Q:

What types of physical therapy help with a broken collarbone?

A:

Quick Answer

Physical therapy for broken collarbones aims to control pain, increase range of motion, increase strength and deal with scar tissue, says About.com. For most individuals, collarbone physical therapy lasts six to eight weeks.

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Full Answer

Pain can linger for two to four weeks after a collarbone injury, says About.com. Physical therapists use heat, ice and electrical stimulation to help reduce pain.

Both the collarbone injury itself and immobilization during healing can cause loss of range of motion, notes About.com. Joint mobilization therapy helps to keep the affected joint mobile. Physical therapists also teach patients techniques to perform at home. The end goal of range-of-motion therapy is to ensure that patients are able to fully extend the arm to the side and reach above the head. Immobilization during healing also reduces the strength of the affected muscles. Because bone grows and heals proportionally to the stress it endures, strengthening exercises build gradually to progressively increase bone and muscle strength.

A physical therapist might perform massage techniques to help minimize and mobilize scar tissue, notes About.com. Scar tissue results from collarbone injuries that require surgery. The physical therapist might also instruct the patient in at-home massage techniques. Most collarbone injuries need to heal for three to four weeks before any extensive physical therapy begins. However, a therapist might assist earlier to help a patient learn to use the sling required during healing.

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