Keywords; acromioclavicular joint, chiropractic help, arm pain, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff strengthening.
The AC joint acts as a pivot giving stability to the shoulder girdle. It's key in the Chiropractic Help understanding of arm pain.
Your shoulder consists of four joints, one of which is the Acromio-Clavicular joint. The acromion is the bone at the highest point of the scapula, right at the tip of your shoulder, lying just above the socket.
The acromion, part of the shoulder blade or scapula, articulates with the collar bone, or clavicle at this joint.
The AC joint contains a small disc and is particularly prone to wear and tear, or arthrosis. It is second only to the thumb in the arthritis stakes. Most people by the age of 40 have a degree of degenerative change within the joint, which contributes greatly to the syndromes causing limited shoulder range of motion, so common in the 50 plus patient. This is why chiropractic care of the AC is so important, to keep it free and mobile.
During shoulder movements, the clavicle rotates, mediated by the Subclavius muscle. This little muscle sits right under the collar bone, having a very important function in all movements of the shoulder.
Can you see it below the clavicle - collarbone - in pink?
The collar bone is firmly attached to the Acromion and the Coracoid process by very strong ligaments. So strong that often the collarbone will fracture, rather than the ligaments tear. It's fortunate because bones heal better than ligaments.
Here you can see the upper arm ( Humerus ), the Clavicle and three parts of the Shoulder Blade (Scapula):
When raising the arm above the head, the scapula rotates, the collar bone acting a strut, connecting the shoulder to the sternum, or breast bone, giving stability and support to the shoulder girdle.
A fall on the shoulder drives the acromion downwards whilst the collar bone is held up by strong neck muscles, the trapezius and the sternocleidomastoideus, rupturing the AC joint capsule.
Likewise falls onto the outstretched hand can transmit enormous forces to the AC joint; either the ligaments anchoring the clavicle to the scapular may be torn; a strain, partial or complete rupture. The AC may rupture, or the clavicle itself may fracture. Usually these heal with immobilisation in a sling for three weeks, with strapping of the AC joint though occasionally surgery may be required. Many sportsmen have ruptured AC ligaments, allowing the clavicle to pop up. It looks serious, but most attest to the fact it gives little trouble after a few months.
Notice the space between the ball of the humerus and the overhanging acromion. It's through this space that the tendon of the very important supraspinatus muscle passes.
Very occasionally tumours of the lung may invade the shoulder. Smoker? Expect trouble, because it's coming.
Chiropractors are trained to adjust and mobilise the AC joint, vital for the management of shoulder conditions such as Frozen Shoulder , when it feels as though the AC-joint has turned to concrete, causing severe arm pain.
Chiropractic help treatment of many other shoulder conditions, all of which may cause arm pain, such as Rotator Cuff syndrome are also dependent on correction of any AC-joint fixations.
The Acromioclavicular joint is the second most likely (after the thumb) structure to become arthritic. In part, because of so much use - every time you move your arm - and partly because of so many falls on the arm and shoulder.
New research is now proving that when a joint becomes fixated, fluids vital for the healthy nutrition of the joint cartilage are not adequately replenished. This leads to diminished oxygen and nutrients and a build up of noxious wastes in the joint. For more about Immobilisation Arthritis click here. IMMOBILISATION ARTHRITIS ...
DASH - Disability Arm Shoulder Hand
Many folk find it very difficult to assess just how bad their arm pain is. The Quick Dash score gives you a more objective measure of your pain.
Legendary shoulder expert, Dr Neer, proposed that degeneration of the acromioclavicular joint may contribute to subacromial impingement and a number of other authors have supported this hypothesis. Arthritic spurs that protrude inferiorly from the undersurface of a degenerative acromioclavicular joint can contribute to irritation where the supraspinatus tendon passes beneath the AC.
In 1977, Kessel and Watson brought additional attention to the acromioclavicular joint as a cause of subacromial impingement. They found that patients who had so called painful arc syndrome could be divided into three categories.
Approximately two thirds of the ninety seven patients in the study had lesions of either the posterior or the anterior aspect of the rotator cuff. All of these patients had resolution of the symptoms after subacromial injection of a local anesthetic and a steroid or division of the coracoacromial ligament.
The remaining patients had pain in the superior aspect of the rotator cuff, which usually was associated with degeneration of the acromioclavicular joint. The authors found that excision of the distal one centimeter of the clavicle provided consistent relief of the discomfort.
Penny and Welsh subsequently found that osteoarthrosis of the acromioclavicular joint can lead to failure after the operative treatment of subacromial impingement. However, resection of the AC should not be performed routinely for all patients; rather, the joint should be operated on only if the patient has symptoms in the region of the joint and if osteophytes definitely contribute to pain when raising the arm. See the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, volume 1854, for more details.
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Interesting challenges of the day
1. Mr D has very severe midback back. He bent and twisted, feeding his son, and then laughed. Every breath is a nightmare. A sprung rib is every chiropractor's delight. He or she has golden hands. 30 percent better after one treatment.
2. Mrs C has a long history of severe, disabling migraine headaches since having her wisdom teeth removed. She clenches her teeth at night. After six treatments she has no migraines but some jaw joint discomfort remains; a bite plate is in the offing.
3. Mrs U has the trophy for the worst back this year. After major surgery with plates and screws two years later she still had paresis in the lower leg and severe disabling back pain. She's doing far better than expected, in no little part due to a lift in her shoe for a very short leg.
4. Mr V is 86 years old and hurt his back helping his wife into the car. Just one treatment of the sacroiliac joint and he's eighty percent better. It's not always like that.
5. Mr W lay on his back knocking down a pillar. Turning his head causes severe vertigo. He needs the Epley exercises, not pills, research shows. Update, he's fine.
6. I myself had an acute exacerbation of a femoral nerve lesion last year. One immediate treatment by my colleague has fixed the pain in the lower back, but there's some residual numbness in the lower leg; no soaring tomorrow alas.
7. This lady is a 86 year old woman with a 63 scoliosis. Chronic lower back has been her lot in life but she's well pleased with chiropractic and comes for chiropractic help once a month; some conditions you can never cure.
8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.
9. A 61 year old man with upper cervical pain yesterday; it's not severe but also not getting better of its own accord. He's afraid it may turn very acute as when I treated him three years ago. Since then it's been fine.
10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.
11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.
12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.
13. Mrs B has had one of the nastiest of conditions; vertigo caused by a disturbance in the inner ear. Falling repeatedly and vomiting she consulted her doctor but medication didn't help. After two sessions of the Epley manoeuvres she was 50 percent better. After two weeks 75 percent improved. No longer vomiting all falling. She's not enjoying the Brandt Daroff home exercises.
And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.
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