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. Barrie Lewis