Do the muscles around your shoulder cramp up since you’ve had a clavicle fracture?

How does a bone break cause muscle cramping?

While your clavicle fracture heals, you may be experiencing sudden cramping or deep aching of the muscles surrounding the joint: deltoid, triceps, upper back muscles on the side of the injury.

I recently suffered a hairline clavicle fracture. I was getting frequent attacks of cramping or deep aching while sitting at my computer and also while walking on my treadmill desk. Sometimes the cramps would occur while I was watching TV.

What do these three activities all have in common? Minimal movement of the shoulder.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, the GOOD shoulder doesn’t move much, either, save for handling the mouse and hitting Return on the keyboard.

Actually, if you’re sitting at your computer or TV with a clavicle fracture, the “good” shoulder is going to be moving more. The good shoulder will probably be handling the remote.

In my case, my good shoulder was also my dominant arm, so this meant that the injured side was especially immobile.

What causes the muscles around the shoulder in a fracture clavicle patient to cramp up or suddenly develop deep aching?

My physical therapist told me it was…inactivity. Certainly, do not engage in movements that promote the pain of the injury, but at the same time, don’t overprotect the shoulder by freezing it up while you’re watching TV or at the computer, either.

Medical Doctor’s Explanation

I wanted a doctor’s take on this, so for this article I asked Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association at

Here is what Dr. Dean explains: “The force that causes a fracture can leave the muscles and tendons inflamed and painful.

“Also any fracture will cause inflammatory products to flood the area, increase the lymph node size and lymph drainage and cause referred pain to the shoulder and triceps.”

Dr. Dean, in practice for 35+ years and author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” is also a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, acupuncturist, lecturer and consultant.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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