Collar bone cracking and pain

For a while now everytime I go to do a push up my right collar bone starts to pop and crack and it hurts. I never thought about it that much but I ride horses so shoulders back is a very important thing so earlier today while sitting on my desk I went to roll my shoulders back and I felt that popping pain.

I put my hand over my right clavicle bone and I can feel it popping when I go to roll it back. With the popping comes pain.

Hello Savanah,
There are two joints involving the clavicle. One at the sternum and the other at the tip of the shoulder; I presume you mean the latter, known as the acromioclavicular, or AC, joint.

The joint is subluxating when you place it under stress. It means that the ligaments stabilising the joint have been stretched or ruptured, usually by a fall on the outstretched arm. It's just one of the reasons that chiropractors take a serious dislike to falls off horses. Serious injury is all too common.

There's no easy solution; if it goes on clicking like that, it will become arthritic, and spurs often tear the supraspinatus tendon. The rule is, try not to do actions that make it click. That probably means no more pressups.

The ligaments can be surgically shortened but it's no simple procedure.

The joint will gradually stiffen as the cartilage degenerates but it won't necessarily be less painful.

My best advice to avoid those situations that make it click. I would recommend talking to the medical world to see what they suggest.

Dr B

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Dec 30, 2021
Dr Clown
by: Anonymous

I see this clown attacking an anon user when some people do not wish to sign up for this trash. The particular anon user called the "DR" out for their crap and then tried to throw it back on them. I hope you know people can see through your sh*t.

Phew, so much anger! I seriously hope Medicine does the wonders you are expecting from it.

Dr Clown has been in practice for 41 years; one does learn a few things if you have an inquiring mind.

Jun 05, 2018
Response to "Dr B"
by: Anonymous

Dr B, you clown. What kind of advice is "just don't use it" and "there really is no solution"? Then you recommend to go see a medical professional. People come on forums to get information ,not to be told to ask a doctor. No sh*t, everyone knows they should also ask a doctor. And yes, there is chiropractic adjustments, as well as injections and physical therapy that can reverse a lot of that damage. Rest, in many case, is the key. Don't listen to absolute morons who discourage you.

Mm, why 'anonymous'? Have the courage of your convictions to put your name to your letter.

Not sure that name calling adds much to the debate, but if it makes you feel better, that's fine.

Unfortunately it's not clear what letter of mine you are referring to. I have no idea of the age of the patient, or what the complaint was.

It's a sad fact but in my opinion, there are some conditions to which there is no solution. And accepting that, instead of continually hunting for yet another pot of gold, another treatment, a third operation, more medication... is the beginning of healing.

"Just don't use it". I have no idea what you are referring to. It's nothing I've written on this page. Is not using a tissue that's been injured for a period not rest?

You'd be astonished how many folk write to this column who have had pain for a year or more and not consulted a doctor of any ilk; I wish you were right, but not everyone knows.

Dr Moron/ Clown

Jun 04, 2018
by: Anonymous

Im 56 yrs old; about 6 weeks ago I was coughing pretty hard and suddenly felt pain in my right collarbone. It's been sore every day since this. About 2 weeks after, I felt my collar bone POP while I was gardening. I was bent forward on my hands and knees pulling weeds. Since then, my collar bone pops all the time and its very painful. The pain is also in my side of the neck and shoulder.Some nights while sleeping, if I go to roll over, I can't! My neck wont let me move! I literally have to use my other hand to lift my neck. The pain is a 10.

Apologies for the long delay; I missed this.

There are two collarbone joints, one at the sternum, and the other at the acromion, or shoulder. Which is popping?

It's not clear whether this is really a neck or collarbone problem. In theory it could be both, but that's unlikely.

It's now quite a long period, so let me ask a few questions; if you turn your head from side to side, look up, tilt your head, do you still get pain in the neck, and does it go down your arm?

Popping sounds that come after an injury to one of the collarbone joints are not uncommon, an unstable joint; usually it's not particularly painful, but if it continues, you need an orthopaedic opinion.

If that neck is still hurting, then it's certainly time to see a local chiropractor. An x-ray is probably indicated.

Sorry again about the delay.

Dr B

Apr 22, 2018
I Hear A Snap In My Neck & Collar Bone
by: Anonymous

Whenever I turn my neck to the right, I hear and feel the loud snap in my neck on the left that radiates into my collar bone on the left. It literally can be heard by others and it sounds like someone is snapping a pencil in half.

