AC Joint Pain Exercises for Shoulder Rehab

AC Joint Pain Exercises for Shoulder Rehab

if you’ve got AC joint pain you’ve got
to be doing these three exercises immediately to finally get your shoulder
healthy yo what’s up it’s Coach E here from precision movement and today we are
going to go through three exercises to help you fix up your AC joint pain
okay so AC joint is the acromioclavicular joint and it’s right
about the top bony part of your shoulder most people can touch it pretty easily
it’s the top most pint bony portion aspect of the shoulder okay it’s a
little prominence there and it’s the acromion comes out of the scapula kind
of wraps around the top of the torso top of the ribcage and points to the front
and then the clavicle is the collarbone and that joint is where those two bones
interface okay now this joint unlike most joints
in the body this is only held together by ligaments so if you’ve got an AC
joint problem that indicates some type of ligament sprain or ligament laxity
some problem issue with the ligaments okay the thing with ligaments is they
don’t heal as quickly as muscles a muscle strain really minor muscle strain
it could be healed up in maybe 3 days 1 to 3 days whereas a really minor
ligament sprain can take up to two weeks up to even or even longer to fully heal
ok so when we sprain our ligaments we’ve got to be aware of that fact and we’ve
got to progress a little bit slower ok so AC joint pain is often mistaken for
symptoms of shoulder impingement so to differentiate AC joint pain and shoulder
impingement I’ve got another video with four tests that you could take to figure
out which is which one that you might have so we’ll link to that on this video
here so if you’re not quite sure click over to that video check it out and if
you do have AC joint pain come on back and we’ll try to fix it up
now if you just sprained your ligament your AC joint and you’re working out or
you’re playing sports you’re wrestling with your buddies I don’t know what
you’re doing but if you just sprained it it’s really important that you let it
properly heal at first okay so that means no movements in the extreme ranges
of motion overhead across the body and behind you
okay so shoulder flexion horizontal adduction and extension respectively
okay we want to minimize end range of motion in those movements because any
end range of motion in those movements can potentially stretch out the
ligaments of the AC joints a little bit more prolonging your healing time okay
so keep it neutral we’re gonna stay in front so 90 degrees of shoulder flexion
and arms by the side today all right now if you do suspect you’ve got a sprained
AC joint there’s different grades I’ve got an article on the precision movement
site that breaks down what to do and in the acute phase if you’ve gotten it ac
joints brain so check that out if you’re in that situation otherwise let’s get to
the exercises alright so like I said we want to stay up to 90 degrees of
shoulder flexion or arms by the side and what we’re trying to do is we’re not
doing anything with the ligaments right now we’re trying to actually rest the
ligaments so they can heal and do their things so it’s important to get a little
bit of movement go in just to facilitate blood flow and to speed up healing that
way but we want what we’re trying to do is improve our motor control and our
stability of the scapula and of the shoulder itself okay because if we’re
doing movements that is putting the AC joint at risk because of other weakness
poor firing patterns or just dysfunctional movement then we’re never
going to be able to heal from AC joint pain fully okay so we’re trying to
re-educate the neuromuscular system here now it’s really important to avoid the
one movement that is really important to avoid is downward rotate
or anterior tilt of the scapula okay so when the scapula anteriorly tilts it
looks like this the shoulder rolls rolls this way and that puts a ton of strain
on the AC joint and how do I know I sprained my AC joint last year doing a
lot of muscle ups and where that happened was right in this position when
you’re transitioning between the dip and the chin up okay I got overzealous and I
just started working them too often and then I sprained my AC joint there so
I understand what it feels like now that being said that’s the movement you want
to avoid which is downward rotation so how do we avoid that movement it’s not
just about passive flexibility some might say oh you got a stretch and
that’s gonna fix all your problems what it’s really about is control okay we’ve
got to build the strength and the control the patterns to be able to
extend the shoulder so a shoulder extension without anteriorly tilting the
scapula okay so what that takes is stability in through the torso and
stability of the scapula in particular the scapular muscles that keep the
scapula glued to the rib cage the most important one being the serratus
anterior so we’re trading that muscle to keep the scapula in position as the
shoulder or the arm moves around wherever it’s got to go okay so the
exercise that we’re going to do today are gonna help you do exactly that
the first exercise I call the shoulder rotation robot I’ve got another video
tutorial here on YouTube with this exercise but we’ll break it down here
looks kind of fun once you get the details you’ll understand why it’s so
important for you okay so you’re gonna start in this position one arm up one
arm down and this is training something called reciprocal
