A shoulder dislocation occurs when your upper arm bone, called the humerus, pops out of the socket that is part of your shoulder blade. The shoulder joint is extremely mobile and, therefore, susceptible to dislocation due to sports injuries, falls, or trauma. A dislocated shoulder is extremely painful and requires immediate medical attention to avoid complications such as nerve or blood vessel damage, torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments, and long-term shoulder instability.
Once you have received the appropriate emergency medical treatment for your injury, you can take the following steps to ease your pain and encourage healing following a shoulder dislocation:
Rest Your Shoulder:
It is critical that you refrain from painful movements while your shoulder heals. This means you should avoid lifting heavy objects, repeating actions that caused the dislocation, or reaching overhead until advised by your doctor.
Use Ice and Heat:
For the first couple of days following your injury, you should apply ice packs to the area to reduce pain and inflammation. You should use the ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours.
The initial pain and inflammation will usually improve after two to three days. At this time, you can apply heat to the shoulder. This will relax the muscles and promote blood flow to the area, which helps in healing. You can use heat therapy for up to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours.
You can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to ease your pain. In some cases, your doctor may recommend prescription pain medications. Of course, you should follow all label and prescribing instructions, and stop taking the medication as soon as the pain improves.
Exercises can help build shoulder stability, strength, and range of motion following a dislocation. Your doctor or physical therapist can suggest appropriate exercises to help you regain your strength. It is important that you resist the temptation to favor the injured arm since doing this for a long period can cause the shoulder to become overly stiff or frozen.
Once a joint has been dislocated, it is more prone to future dislocations. A daily exercise regimen focused on strengthening, flexibility, and stability can help prevent repeat shoulder dislocation injuries. Of course, you should also take preventative measures such as wearing protective gear when playing sports and taking care to avoid falls.Read More