Sorry this is so delayed, you've written on someone else's thread so it was missed.

Odd sounds from the neck are not terribly significant, unless they cause pain, headaches, or symptoms like tingling in the arm.

That radiation to the collarbone area may be the beginning of such symptoms. If it's still snapping, then it's time for a thorough examination.

Mar 26, 2018
Right shoulder joints pops, grinds, and crunches
by: Anonymous

I'm 26 years old, have mild lumbar thoracic levoscoliosis (15 degrees). I'm right handed and used to work on the computer a lot (but not anymore, resigned from my work 2 months ago)

I have tight knots on my right shoulder, it also feels weaker compared to my left. What really bothers me though is the continuous crunching and popping sound my right shoulder makes whenever I move it upward or downward. I've done 8 physical therapy sessions but it doesn't seem to help. My x-ray doesn't show anything.The crepitus is not painful but my feeling on my shoulder is very uncomfortable.

You've joined someone else's thread, so missed this. Sorry.

If that crunching and popping sound is between the scapula and the ribcage, it's generally not considered to be of much significance. However, if it's in the one of the smaller shoulder joints, it may be important.

Start by making sure your right elbow is supported when doing mouse work. Either a chair with an arm rest, or put the mousepad right at the back of the desk so your elbow rests on the desk.

A 15 degree scoliosis is quite significant. The first factor to consider is whether it's caused by a short leg, in which an insert in the shoe is indicated.

That scoliosis will straighten up with the correct orthotic in the shoe; the apex of the scoliosis will usually be in the upper back and hence your shoulder discomfort.

Your biggest enemy is the chair; keep active, swim, walk, jog, play tennis and so on; some activity YOU fancy, and do it regularly.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

Jan 30, 2018
Ac joint separation
by: Anonymous

Hello, it's been almost 4 months since i have fracture bone in lateral clavicle, i think i have a small AC joint seperation in my shoulder and now i can move properly my shoulder now and can even make my hands up? Can i have vigorous activity like taekwondo or basketball? Can i hold/carry a heavy things? Does it have latter effect in next future years as I get old? What can you say about this? What best method can recommend to me? Hope you can help me doc... thank you very much ahead... it will be a very big help to me...

Jan 30, 2018
Grinding best AC joint
by: Anonymous

I have been going to the gym for over 10 years now and have had my share of "injuries" but recently I've had this grinding in my clavicle near the AC joint. Painless until squatting heavier weights the other day. A few Google's later it would appear to be "squatter's shoulder". So instead of self-diagnosing I decided to go to my chiro who said the shoulder bursa was inflamed. 1 of the 2 sports med doctors told me it was an irritated rotator cuff and the other one said it might be the start of arthritis and mentioned my back posture could be affecting it.

The weird thing is I have full mobility. Just a sensation it needs to crack but when it does no relief. Some chiro treatment name it feel better but the grinding is there for over 2 weeks.

X-ray showed the clavicle thicker then normal (maybe from previous break about 12 years ago, no issues while training until now).

I also noticed my lower last feeling a little tight and my neck also feeling slightly stiff on that side also. But please help! If you can. What would be my next step? I assumed anti-inflammatory with leg press substituting for squats, light free weight training for strength in the joint, and machine assisted movements to keep the shoulder stabilized during heavier sets.

Apologies for the delay.

Firstly it's never a good idea to take NSAIDS and continue training; you're covering up symptoms and worse injury is likely.

A fracture of any bone usually does damage to the joint at one or other end; that old clavicular fracture almost certainly had some effect on the ligaments of the AC joint. It is the second most arthritic joint in the body.

My guess is just that you've gone beyond your limit; stretch any object beyond it's elastic limit and you'll damage it.

My real question is, what's your goal by testing your body to such extremes? Give it some serious thought.

There is probably some hypermobility in the joint, and hence the grinding. To be honest, I don't get phased by grinding in joints in the shoulder; often the painful shoulder grinds less than the one we are worrying about.

But that grinding does mean there is instability in the joint, and if you continue to test it to the limits, something must give.

I gave up squash myself when I eventually realised it was doing more damage than good to my lower back. Being competitive by nature, there was no way to play to a lower standard. My recommendation is that you accept that you are not going to get that world title, enjoy your sport at a lower level, or give it up and go gliding as I did; much more fun!