movement where one side of the body is moving one way and the other
side of the body is moving the off okay and it’s very helpful for because
that’s a very natural movement pattern that we use in everyday life walking for
example that’s reciprocal movement okay so what we’re doing here is we get
on the wall feet are about a foot away from the wall or so okay head such the
wall good alignment and I want to think of posteriorly tilting the scapula so
pulling the bottom edge of the scapula down in towards my chest okay so I pull
the scapula and that activates the serratus anterior and I hold that
position the whole time as I do the robot so the robot they busting out the
robot at a party you know how it goes yeah but I’m maintaining that scapular
position as I’m rotating or cycling through the robot now what I’m doing in
this position is I’m constantly trying to drive my hand towards a wall so
external rotation here and then same over here drive the hand towards a wall
internal rotation here so I’m strongly trying to do this hold for five seconds hold for five seconds the whole time the
scapula stays still I’m not losing it like that
okay scapula stays in position stabilized working the internal and
external rotators and that’s training that movement pattern to keep the
scapula in position to avoid downward rotation while we’re moving the arms
around in this case internal and external rotation okay so that’s the
first exercise you can do like five reps five second hold up and down alright the next
one behind the back external rotation so you need a some
kind of resistance band I’ve got one of those loop strength bands here okay a
red one pretty skinny you don’t need much and what you’re going to do in turn
you’re gonna grab the band behind your back okay a little bit of tension to
start hands are about butt width apart and first get in alignment good
alignment okay scapula are flush against the ribcage but I’m not hyper extending
my spine okay keeping neutral spine the whole time as
I tilt that scapula and from here all I’m gonna do
externally rotate and abduct a little bit and just hold it for 10 seconds
breathe stay in good alignment and slowly release okay so again you’re
starting thumbs are facing each other and then the thumbs would be pointing
forward holding for 10 seconds avoiding hyper extending or hyper
retracting the scapula a slight abduction and external rotation force 10
second holds and we’re good okay this one you want to do anywhere from three
to five reps holding for ten seconds and that’s gonna again help to reposition
the scapula and help start to get into this shoulder extended position okay
with out downwardly rotating the shoulders and anteriorly tilting the
scapula okay last exercise you might have seen this
one before the scap push up there’s a bunch of
different variations and I’ve got another video on YouTube with a bunch of
variations of scapular push-ups so progressing you right from very
deconditioned and low level up to higher level and good function okay so check
out that video I’m going to link to it but the scapular push-up I’ll show you
the basic version here on the floor four-point position this is one of the
regressions okay the important point with the scapular push-up is to just
move the scapula without hyperextending or flexing the spine so here I’m
retracting the scapula and I’m thinking posterior
tilt again so fire up that serratus anterior I’m able to breathe okay I’m
not excessively tense anywhere else and as I drive through the floor I’m
sure that I’m not hyper flexing my spine okay I want to maintain neutral spine as
I push and protract the scapula hold it keep driving through the floor and then
you retract under control now the range of motion isn’t huge here and it’s not
supposed to be yeah we don’t have a ton of protraction and retraction when we’re
in neutral and that’s totally cool all we’re doing here our main goal is to
fire up the serratus and to start to groove this good movement pattern where
we’ve got neutral spine with strong stable scapula okay so this one you can
do around five reps five to ten second holds at the top okay and moving under
control very slow tempo okay so those are the three exercises for AC joint
pain that’s going to help to keep the shoulders moving and start to re-educate
the neuromuscular system for proper aligned movement because when we’re
moving in alignment with the proper activation and movement patterns that’s
going to set us up for a lifetime of being able to do things that we love
whether it’s lifting in the gym playing sports in a golf ball around whatever it
is you love to do these are the keys that are going to help you keep doing
those things all right so if you’d like to learn more
about the shoulders how they’re supposed to function and specifically about the
serratus anterior click the link at the end of this video to watch a little
presentation I put together on the scapula and proper movement of the
scapula to set you up for a movement longevity alright so thanks again my
name is Eric Wong from precision movement make sure you subscribe to this
channel to get the latest videos and I’ll
next time peace

100 Replies to “AC Joint Pain Exercises for Shoulder Rehab

  1. I've irritated my AC joint with bad form during bench press and dips. Should I rest the shoulder and perform these exercises? I can do pushups and pullups without pain. Shoulder press and bench press (when bar is at the bottom) induce the pain. Your thoughts please.

