses the shoulder region – such as overhead tasks like painting, hammering and prolonged use of a dominant hand/arm.

Signs and Symptoms of Acromioclavicular Joint pain

-tenderness to touch of the lateral shoulder – particularly at the bony protuberance at the top of the shoulder.

-pain with shoulder movement – particularly above the head.

-discomfort and inability to lift/sustain weight with the affected shoulder.

-pain when lying on the affected shoulder.

-decreased ability to move the shoulder through normal ranges of motion.

How our chiropractors can help with acromioclavicular joint pain

If you are in Melbourne and have shoulder pain then we would love to help you.

Our chiropractors are well versed in addressing and improving shoulder pain like acromioclavicular joint pain.

Chiropractic has been proven to be very effective for acromioclavicular joint pain.

While most other professions aim to decrease pain through rest and pharmaceuticals, our chiropractors focus on addressing the underlying cause of AC joint pain.

After a thorough musculoskeletal, neurological and orthopaedic assessment, our chiropractors will assess the alignment of the shoulder and acromioclavicular joint.

If there is a shoulder joint subluxation/misalignment, an adjustment to the shoulder will be performed.

This is an important difference from most other approaches.

By improving the alignment and structure of the shoulder region and acromioclavicular joint, it can allow the biomechanics to function correctly – therefore reducing stress to the joint and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Without correcting any underlying subluxation/misalignment; movement or rehabilitative exercises may only cause further irritation and stress to the joint and articulating structures.

Put simply – structure determines function. This adage holds true not only with any part of the body, but across anything that requires precision engineering – your body is no different.

At Sims & Finn our chiropractors utilise Neuro-structural correction which may help address your concerns.

We focus on finding and correcting the primary cause of your symptoms.

Along the way, our chiropractors will equip you with the knowledge and tools to be able to create habits that strengthen your spine.

  1. Kiner, A. (2004). Diagnosis and management of grade II acromioclavicular joint separation. Clinical Chiropractic, 7(1), 24-30.
  2. McHardy, A., Hoskins, W., Pollard, H., Onley, R., & Windsham, R. (2008). Chiropractic treatment of upper extremity conditions: a systematic review. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 31(2), 146-159.
  3. Robb, A. J., & Howitt, S. (2011). Conservative management of a type III acromioclavicular separation: a case report and 10-year follow-up. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 10(4), 261-271.
  4. Moreau, C. E., & Moreau, S. R. (2001). Chiropractic management of a professional hockey player with recurrent shoulder instability. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 24(6), 425-430.

Our chiropractors helps people from Dandenong, Doveton, Cranbourne, Springvale, Springvale South, Keysborough, Noble Park, Dandenong North, Dandenong South, Bangholme, Lyndhurst, Eumemmerring, Hallam, Hampton Park, Braeside, Berwick, Beaconsfield, Rowville, Belgrave, Lysterfield, Harkaway, Narre Warren North, Narre Warren South, Narre Warren, in addition to all over Victoria.