If you suspect a shoulder sprain, such as after a fall from height in the workplace, it's critical to seek medical attention. Even if you assume you can treat the injury at home, doing so can result in more harm than good.
Every shoulder sprain fits into one of the following categories:
- Grade I: The acromioclavicular ligament is partially torn, but the coracoclavicular is uninjured.
- Grade II: The acromioclavicular ligament is entirely torn and the coracoclavicular is partially torn.
- Grade III: The acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular are both entirely torn.
Any type of shoulder sprain, even a Grade I injury, should prompt you to receive medical treatment.
What's the prognosis?
Your prognosis depends largely on the grade of the shoulder sprain, your age and your overall level of health.
For example, the long-term prognosis for a Grade I and II shoulder sprain is extremely good. While some symptoms may linger for an extended period of time, you're expected to make a full recovery.
However, a grade III shoulder sprain is much more severe, which can result in several months of immobility followed by physical therapy.
If you suffered a shoulder sprain at work, share the incident and the details of your injury with your employer. The sooner you do this the easier it is to prove that you were injured on the job.
If your medical team suggests time away from work to recover, file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The money you receive can help you financially until you're able to return to work in your former capacity.