  2. What do you mean by "do them immediately" ?
    Do we have to do all these streches right after we get injured?

  3. Hey brother i injured my shoulder while doing chest workout my clavicle and ac joint have little gap also i have a bump near my sternum and clavicle intersection but doctor told me it’s not a big deal although my pain is gone after resting 1 week but i am still afraid to workout , what should i do ?

  4. Thank you for the robot! I crashed my motorbike a week ago and I am in need of some gentle mobilisation exercises. You seem to know the pain we are all in! Cheers for the effort.

  5. I had an AC joint injury last year, and I still have a slight pain in my shoulder. Though I went through physiotherapy. Can I start picking up weights again along with these exercises.

  6. These exercises feel great. My issue is that I can feel my supraspinatus impinging during exercises 1 and 2. Getting a cortisone shot this Friday hoping that calms it down. Diagnosis is ac joint arthritis. I’m a 38 year old volleyball player. Got the injury from overuse, not a fall. There’s a small bump at the site of the joint. Injury was 6 weeks ago.

  7. I have a little round swelling on my right shoulder near my ac joint some pain here and there. I had x rays nothings out of place but still some pain and these exercises do help me but how would i bring down the swelling. Pain meds didnt work. Any advice would be appreciated

  8. Is soft tissue therapy good for a c joint paint ? I just started using a lacrosse ball up against a wall to roll it out . Also are pushups good for it to heal ? Please reply

  9. Is soft tissue therapy good for ac joint pain ? I’ve been using a lacrosse ball up against a wall and rolling it out it definitely feels tender and sore is this good ? Should I roll it out multiple times a day ? Also do pushups help a a c joint like regular or from the knees ? please reply

  10. I’m two weeks into recovery from grade 3 AC separation. These exercises are challenging but not in too much pain. Any advice as how hard to push these? Don’t want to do any more damage but want to recover ASAP. Happy to post updates on the recover process. Thanks!

  11. I have a question, I have popping in both shoulders, i work in construction and lately I’ve found my forearms have been sending radiating pain up my arm to my shoulder, like pins and needles. Sometimes it sends some serious radiating pain, a definite 10 on a scale of 1-10. I move my shoulder a certain way on either arm and the pain radiates from my brachialradialius to my shoulder, also the back sides of the foreman’s haves been hurting lately on top of it all, it’s a real mess, this video did help, but I still have popping in my shoulder and forearm pain, is there any video or blog you have on this?

  12. Oh my. This is good.

    I saw your video diagnosing the difference between AC joint dysfunction vs. impingement and came here from that. In particular the exercise with the stretch bands is exactly what I have been looking for to start re-balancing my shoulders after too many push-ups and dips in recent years. I already feel better.

    Awesome work, a clear explanation of everything without any distractions.

  13. soon as I did the first exercise instant relief….Thank you so much! You just got a new subscriber.

  14. Hey I have recently been doing push ups and I always try to keep my elbows 60 degrees or under but I noticed that for wide push ups I flared my elbows and I’ve been doing these for months. I most likely damaged my joint or inflamed it and now I have tingling (it feels exactly under my bicep) down my arm. I’m worried it’s nerve related and caused by ac weakness? Would these exercises help me cure the tingling or nerve issue?

  15. I had a rounded left shoulder where the head was skirting a bit forward due to my weird sleeping position. I did these 3 exercises for 10 days n i am seeing a massive improvement especially the robot movement exercise , worked like charm. Thank you so much

  16. 13 ,minutes of bla bla bla bla bla
    The exercices part! Really work instant pain reduces!!!! WITH NO ICE!!!! fuck!!! amazing

  17. Thank you very much for this. I m all really feel better. Amazing exercises especially the first one for me

  18. I have a grade 3 shoulder separation happen 6 weeks ago. Will these exercises help? Also how often should I do the exercises?

  19. Would these exercises work for a ll degree AC separation? I'm about three weeks out from the injury they want me to do physical therapy but I don't have insurance and can't really afford it. Trying to find good things to start doing for that level of a separation? I noticed I believe these were meant more for sprains and you said be careful you can do more damage if it's torn? Don't know just trying to find the right things to do?

