Swollen around sc joint

I was on vacation with my family and know I was pulling luggage and carrying my heavy laptop bag which I always do for work. On the second day of vacation we were out all day and I carried a light backpack about 4 lbs on my back most of the day. Two days later after walking to a meeting with my laptop bag I felt an ache in my right collarbone and neck area. I placed my hand over my collarbone where the pain was and noticed a lump over my sc joint. I panicked! I looked in the mirror and it was obviously protruding slightly. In certain positions you couldn't tell but in others it was very clear. When I roll my shoulder back (to a proper posture position) I hear cracking and popping on this side. I also have some tightness and tenderness on my neck where it meets my shoulder and across my collarbone. When I lean my head on the opposite side (stretching that muscle) I get pain and discomfort.

I have had pain on the joint area before but it comes and goes. I see a chiro regularly because of arm pain and tingling but adjustments of my neck always make it better. My chiro says that my shoulders roll forward automatically and are very weak. I work from home at the computer 8 hours/day. I also have a bad habit of holding the phone with my head tipped to my shoulder instead of using a headset while I type.

I had an urgent care doctor look at the lump. She said it is soft and seems swollen. She said its not a lump but more like a swelling to the area. She couldn't feel a defined lump but can see the bulging directly on and below the AC joint. I have an apt with my chiro tomorrow but I'm really worried. I'm scared of what this could be. I looked at old pictures and realized that my right AC joint was maybe always a bit bigger but I know I never had a bump or swelling this big. I'm scared this is a lymph node and something serious but I can't feel an actual lump. I dig around the area and it's swollen and feels soft and squishy but nothing defining an actual lump. I'm really worried. I trust my chiro but sometimes he is quick to say it's chiro related and I want to trust him and be certain it's nothing serious to be worried about.

It's either a strain of the Sterno Clavicular joint or, more likely, a condition called Tietze's syndrome which affects either the SC or costo sternal joints.

It's not serious in the sense of being cancer, but it certainly can be very painful and debilitating.

There's no proven medical or chiropractic treatment, but I successful treat it by mobilising the joint and doing soft tissue work around the joint and along the clavicle.

Are any of the rib sternum joints tender? Swollen? I recommend no heavy posterior to anterior adjustments in the mid back; it will often aggravate Tietzes syndrome. An anterior thoracic technique is better.

Get out of that telephone habit. A good headset from Amazon is about the cost of one chiropractic treatment.

Because the brachial plexus of nerves passes through a gap just behind the clavicle, Tietzes syndrome is often associated with tingling in the arm. Read the page at Chiropractic Help. https://www.chiropractic-help.com/Tietzes-syndrome.html

Perhaps print this out for your chiropractor.

Let me know what transpires.

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.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

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.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

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