A dislocated shoulder causes pain and result to immediate short-term disability and limited movement of the joint until the affected area is relocated or reset. It is an injury where the upper bone pops out of the socket which is part of the shoulder blade. The shoulder is susceptible to being dislocated because it is the most mobile joint in the body.
Symptoms of dislocated shoulder
- Deformity of the shoulder or misaligned shoulder
- Severe pain
- Swelling or bruising
- Inability to move the joint
- Numbness, weakness or tingling sensation can be felt near the affected area
- Spasm of the shoulder which causes severe pain
- A dislocated shoulder can be caused by trauma such as a direct blow on the shoulder due to vehicular accidents.
- Playing contact sports such as football, hockey, downhill skiing, gymnastics and volleyball which are prone to falling.
- Falling from a ladder or tripping on a loose rug
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected shoulder. Avoid performing movements that causes pain and lifting of heavy materials or overhead activity until the area is totally healed.
- Immobilize the arm by wearing a sling to minimize unnecessary movement of the shoulder, protection of the shoulder from becoming worse and lessen the pain. If a sling is not available, make one using a pillow case or a piece of clothing. Put the sling under the elbow or forearm and tie the ends around the neck.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected shoulder immediately after the injury to prevent inflammation and lessen the pain. Ice constricts the small vessels of blood or become narrow which reduces the flow of blood in the area. Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it using a towel and then place it on the affected shoulder for at least 15-20 minutes at a time every hour until the area becomes numb. If ice is not available, frozen bags of vegetables or a frozen gel pack are suitable options. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and making the condition worse.
- When pain and inflammation have improved, apply heat or a heating pad to relax the tight and sore muscles. Apply heat on the affected area for at least 20 minutes at a time.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen to relieve the pain and inflammation.
- After 1-2 days, perform gentle exercises with the help of a physical therapist to maintain the range of motion of the affected shoulder. Immobility can result to stiffness of the joints. Regular stretching, strengthening and stability exercises can prevent the recurrence of dislocation.
- Wear protective gear when playing contact sports
- Perform exercises regularly to maintain flexibility and strength of the muscles and joints.