Are you perplexed that your mild clavicle fracture is causing pain several inches from the actual site of the break?

I just couldn’t figure out why the hairline fracture (from a freak fall) at the distal portion of my clavicle had resulted in pain toward the middle portion and below the bone in that area—that fleshy indented part of the shoulder area.

Distal refers to away from the midline of the body, so in this case, close to the deltoid muscle.

I had not asked my primary care physician about this, who was the doctor I had seen at the beginning.

But I had one visit with a physical rehab specialist. He gave a vague explanation for why the pain of a broken clavicle does not always correspond to the exact location of the break.

He said that the patient may not always accurately perceive the precise location of pain, and that also, the shoulder is funny in the way things work.

By the time I saw a sports medicine doctor (at least six weeks out from the fracture), the pain had become much reduced and I didn’t even think to ask him about it.

But I thought this would make a good article, so I asked Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.

“The force that causes a fracture can leave the muscles and tendons inflamed and painful,” says Dr. Dean.

I felt the pain whenever I lifted my arm out straight in front (shoulder flexion); for instance, while walking on my treadmill desk and lifting my hand to use the keyboard which is at about chest level.

To eliminate the pain I had to lift the hand up (holding the wrist) with my other hand so that the movement was passive instead of active, and set the hand on the keyboard.

It hurt when I worked with my hair and put on and took off shirts. Eventually this pain disappeared outright.

Dr. Dean adds, “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

Dr. Dean, in practice for 35+ years and author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” is also a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, acupuncturist, lecturer and consultant.