Dislocating Your Shoulder: What You Should Know About Treatments

Health & Medical Blog

Many people, particularly those who play sports or who engage in a great deal of heavy lifting, will dislocate their shoulder at some point during their lives. And for a lot of people, a dislocated shoulder seems like no big deal. However, the reality is that anytime the ball joint of your humerus (upper arm bone) pops out of the shoulder socket, serious problems can occur. Dislocated shoulders can be accompanied with tears to ligaments and tendons and may require extensive treatment for the full recovery of joint strength and range of motion. Get to know some of the treatment options for a dislocated shoulder so that you can be prepared for what you may need to do in order to protect the overall health of your shoulders. 


Reduction is the first line of treatment in dealing with a dislocated shoulder. This is the act of essentially popping the shoulder back into place. A doctor will often sedate the patient with a dislocated shoulder or apply a mild anesthetic as the manipulation of the humerus back into the shoulder socket can be painful.

The doctor will rotate your arm until the ball joint is back in place. You will then get x-rays taken so that the doctor can ensure the proper positioning of the shoulder and assess if there is any further damage to the bones in the surrounding area. 

Many people think that they can pop their dislocated shoulder back into place themselves based on what they have seen on television or in movies. However, attempting to do so in real life can result in a great deal of pain, not to mention serious damage to the shoulder joint, muscles, and ligaments. It is never a good idea to try reduction of a dislocated shoulder without medical supervision. 


Sometimes the damage from a dislocated shoulder is quite extensive and a simple reduction followed by rest and strengthening exercises is not enough to repair the damage. Also, many people who have previously dislocated their shoulder will do so again due to a weakening of the shoulder joint from the original dislocation (and each subsequent dislocation). 

In such instances, surgery to repair the damage is often necessary. A shoulder surgeon can go in either arthroscopically or through an open surgical procedure to repair ligament tears and to repair damage to the cartilage in the shoulder that is displaced as the result of a shoulder dislocation. 

When a person goes through surgery to repair a dislocation, they will go through an extensive recovery process that includes resting the shoulder to let it heal and stabilize and going through physical and occupational therapy in order to strengthen the shoulder joint and ensure that a person retains their range of motion and flexibility.

Now that you know more about the treatment process for a dislocated shoulder, you can be sure to take the proper precautions the next time you are dealing with a dislocation. Remember that you should always seek out medical care if you suspect a shoulder dislocation. Trying to repair it yourself will most likely do you more harm than good. 

For more information, contact a medical facility such as Interior Alaska Orthopedic & Sports Medicine.


11 September 2015

pediatric eye exams - are they needed?

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