Shoulder Separation: When to See a Surgeon

At any given time, 18-26% of adults are affected by shoulder pain. Most people simply learn to live with the pain until it goes away, but more serious issues like shoulder separation can be incredibly painful if not treated properly.

While many issues and pains can be treated with rest and medication, it’s important to know the exact steps needed to treat an injury.

Keep reading to learn more about shoulder separation and when you should see a surgeon.

What is a Shoulder Separation?

A shoulder separation is a term used to define an injury in your AC joint. The AC joint is located where the shoulder blade and the collarbone meet. The AC joint is actually what attaches the shoulder blade to the collarbone.

When you injure your AC joint, it can cause the shoulder blade to separate from the collarbone. Shoulder separation usually isn’t very severe and simply requires rest and enough time to heal.

The Symptoms of a Shoulder Separation

When it comes to shoulder separation, symptoms may differ from person to person, but most commonly, you’ll experience the following:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Intense pain at the top of the shoulder
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder
  • A bump located at the end of the collarbone

If you have the above symptoms, it’s a good idea to go see a doctor. Since the injuries that typically cause shoulder separation can also cause bone fractures, it’s important to have a doctor check you out.

How Is a Separated Shoulder Treated?

Most commonly, a shoulder separation will heal within two to 12 weeks without needing surgery. During this time, you’ll need to keep your arm as immobile as possible while healing. Ice packs and medication can be used to relieve the pain.

After a shoulder separation, it’s a good idea to take part in physical therapy or exercise to strengthen the shoulder as part of your rehabilitation. You need to stay away from heavy exercise and lifting objects for a few weeks after the injury has healed.

If your doctor has deemed your shoulder separation serious enough to require surgery, you need to find a specialist that focuses on shoulders. Surgery usually won’t be the first step when dealing with a shoulder separation, but if you’re experiencing numb or cold fingers, you might not have a choice.

Know When to See a Surgeon About Shoulder Separation

A shoulder separation is a scary subject even before you start thinking about shoulder surgery. But it is important that you consult with a specialist regarding your shoulder injury to ensure you’re getting the proper care. Shoulder pain is something that should never be ignored, so rather go see a specialist to be safe.

If you need to see a specialist, please contact us today! At Idaho Shoulder to Hand, we offer advanced Diagnostics, Treatment Solutions, and Surgery for Patients with Injuries and Conditions of the Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, and Hand.