T Nation

AC seperation

Just sustained a third degree ac seperation. Basically the three tendons holding my shoulder to my body were destroyed. Have a lot of people had this? What was recovery like, how is lifting now etc. Thanks for feedback.

I’ve had separations of each shoulder, the left shoulder once and the right shoulder 3 times. Mine have never been as bad as a grade 3 - the worst I’ve had is grade 2.

The jury is out on the surgery route - the recovery rate is virtually identical for those that have the surgery and those who don’t. There may be other factors, particularly if you have imbalances that may be exacerbated by the structural weakness imparted by this injury.

The standard treatment is rest, anti-inflammatories, ice, and support (probably a sling). Once the pain has reduced somewhat, they will probably start therapy, which typically is very light weight “T” exercises (basically a front raise, lateral raise, rear raise combo), and maybe shrugs. And by light weight I mean light weight. They’ll probably start you with a 1 lb dumbell. I have a 3 and a 5 left over from the last time I went through this.

This will take time, but don’t rush and get impatient - that will backfire long term.

My advice is to keep up your diet and cardio, although you may need to drop running because the bouncing will hurt like hell. Do a leg-centric workout for a while, and maybe some iso-lateral stuff with your uninjured side. You won’t be able to push or pull for a while. You have to let this heal or it will just happen again.

One thing that helped me long term was the book “the 7 minute rotator cuff solution” from Fit for Life. It has a bunch of reasonable advice for shoulder health, perticularly concentrating on external rotation exercises and which exercises to avoid with this type of injury.

Good luck, take your time, and don’t rush. It will be frustrating, but pushing back in too soon will just reinjure it.

Thanks JayM. Day two after the injury, planning rehabilitation. I was hoping Thib might give me his two cents about recovering from this injury as quickly and completely as possible. I’d imagine you’ve had a lot of hockey/football players that had to comeback after this injury. Thanks

Keep bumping or PM Eric Cressey. He is the shoulder anatomy guru. I’m sure he’d have some great advice for you.

Hopefully EC will jump in and help you out with this. I’ve done it to both shoulders and for me it was about an 6-8week recovery period. I would’nt rush the rehab and don’t push yourself to lift heavy again until you’re fully recovered. I rushed my recovery both times and I believe my shoulders continue to suffer because of it, among other reasons. I’m sure EC can give you much better and more comprehensive advice. Best of luck