If you suffer from acromioclavicular joint pain, or AC joint pain, caused by an injury or due to AC joint arthritis-then some of the following exercises for AC joint pain relief may be helpful for you.
It is important that you consult your physician before beginning any of these exercises. Some of these exercises for the AC joint involve muscle strengthening and you must give a day in between muscle training so that the muscles can repair themselves. When working out the muscles the muscles will develop tears, this is normal as they strengthen, but they require time to heal in between work outs.
Before You Start Exercising to Reduce AC Joint Pain
As mentioned above, before you start any regimen of exercise you should consult your doctor. There are other things you must do before you begin working out. The goal is to relieve AC joint pain so you want to do certain things in order to avoid causing extra pain to your body.
First you need to warm up your muscles. You can do this with some light aerobics. This will raise your heart rate and cause blood to be pumped to your muscles and help get your muscles ready for a work out. If you do not warm up your muscles before working on them you will be working with what is known as “frozen muscles” and you will hurt yourself. If you cannot do aerobics an alternative is a hot bath or shower for 30 minutes prior to working on your shoulder muscles.
Range of Motion Exercise to Reduce AC Joint Pain
Range of Motion (ROM) exercises are low impact and are great exercises to do to work on keeping your joints from being stiff. You can do ROM while standing or even while lying down. To strengthen your muscles while working on your ROM you can use hand weights at the same time. If lying down you simply take the arm of the affected shoulder and with the arm flat on the bed use the fingers of your hand to point at the ceiling. You will then slowly lift your arm up to where your fingers are pointing straight to the ceiling. You can either slowly bring your arm back down or repeat this same exercise for about 10 reps, or you can bend your elbow to ninety degrees while it is straight up in the air and bring the arm down above your head.
Range of Motion while standing includes bending over at the waist and dropping the arm of the pained AC joint towards the ground-let it dangle. Start drawing imaginary small circles and then start drawing larger circles. Using hand weights during this process will help to strengthen the muscles around the AC joint and help reduce AC joint pain naturally.
How Making the Muscles Around Your AC Joint Reduces AC Joint Pain
Each muscle that is around the AC joint has a specific function. The supraspinatus muscle is located at the top of your shoulder and its responsibility is to raise your upper arm and to move your arm away from the body. The subcapularis muscle is towards the front of your shoulder and rotates your shoulder internally. The teres minor muscle and the infraspinatus muscle are at the back of your shoulder and the rotate the shoulder externally. Having these muscles strong means they will provide stability around the AC joint and take pressure off of the joint and thus alleviate acromioclavicular pain.
How to Work on Shoulder Muscles to Help Get Rid of AC Joint Pain Naturally
By simply using resistance cables you can work on all of the muscles around your AC joint in your shoulder and provide the stability you need to stop AC joint pain without the need for medication, injections, or surgery.
AC Joint Pain Relief with External Rotation Exercises
Use the resistance cables for external rotation exercises and internal rotation exercises. For the external rotation exercise you will grip the handle of the resistance cable and bring it out straight, with your elbow touching the side of your body. You will then bring the cable across the chest with your elbow at a 90 degrees angle and then reverse the process slowly and back to where you started. You should attempt to do ten repetitions; this should be your goal. You may not be able to do that many in the beginning and that is ok. Do not exercise to the point of pain. The goal is to strengthen the muscles around the AC joint to reduce or eliminate pain in that area.
Internal Rotation Exercises for AC Joint Pain Relief
For internal rotation exercises to help alleviate AC joint pain you will do similar to the above exercise except this time you will stand at a distance from the handles of the cables to where you have to reach for the handle on each side of your body. You will bring the resistance cable straight out, then bend your elbow and bring across your body, and then slowly reverse the process. Again, the goal is 10 repetitions.
These exercises have worked for many who have acromioclavicular joint pain; AC joint pain; but it may not work for all, including you. Unless the exercises are causing you extra pain, you should work on these for at least several weeks before you begin considering alternatives such as AC Joint surgery, AC joint injections, or taking narcotic pain medications for the acromioclavicular pain. After several weeks of doing these exercises you should start noticing some pain relief. The longer you do these exercises and the more you are able to increase your repetitions the more stability will be around the AC joint.
MovingBeyondJointPain.com – Acromioclavicular Arthritis
Ac Joint Pain Treatment | LIVESTRONG.COM
Acromioclavicular joint – Wikipedia
The AC (Acromioclavicular) Joint – The Southern California Orthopedic Institute