I write somewhat in jest, I hope you have a sense of humour, but behind it are some serious philosophical questions.

Good luck.

Dr B

Dec 18, 2017
Collarbone poping (no pain)
by: Anonymous

Hey, can you help me?

I can feel my collarbone gliding and popping when moving my arms above my head. However, there is no pain to it and it just feels awkward. I've done X-ray to see if it's broken but doctor says it's absolutely fine.

Well, it's obviously not 'absolutely fine' but it's questionable whether it needs treatment; sometimes we just accept these things.

The collar bone has two joints, one in the front at the sternum, and the other out near the point of the shoulder. Which is troubling? Or is it down between the shoulderblade and the ribcage?

I would start with some general range of motion exercises, done every day, for a few weeks. You'll find them at the shoulder pages at Chiropractic Help.

Then move on to isometrics and our 'shoulder exerciser' that you can make at home. You'll find directions at the link.

Some people can manage these irritations with self help, others need more professional help. If you're up to it, and disciplined, try first to help yourself.

Dr B

Dec 03, 2017
Need Help With Collarbone
by: Anonymous

I broke my collarbone 2 years ago; it gets pain in it and cracks every time I move it.

I would return to the doctor who treated you for the fracture.

Dr B

Oct 27, 2017
Clicking sound in my shoulder which has incomplete fracture
by: Shai

I had recently a car accident last two weeks and now I feel in my lateral clavicle which has an incomplete fractured bone is making clicking sounds... I'm worried that I think my fractured bone will not heal or it takes long time to healed... can you help me?

Actually Shai small movements in fractured bones help it heal more strongly.

I take it you are in a sling, or have had the bone pinned.

One small thing: that cracking sound may be coming from the AC joint; that's more difficult.

Dr B

Oct 18, 2017
sternum and collar bone stiffness until it pops
by: kayla


I've been having a problem with my sternum cracking for about 2 years now. I will feel a lot of pressure (almost always when i wake up in the morning) and at random times throughout the day until i get my sternum to crack; sometimes, it cracks really easily, and all i have to do is stretch my arms up and back and ill hear and feel a loud, satisfying crack in the middle of my sternum, which instantly relieves all pain and pressure. Other times, it won't crack and I have to live with all the pain and pressure until it does.

Dropping my arms down and bending over and shaking my arms and then raising my arms up and back seems to help get it to pop. I've been living with this irritation for two years. recently, my collar bones started doing the same thing, pain and pressure until they pop; but to get them to pop, I have to pull my arms downwards, it then cracks and I feel 100% better and back to normal. please help.

Hello Kayla,
You mostly likely have a condition known as costochondritis, but I'm concerned that it's beginning to affect the collar bone. Is there a lump, or redness at these joints?

Do you have any midback pain?

I think you are handling it well with your own treatment, though we do have concerns about daily popping of joints.

Alternating ice and heat in the shower, with an iceblock directly on the offending joint might help, followed by gentle massage with your fingers along the ribs.

Is this happening in any other joints in your body? Then you need to start thinking about your diet, and especially the omega 6/ omega-3 ratio. In short, fatty fish regularly. It's all in the fish oil, so those that have been substituted with brine or sunflower oil are no good.

Read up about an anti inflammatory diet; lots of coloured foods in your diet.

Dr B.

Oct 04, 2017
Collar bone cracks and grinds
by: Anonymous

I have so much grinding and cracking on both sides of my collar bone whenever I rotate my shoulders; it happens all the time and when I rotate my head round I feel grinding on top of my spine at the back of my neck.
I haven't injured myself at all; what could it be?

We don't get too excited about clicking sounds from the joints of the collar bone, in the absence of any other symptoms. If there's no pain or stiffness and no radiation to the arm or neck, I wouldn't fuss.

From the spine it's another story, because there's usually progressive stiffness that goes with it, and then tingling and pain radiating down the arm; or headaches, depending on which part of the neck is affected.

It depends on your age too; at 70 I wouldn't be concerned; at 35 I would recommend you have your cervical spine examined.

Dr B

Mar 21, 2017
Middle collarbone and clavicle
by: Trevor

Hey, I'm a kickboxer and regularly do exercise for my upper back and arms and I went to do a press up 2 weeks ago and I felt a snapping like sound/feel and I was out of action for 3 days due to pain.

