Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Shoulder AC Separation Home Care

Home care for a shoulder A-C separation includes:

  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Rest the shoulder:
    • Use a sling or shoulder immobilizer as directed.
    • Long term immobilization in a sling can lead to frozen shoulder.
    • If you wear a shoulder sling for longer than two weeks make sure you perform shoulder range of motion exercises twice a day to avoid frozen shoulder.
    • Physical therapy will play a major role in avoiding frozen shoulder.
  • Perform shoulder exercises for A-C separation:
    • As directed by your doctor
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Shoulder AC Separation Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with shoulder AC separation include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Shoulder AC Separation Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with shoulder AC separation include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Shoulder AC Separation Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a shoulder AC separation and any of the following:

Continue to Shoulder AC Separation Outlook

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Shoulder AC Separation References
  1. 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. [12070493]
  2. 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. [10639655]
  3. Rolla PR, Surace MF, Murena L. Arthroscopic treatment of acute acromioclavicular joint dislocation. Arthroscopy. 2004 Jul;20(6):662-8. [15241323]
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