Collar Bone Pain

Collar Bone Pain can show up for several different reasons.

It can be bone related pain, or muscle related pain that -feels- like bone pain.

Is it anything to worry about?  Depends on how bad it's hurting, and how much its affecting your day to day life.

Can you get rid of the pain?  Depends on the reasons that it's hurting, but in general, yes.

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Causes of Collar Bone Pain

There are primarily two causes or categories of collar bone pain:

  1. Sudden injury, like impact a broken or fractured collar bone
  2. Forces (like muscular tightness or imbalance slowly pushing and/or pulling on it

Sudden impact is the most common cause of collar bone pain.

Sudden impact comes from:

  • Car accident
  • Sports injury (football, soccer, wrestling, etc)
  • Falling off a horse or down the stairs
  • A fall landing on arm/shoulder
  • Any event where the collarbone is impacted

Less common is pain in a collar bone area from the longer term side effects of something like:

The Tendonitis dynamic tightens things up and makes things hurt.  This tightness can spread and affect the collar bone.

See:  What Is Tendonitis?

Far less common is something like bone cancer or a bone cyst or advanced osteoporosis, or even Vitamin D deficiency.

Sudden Onset Collar Bone Pain

Impact Trauma Causes Collar Bone Pain

Car crashes.   Falls from any height where one lands on hand/arm/shoulder.  Sports impact (slammed in wrestling, football impact with other player or ground, etc).

And impact like that can cause a break for a fracture or a dislocation.

Collar bone fracture or break

When I was in 8th grade the wrestling coach picked me up and slammed me to the mat.  His whistle was in his shirt pocket, and the whistle hit my collar bone with some of his weight behind it.

Turns out it fractured my collar bone.  (It hurt A LOT).

Now I have a boney lump on collar bone on that side.  It doesn't hurt, but the lump is from new bone growth 'healing' the fracture.

Any impact on the bone can cause a fracture or break or dislocation.

  1. Foreceful impact event
  2. The force of impact causes the collar bone to fracture or break, overcoming the structural integrity of the bone
  3. One or more cracks form
  4. Pain, and lots of it
  5. Bone eventually repairs itself

These are REALLY painful, but they heal.

What Do I Do For A Fractured Collar Bone?  

What Do I Do For A Broken Collar Bone?

If it's just a fracture, there' nothing to do for it but give it time and nutrition, and ice it to help reduce pain and increase circulation.

If it's a break, it depends on how severe it is.  It's not like an arm where one can just put a cast on it.

So surgery may be required to install pins and/or plates.

I'm not a fan of surgery, but this is one of those times where it may  be not only a good idea, but necessary.

Every breath you take, every move you make, will move the broken edges of the bone together.

Not only will this be incredibly painful, but it may prevent the bone from healing correctly or even healing at all.

Bad news.

Either way, fracture or break, it's very likely going to hurt.  A lot.  If not, then count yourself lucky.

Slow Onset Collar Bone Pain

If collar bone pain doesn't show up from a sudden impact, then it shows up from slower forces.

This can be from bad posture, the tendonitis dynamic, old injuries, etc.

1.  Forces pushing/pulling on the collar bone

You know that 'hunched forward' position most people have these days from our sedentary lifestyles?  

That position brings the shoulders and neck forward, so structures on the front of the neck and shoulders get shortened and stuck short.

This means muscles (and connective tissue) are constantly pushing and pulling on the collar bone that shouldn't particularly be pulling on them.

So if you feel pain in the collar bone, it may be because muscles directly attached to it are pulling on it 24/7, or it could be because the collar bone is getting literally bent as other bones it attaches too are pushing/pulling on the collar bone itself.

Gently pull on your finger while bending it slightly.  Even though it's gentle, keep that up for a week or more and that gentle constant pressure will cause pain.  It's like that.

2.  A repaired fracture or break

Remodeling of a fractured or broken collar bone causes a 'lump' where the new bone tissue has formed.  This lump can be painful to the touch.

And if it is painful to the touch, then the brain is always aware of that and trying to 'help', which quickly or slowly causes the body to 'guard and protect'.  The progressive tightness will cause some sort of negative effect somewhere down the line, whether it's felt around the collarbone or elsewhere (like contributing to shoulder tendonitis).

And that sends us right back to #1.

3.  Old injuries in the area

Shoulder injury, neck injury like whiplash or equivalent, etc, can cause collar bone pain.

Look back to #1.  Injury causes lasting and progressive muscle tightness, which pulls on tissue around it.  This can and does pull on the collar bone, which sooner or later can cause pain and problem.

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