Physiotherapy for Collarbone (Shoulder) Pain


As you can imagine, there are various structures in the shoulder that can become injured and generate pain. Perhaps one of the less common areas would be the clavicle, known by many as the collarbone. The more common injuries to the collarbone would be sprains and fractures, but an interesting less common condition is called osteolysis of the clavicle. With this shoulder injury, the outside portion of the collarbone actually disappears!

Osteolysis of the Clavicle

A typical candidate for osteolysis of the distal clavicle would be a person who has experienced significant trauma to the acromioclavicular joint, or a person who has subjected the area to repeated, high stresses. The most obvious would be the person who loves to lift heavy weights and has done so for a very long time. Years of heavy bench pressing, dips and clean and jerks are linked to this shoulder condition.

The pain with osteolysis of the distal clavicle is usually a diffuse pain affecting the area of the collar bone. More specifically, it targets the outside third of the bone. It doesn’t have to be diffuse though. A relatively normal examination in a serious weight lifter that has tenderness in the area of the last third of the collarbone may raise suspicion of this condition. So what do we do? X-rays are not always indicated for shoulder injuries but to rule out this condition, they are necessary. Perhaps a good reason to consult a knowledgeable chiropractor that can refer for the appropriate imaging series for this condition.

Physiotherapy for Shoulder Pain

The treatment for osteolysis of the distal clavicle depends on the stage and symptoms. Severe pain first needs to be controlled. Therapeutic modalities like laser might prove helpful in this regard. From there, a consideration of soft tissue therapy is justified to remove restrictions in the tissues (muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia) and return the biomechanics of the area to normal. After this, strength training is important, with an emphasis on the stabilizing muscles of the scapula (shoulder blade) as well as various cervical muscles that have a relationship with the clavicle.

Unsure of what is causing your shoulder or collarbone pain? Do you live in Burlington or the surrounding area? Give our Burlington Clinic a call…we can help!