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AC Joint?

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Old 01-07-2011, 08:53 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: UK
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GHowell HB User
AC Joint?

Hi folks,

In desperation, I've stumbled across this forum, and would greatly appreciate any advice.

Around 12 weeks ago, I had a severe direct impact on my right shoulder. The pain was instant, and very strong. My first impression was I had broken my collar bone, as I have done this before (different shoulder) and remember the feeling - how basically my shoulder felt like "mush" and the grinding sensation felt by the two parts of the bone rubbing together.

So i get myself to hospital, with any shoulder movement causing intense pain.

An x-ray, to my amazment, revealed nothing. A particularly unhelpfull doctor, who I had just waited 3 hours to see, basically told me nothing was wrong, it was bruised, and, well that was that.

The next day my shoulder was severly swollen, to the point where it was almost hunched up. Still, I thought, theres nothing wrong with it.

I put up with it for a fortnight, and as the pain got gradually worse, i decided to visit my GP, who had the opinion it was an AC joint injury, although advised me as it had gotten worse, to go back to the hospital i went to originally.

After my first experience - an exceptionally long wait, to be told there was nothing wrong, I kept putting off going back to the hospital, leaving it another couple of weeks. As things showed hardly any improvement, I finally gave in and went back.

This time I saw a phsyiotherapist, who confirmed the xray was fine, checked my (very limited) range of movement, and referred me for physiotherapy. Another fortnight later, Ive been and seen the physiotherapist, who, is also a little vauge on what he thinks the injury is. We start off with some stretches, which were very difficult due to the still restricted range of movement. As the sessions past, he tried laser treatment, and ultrasound, both of which did nothing to ease any pain, or appear to be helping in any way. He then tells me I will need to see a specialist, so I need to go back to my GP, who will refer me.

Another week later, Ive been to see the GP, who has basically said its an AC joint injury, it will take anything up to 12months to heal, and that, essentially there was no point in referring me.

So, around 12 weeks later, i'm still left a little confused, and still unable to perform allot of basic tasks.

Despite seeing so many people, I couldnt honestly say I feel as though Ive had a decent examination. All that the GP's seem intrested in is the range of movement.

One of the most unusual symptoms I have, is what I can only explain as a flexible collar bone. When i push on my collar bone, the end nearest the shoulder, I can feel it "pushing in" - quite considerablly, accompanied by a crunching sensation. When pressure is released, it flexes back, with a crunching sensation. Although bizzarely, it only does this when sat or lying in certain positions - for example when stood up it wont budge. When relaxed on the sofa, or in bed, it does it.

Im very skeptical about GPs experience with injuries like this. As mentioned earlier I broke my left collar bone some years ago, which, during the post-injury treatment, I had a x-ray, which showed the all-clear, saw 2 doctors, who also gave me the all clear. Then a specialist, said something was still wrong with it, send me for a CT scan, which revealed a break still present and required surgery.

So with this, I dont know what to do. Sleeping is a nightmare, working is a nightmare. I obviously cant play any sports, or goto the gym.

Does it sound consistent with an AC joint injury? Or is there potentially something else wrong? Im beginning to think of getting a 2nd opinion, but I feel as though Im getting passed from pillar to post, with no real answers.

Any help or advice GREATLY appreciated.

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:01 PM   #2
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Re: AC Joint?

I would get that second opinion from another GP in hopes they send you to a specialist or at the very lest, get an MRI of the AC joint and shoulder.

I've had the surgery to remove the ends of the collarbone to open up the AC joint and I have dislocated my collarbone and torn the rotator cuff. But 4 years ago, I broke my neck and did nerve damage to my entire left arm and now the left AC joint, "dislocates" pops up and crunches down and moves all over the place because all the tendons have become lax. You might have done soft tissue damage that is allowing your AC joint to do things it shouldn't. And that wouldn't show up in an x-ray.

And damaged tendons and ligaments don't heal properly...they heal very lax.

See someone else and give them the story of how your doc wouldn't do what the PT said to do....see a specialist.

I hope you get some results ...I'm with you on this one for sure!

good luck................Jenny

Old 01-07-2011, 01:01 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 2
GHowell HB User
Re: AC Joint?

Thank you for the reply Jenny. I will telephone the PT to see if he can speak to a doctor for me, before I go and see them.

What you described about your shoulder sounds very similar to mine, but you described it way better!

Again, thanks for the advice.


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