AC Separation Treatment
Treatment for shoulder A-C separation varies with the severity (types 1-6) of the injury. Treatment for mild shoulder A-C separation usually includes rest, a sling, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Treatment for severe shoulder A-C separation may require surgery.
Treatment options for shoulder AC separation may include:
- Shoulder immobilizer
- Long term immobilization in a sling can lead to frozen shoulder.
- If you wear a shoulder sling for longer than a week make sure you perform shoulder range of motion exercises twice a day to avoid frozen shoulder.
- Cold compresses:
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times per day
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Physical therapy for shoulder A-C separation:
- Occupational therapy for shoulder A-C separation
- Surgery for shoulder A-C separation
- May be necessary with severe tears and displacement of both the acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments.
AC Separation Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of shoulder AC separation.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Will I need surgery?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having a shoulder AC separation again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
AC Separation Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a shoulder A-C separation:
Continue to AC Separation Home Care
- Breslow MJ, Jazrawi LM, Bernstein AD, Kummer FJ, Rokito AS. Treatment of acromioclavicular joint separation: suture or suture anchors? J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2002 May-Jun;11(3):225-9. 
- Jerosch J, Filler T, Peuker E, Greig M, Siewering U. Which stabilization technique corrects anatomy best in patients with AC-separation? An experimental study. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 1999;7(6):365-72. 
- Rolla PR, Surace MF, Murena L. Arthroscopic treatment of acute acromioclavicular joint dislocation. Arthroscopy. 2004 Jul;20(6):662-8.