AC joint arthrosis with subacromial spur

by Lee
(Canada)

AC joint spur

Received MRI results and told I have to waith 3 months to see the surgeon.

1. Will the spur have to be removed?

2. There is a full thickness tearing of the supraspinatus tendon. Will this heal on its own?


Hello Lee,
Well, that gives you three months to see if you can rehabilitate this shoulder without surgery.

The AC joint in the shoulder is very prone to arthritis, second only to the thumb. So there's nothing unusual in that spur. It's a question of how large it is, how much it restricts the motion of the AC joint, and what affect it has on the supraspinatus tendon.

Do a little test: raise first your good arm to about 30* in front of you, turn your arm inwards so the thumb points downwards. Now raise your arm to 90* about ten times.

Repeat now with the naughty arm. Can you do it? Is it painful? Does the arm tire much more quickly?

I'm assuming you have pain in the shoulder and restricted range of motion. Can you raise your arm above your head? Forwards and sideways? Can you reach behind you to your bra strap?

As you can see there are many ifs, buts, and maybes.

To be quite honest I can't answer your question without an examination. But it ALWASY makes sense to try the conservative approach, before resorting to surgery.

Two suggestions: start our "Frozen shoulder exercises" - plug the term into the Search this site function at Chiropractic Help. Do them faithfully for a month. If it's improving, keep doing them. If not, start looking (now) for a sports oriented chiropractor, preferably one with a FICS qualification. Contact your local chiropractic association for a name.

I hope this has contributed.

Dr b

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

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Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

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. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

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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