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Separated shoulder: From diagnosis to treatment

If your job requires physical labor, you know just how important it is to care for your body. For example, if you work as a mover, it's a must that you never take on an item that is too heavy for you to comfortably carry.

A separated shoulder is one of the most common workplace injuries, especially among those who lift heavy items day in and day out.

If you believe you've suffered this injury, it's essential to receive immediate medical attention. In most cases, an X-ray can confirm your doctor's diagnosis and determine the severity.

Treatment is based on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury. For instance, a minor separation may heal on its own over a period of several weeks. A more serious injury, however, could take many months to heal.

In the event of a serious injury, or one that is accompanied by a fracture or ligament tear, surgery may be required. Otherwise, rest, ice and physical therapy is a strategy that has been proven successful.

As you can imagine, it's next to impossible to use your arm after suffering a separated shoulder. Attempting to do so will only make your injury worse, and that's not a risk you should be willing to take.

If you suffer a separated shoulder on the job, make sure you report the injury to your employer and receive immediate medical treatment. Doing both of these things will put you in position to receive workers' compensation benefits, which provides you with some financial assistance until you can return to your job.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Separated shoulder," accessed Nov. 14, 2017

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