  20. I separated my shoulder about 3 years ago and had ac joint reconstruction. I’ve been powerlifting and doing alright with it but a few weeks ago I started doing dips and cable flyes again. It almost feels like a ligament got a little stretched out and I get the same type of sensation I used to get when I first separated it. Do you think these exercises will help as well? It makes sense that the slight movement of the shoulder going forward when doing dips is what caused the pain. Is the concept of these exercises to re-teach the muscles how to stabilize without compensation and gaining scapular control while the ligaments and scar tissue heal!? Or are dips, muscle ups and flyes just a bad movement after ac joint reconstruction ? Any ideas help. Thanks for the content

  21. How do you deal with, swelling of elbow during workout and numbness on ring finger and twinkle finger when bending the same elbow.

  22. Great advice on limiting movement for recovery. I didn't for an AC injury that I have from paddleboarding. I have had a slow recovery. Now, after resting the shoulder, I feel like I have started the healing process. Thank you.

  23. I have a grade 3 sprain from playing rugby and it has been about 3 months. The pain is still not gone. How long will it take?

  24. Great video! I injured my ac joint when I increased the volume I was doing on handstand push ups. Is the goal of these exercises to strengthen the serrated anterior so you naturally do all pressing movements (press ups, dips, muscle ups, hand stand push ups, OH press, jerks) with retracted scapula so it puts less strain on the ac joint? Thank you!

  25. I wish to God just one person would say "I sprained/tore my AC joint, got a small protrusion/bump on my shoulder, and it subsided once I had healed .

    I need to f***ing hear some good news somewhere.

  26. A couple weeks ago finally saw a Physio for AC joint pain. This week was four weeks off BJJ. Your videos are exactly right in terms of where the pain is (the forward-rolled shoulder thing and across the chest, ouch–for me also just pushing my arm down to get something in my pocket would trigger it). I've started the three exercises, plus the three types of pushups from the other video, and especially with the band behind the back and the closer I get to the tenth second I can feel the ligaments burning. It's a good burn. Do you have any other strengthening exercises using bands? Thanks a lot for your help.

  27. Are these movements only intended for AC sprain? I have arthritis at the AC joint from Bench/OHP. By X-ray, there is no space between Acromion and distal clavicle. “Bone on bone” as my ortho said. Wondering if PT could help this at all versus Mumford procedure.

  28. thanks man! i injured my shoulder 5 years ago and let it heal without seeing a doctor. after 5 years of pain, all signs ate pointing towards some kind of AC injury. This is one of the videos where I can actually feel the blood flow and relief in my arm. Thanks so much!!

  29. I'm starting to get a/c joint pain when I bench press, It's not bad but annoying. I have the little bump in the a/c joint area which I'm pretty sure I got from a hard impact wrestling years ago. Would you recommend stopping all pressing movements until the pain goes away? Sorry if you mentioned that in the video.

  30. Not sure if you read these but… When i was in the Marine Corps I injured both of my ac joints (type 2) and they’ve never been the same since (10years ago) with doing these rehab exercises will they eventually get better or is it pretty much surgery only since it’s been so long? Sorry, I know you probably can’t legally give certain advice but “if a friend posed the question” type of thing

  31. Does anyone know how long it might take it too start getting better ? Or anyone who can personally say how long it took them

  32. I can't even do the first exercise. My hands are nowhere near the wall. I clearly have a shoulder mobility issue. I've turned shoulder, which I'm working on. I also have a recurring shoulder pain in my right shoulder. This has a significant impact on my training.

  33. I always wondered why sprinting aggravated it. You swing your arms fast from check to check which puts the AC in a hyper-extended position.

  34. Hey doctor i been having pain on my shoulder for about 2 weeks now, ( i do weights and think it was durong bench press) i have rest and put ice on it but it dosent get any better. When i move it i always feel a cracking or popping sound. Sometimes it hurts my clavicle too. What should i do i know is a minor injury because i have full range of motion with little pain but the popping is always there. Please help me i dont have money to go to a doctor

  35. How many time a day can you do these without hurting yourself more I’m been dealing with this Same thing for the past 4 5 years

  36. Thanks man! I had a level 2 tear of my AC joint 2 1/2 months ago after a downhill bike crash and although I have full movement my shoulder needs some work. I'll be trying these out. Gotta get a resistance band ASAP!