I've had x rays and it is not broken or fractured, but I still get pain in the middle of the collarbone when I push my shoulder all the way back then forward and it's annoying, any advice on how to get rid of the pain and continue my kickboxing?

There's no way a fit guy like you would fracture the clavicle doing press ups.

If it's midshaft then you've probably strained the subclavius muscle; google it. But it could be referred pain from the joints at either end of the bone.

I'd just doing some gentle exercises for a couple weeks, go looking for the pain but stop before it hurts; stay off the heavy stuff or you're likely going to have a chronic injury.

If it's not gone in say two weeks then you need a professional opinion. Not the person who recommended the x-ray!

Dr B

Mar 07, 2017
Collarbone cracking
by: Robert

I am 14 years old and broke both my collarbones twice before I was 10. My right clavicle is perfect and strong but my left feels very weak and cracks when I rotate it and move it in different positions. I play rugby and I try not to tackle with my left shoulder as I think it will do something to it. Any help will be great. Thanks.

Hello Robert,
It's unlikely the collarbone - clavicle - hasn't knit; you wouldn't be able to play rugby.

But at the ends of the clavicle there are two joints, one with the shoulder blade called the AC joint, and the other articulates with the sternum, or breastbone; it's called the SC joint, from sterno-clavicular.

It's most likely the ligaments of one one these joints were torn allowing it to 'crack'.

I would recommend an orthopaedic opinion. Talk to your folks.

Dr B

Feb 23, 2017
Painful popping clavicle
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a 17 year old female archer (right handed, so I draw back my bow using my right arm, shoulder and upper right back) and horse rider. I've become very conscious of the fact that my collarbone pops twice when I rotate my right shoulder backwards, and once when I abduct/adduct my right arm. The popping is about 1.5 inch from the center of my sternum.

It's recently started to hurt a little and the popping is becoming more frequent, pretty much with every motion. I have a history of knee pain from horse riding and getting some slight occasional shoulder and back pain from archery, but I haven't been shooting for the last couple of months so I am unsure as to what's causing the popping.

I have had no falls or injury to my shoulder area in several months.
Any thoughts?

Yes, no injuries to the shoulder recently but clearly in the past you have fallen, probably onto the shoulder, driving the collarbone in a medial and anterior direction; probably the sternoclavicular joint ligaments are weak allowing the clavicle to subluxate when you are stressing the joint.

It's the sort of reason I'm afraid why chiropractors hate horse riding; this is only an irritating injury; much more injuries to the head, spine and pelvis are common. Ride within your ability, not always challenging the limits, or worse may happen.

Frankly I don't have much to recommend for your SC joint, other than starting some daily shoulder exercises, and a proper warm up programme before shooting.

Sorry not to be more positive.

Dr B

Feb 10, 2017
Collarbone popping
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a 13 almost 14 year old girl.

My collarbone has been popping as long as I can ever remember, but now whenever it pops it always hurts. I don't do anything to pop it or try to pop it; I just want to know if I should see a doctor for this.

Thank you.

Which end of the collarbone pops? At the breastbone, or the tip of the shoulder? There are joints at each end.

Most likely you had an old injury as a child, straining the ligaments. Does the bone sit proud in either joint, compared to the other side?

Chat to your parents about it, but, yes, any pain that continues, especially in a teenager, needs to be investigated.

Dr B

Jan 24, 2017
Collarbone hurting after workout
by: Anonymous

I was in gym, and we were doing elevated bench press, and I did 3 reps of ten. Now my left collarbone is sore, and when I move it it pops, and hurts. Is it damaged, or it it just because of the work out?

Confess I'm not a gym fan; you've no idea how much work they bring us with stories not unlike yours. How about a skipping rope and bicycle instead; save you a lot of money and lot of pain.

If there's a popping sound then most likely you've torn some ligaments in the AC joint, but that's a guess. What's needed is a professional assessment of the damage. Usually it will need to be taped, you'll have to stay off gym for six weeks, and hope that the joint stabilises.

Is there a step in the acromioclavicular joint? Compare sides; is that where the popping sound is?

Don't get neurotic, but get over this injury before pumping iron again. The AC joint has the propensity to become arthritic and then the spurs damage the supraspinatus ligament that lies just below it; that means trouble.

See someone who knows about shoulders.

Dr B

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