Collar Bone Pain
The pain in the collar bone might be as a result of many underlying factors. The clavicle bone might be suffering from war and tear or it might be broken. This might be one of the reasons why people experience collar bone pain. In addition to that, the surrounding ligaments might also be injured or there might be an underlying condition that has not been detected. This is why before you resort to any form of treatment, you should consult with your doctor and get a diagnosis of the underlying condition. This article shows some of the common causes of clavicle pain, what causes them, how they are different and some of the best treatment options.
The collar bone is 15cm long and connects the arm to the body, usually through two joint sin the body. The two joints are the sternoclavicular joint and acromioclavicular joint. The sternoclavicular joint is located at the inner end with the breastbone, which is also known as sternum. Acromioclavicular joint on the other hand, is found at the outer end with part of the shoulder blade. This is known as acromion.
Both two joints are held and surrounded by strong ligaments which are responsible for holding them in place. In addition to that, neck and shoulder muscles attach these joints to the clavicle.
Common causes of Collar Bone Diseases
Clavicle pain mostly occur as a result of damage on the collar bone or its surrounding soft tissues. Some of the most common causes of clavicle pain include the following;
- Broken collar bone
A broken collar bone can cause intense pain and discomfort to an individual. The most common cause of collar bone pain is clavicle fractures. Moreover, the collar bone is the common bone in the body to break. Clavicle fractures are easy to treat and mostly, they completely heal within three months.
Causes of broken collar bone
The most common cause of a broken collar bone is when one falls on his or her shoulders. A thud on the floor can cause breakage in the collar bone. In addition to that, an outstretched arm is also another cause of broken collar bone. Direct blow to the collar bone is also another cause of a broken collar bone.
You can detect a symptom of a broken collar bone by placing gentle pressure on the bone and spread it across the shoulder. If you feel a lump over the fracture which is limiting the shoulder movement, it might be that the collar bone has broken. This deformity is usually accompanied by a clicking sound. You feel as if the collar bone has cracked.
Most of the time, clavicle fractures are treated without necessarily undergoing a surgical procedure. This condition is corrected using a sling and physical therapy. The sling helps in putting the restructured bone in place, whereas physical therapy requires you to constantly visit the doctor to get an examination on whether or not the healing process is going on well. In severe cases, surgery may be required to help in putting back the pieces together.
Collar bone fracture usually takes about 3-6 weeks in children and 6-12 weeks in adults. By the end of the third month, you should have fully recovered. However, the recovery process also depends on the severity of the injury.
- ACJ Ligament Injury
Acromioclavicular Joint, ACJ, is a type of joint that is held in place by four ligaments. If by any chance any of these ligaments get damaged, then it can result to instability and pain in the clavicle. If you are experiencing extreme pain, then it means that the ACJ ligaments is partially torn, ruptured or is overstretched.
Causes: this ligament injury occurs when you fall on your shoulders when your arms is by your side. It also comes about as a result of repetitive heavy lifting.
Symptoms: there is restricted movement particular when you want to lift heavy things, push and pull.
Treatment: if you are suffering from minor ACJ ligament injury then a sling is recommended. You only need the sling on for about 2-3 weeks, and join a physical therapy as part of your treatment regime. If by any chance the ligaments have completely raptured then a surgery will be needed.
Recovery: unlike bones, ligaments take much longer to heal after an injury. This is because they have a poor supply of blood, hence it can take several months for one to heal from an ACJ ligament injury.
- Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis
Another cause of collar bone pain is arthritis, which is the inflammation and degeneration of bones and cartilage of the ACJ. ACJ arthritis results to a space between two bones, the clavicle and the acromion. Usually, this space should not be there because it is mean to keep the surfaces of the bones smooth. However, when the space develops, it reduces the surface of the bone and becomes bumpy instead of smooth.
Causes: the main causes are prolonged over-the-head activities such as construction work or weightlifting. It may also occur as a result of aging.
Symptoms: you might start experiencing mild to moderate collar bone pain close to the shoulder. This may spread throughout to the chest and the shoulder causing excessive discomfort. If you try to reach across your chest, the pain becomes even worse.
Treatment: modify or reduce the over-head activities that you are engaged in on a daily basis. Physical therapy might also help in getting you back in shape after a few sessions. Anti-inflammatory injections and medications also work as part of the treatment plan. However, if the case is severe then a surgery may be advised, where a small part of the collar bone will be removed so that there is more space between the acromion and the clavicle.
Recovery: strengthening muscles and ensuring that you obtain a good posture are some of the best way to help you recover from the AC joint arthritis. This is because good posture takes the pressure of the AC joint and reduces both inflammation and pain to a manageable level.
Above are, but are not limited to the causes of collar bone pain. In addition to that, there are other rare causes of clavicle pain, which include bone tumor and thoracic outlet syndrome. The bone tumor might be malignant or benign, whereas the thoracic outlet syndrome is where there is compression in the arteries, veins and nerves, in the space between the collar bone and first rib.