  37. Oddly, I got my AC joint pain from doing sprints one day and then doing pretty serious fascia stretching exercises (both of which I overdid). I never fell or anything like that. Thank you for this video!

  38. I don't have any pain but my ac joint makes sound of Cracking.
    Will these excersice help me to get rid out of those sound??

  39. I think I got ac joint .. when I use the arch push up my shoulder suddenly pop when I got down. I feel it that it was dislocated but then I push up, my shoulder bone then got back to its sucket. But now it's hurting and feels like it's a little loose. Should I do this treatment?

  40. I'm going to start these today. I have pain on that bump area of the shoulder now for a few months. Had an x-ray, and Dr. said it's not separated, so I hope these movements help! I get the weirdest thing now we're my hand gets cold a lot, ever since this injury occurred. Is that something normal that goes along with a joint pain??

  41. Thank you so much for your videos. There is one thing i would like you to help me with is that i have pain in my left shoulder right from the shoulder blades running up to the shoulders and down my elbows to my fingers. There is a bit of tingling sensation down my arm. Can you please suggest a exercise

  42. I dont know if this is ac joint or what, but when a shrug my shoulder forward and pullmy shoulder down i feel like a sharp in my shoulder. It is connected to my collar bone because i can feel on my collar bone when doing inhale exhale

  43. Hi Eric . A quick question please . When I’m doing the robot I feel in my right shoulder a screeching noise ( feeling ) like a grinding sort of .. Any idea what may cause that. ? Thank you

  44. My goodness! I have had AC joint issue for a while now(over a year now). I did the robot and external rotation for a bit and the pain is gone!

  45. I always do this exercise for a week without pain then i stop almost 2weeks,but start doing this exercise especially that robot arm my shoulder pain has return. What is the reason for this?

  46. Thank you the form of the rubber band worked more so using my chair n then my cane. Uve mastered proper shoulder movement I am sure. Now I have it too.

  47. I appreciate the effort but my ligament tore completely after falling on my shoulder after flying through the air and my clavicle is a few cm out of place vertically.

    First week was the worst, I had to keep it still completely because any movement hurt incredibly. After 2 weeks my arm was okay for ‘normal, passive’ lifestyle.

    I’m 3 weeks in now and it kind of hasn’t gotten much better than a week ago (I feel). So perhaps I have to ease it into certain movement.

    But for those wondering, it won’t get back into place so ye whichever retard tackled me scarred me for life.

  48. I have a 28 year old AC joint sprain, which I only recently got diagnosed by a massage guy in a market, after seeing many dozens of "professionals", (including a shoulder specialist)
    These exercises immediately caused involuntary laughter of realisation each time I did these exercises and a feeling that I can finally heal this long standing issue!

  49. so should you not do anything with your shoulder for a couple weeks before you start these exercises or can you do these right away?

  50. The robot immediately gave relief to clicking and pain in the pocket just below the ac joint – not sure what the heck was popping but this loosens and seems to reset everything – thanks

  51. Hi, on the last exercise I experience a pain where it feels like I am stretching a nerve down my arm during the protraction part of the pushup

  52. Hey, I need some help. I cannot perform the first exercise in the video. There is no way my body allows me to do it? Why is that

  53. i injured my ac joint 12 days ago…went to physiotherapist where physio told me to do abduction exercise with band….and painful behind back stretches….i think i have to shut his therapy…now i will start doing these exercises…one more point can i do internal external rotator cuff strenthening with band or to avoid that,,,,and how long it will take to heal( i think i have grade 1 tier no major swelling very minor swelling..but popup crack sound come from ac joint)

  54. Great video, rehabbing a AC separation and can already tell it is just what I need! Keep up the awesome work

  55. hey guys , i have diagnosed with an shoulder separation too, my doctor advice me to strong my biceps!from anatomy perspective it makes a lot of sense..i feel always better after biceps exercises but still the bugle remain there sometimes is a bit bigger sometimes less..could you give us any light exercise which could cause contraction in ligaments and healing them as a result of the micro inflammation..?

  56. Hey Eric! Great video!
    I’m experiencing a sharp pain when I’m doing the second exercise. Should I continue doing it regardless ?
    Thanks in advance!

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