When you dislocate your joint, this can be very painful and it will cause you to temporarily have problems with moving your shoulder and arm. You cannot move your joint unless it has been reset and relocated by a medical professional. You can always go to the hospital for this but if you would be given a chance to correct and pop back your dislocated shoulder on your own, would you do it?
It should be remembered that your shoulder may be prone to dislocation mainly because it is a mobile joint. If you would fall on the ground or you would try to break your movement against the wall, there is a big chance that you will dislocate it. This will make your whole arm awkward and painful.
Just remember that if you would not be able to pop back your dislocated shoulder in due time, it may come to a point when you need to undergo surgery just to return it back to its proper position.
Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder
There are various reasons why you may get a dislocated shoulder. Like mentioned earlier, it may be because of falling on the ground with your arms outstretched or your shoulder being impacted by any force. If your arm would be placed in a weird position, you can already expect that you will suffer from this.
- The shoulder will look deformed.
- The shoulder will not be in its proper place.
- You will feel that your shoulder is a bit numb.
- There may be a slight change with your arm’s overall appearance but this may only happen when some of your nerves and blood vessels get affected.
- There is a fracture that is normally located at the upper arm or at the shoulder area.
If you are experiencing more than one of the symptoms that are mentioned above then you can say that you are suffering from a dislocated shoulder.
Things to Do to Ease Pain From Dislocated Shoulder
Having a dislocated shoulder can be painful and you still need to get medical attention to check if it has been popped correctly but while you are waiting, there are some things that you can do in order to ease the pain:
- Put ice on the affected area
Inflammation is one of the things that you have to fight when you dislocate your shoulder and you can do this effectively by placing ice on the affected area. Ice can make the affected blood vessels constrict. When you lessen the inflammation, you will also lessen the pain that you have to endure.
- Prepare crushed ice.
- Place inside clean cloth.
- Apply on the affected area for about 20 minutes.
- You may do this every hour so that the pain will be lessened.
- Remember not to place it on the skin for over 20 minutes as this may cause some skin issues later on.
- Do not move your arm
As much as possible, you need to immobilize your shoulder and your arm. If you try to move it, you are only going to make the injury worse. You may end up fracturing your arm and having to undergo stitches. The best thing to do is to immobilize your arm. If you can get help from the people that you are with then accept it.
- You may need to use a piece of clothing in order to immobilize your arm especially if you do not have the ready made sling.
- The sling should be under your forearm so that it can support the injured area. You have to tie the edges of the clothing around your neck. Once again, this is only applicable if you do not have the regular sling. If you have the regular sling then you just need a bit of help in situating your arm.
- By doing this, you can greatly reduce the level of pain that you may endure. At the same time, you are avoiding the possibility of getting further injuries.
- Drinking Medications for Pain
There is a big possibility that you are going to be in pain while your shoulder is dislocated. There are some anti inflammatory medications that you can take that will allow you to get rid of the pain brought about by the dislocation. Just remember that you are not supposed to take medications unless advised by your doctor. There are some medications that are supposed to thin the blood. When this happens, the clotting ability of your skin and the rest of your body will be reduced. Contact your physician about your symptoms first before taking medications.
Popping Back Your Shoulder Yourself
It should be remembered that you should try to avoid doing this as much as possible as it is dangerous and you may end up making your situation worse. There are times however when you are encountering an emergency situation and you need to have your shoulder relocated at the soonest possible time, this is the process that you have to follow:
- Let gravity pull the dislocated shoulder downwards first. This will allow you to not extend other parts of your body that may aggravate your condition.
- Rotate your shoulder backwards. Remember to focus on your shoulder and not your arms.
- Your torso should be outwards.
- Your arms are most likely going to be stiff but you can make it stiffer and slowly pull it up.
- You will know if you are doing it correctly if you are going to feel tension near the shoulder and the upper arm area.
- Slowly move your arm until you hear a pop and your shoulder will be placed back on.
Admittedly, the instructions above seems easy enough but it can be difficult when you are doing it on your own. It can also be difficult if this is the first time that it has happened to you and you do not have any idea if you are doing it correctly. Generally, if you were able to do it successfully, you will regain some movement from your dislocated shoulder
There are some general rules that you have to remember before you decide to pop your shoulder back by yourself or with the help of the family member:
- Only do this when 12 hours have gone by without any medical professional available to help you out.
- It is okay to do this when you are in an isolated place and you know that medical help will not come for hours.
There are some complications that you can expect to feel if in case you pop your shoulder back and you do it in the wrong manner such as the following:
- Tearing your muscles further
- Tearing your ligaments and tendons
- Damaging your blood vessels and nerves in the process
- Making your shoulder bleed especially if you have an open fracture
- Experiencing severe pain especially when you try to move your arm in a fast manner
- You may lose consciousness when the pain that you are experiencing is too great.
Popping Back Your Shoulder with Help
If in case you would like someone else to help you out with relocating your shoulder, do not take it against other people if they would not be too happy or eager to help you. It is likely that they want to help get rid of the pain and discomfort but because they do not have any knowledge, they are just afraid that they may end up hurting you more.
If in case you do find someone that is willing to help you, here is the process that you have to follow:
- Lay down flat on your back on a flat surface.
- Place the injured arm away from you and make sure that it is at a 90 degree angle.
- The person who is going to help you should hold on your arm or your hand and slowly pull on it. The pull should be slow and steady. If the pull would be sudden then this may end up hurting your arm even more.
- You would know if popping the shoulder back is successful if you hear a certain sound and the shoulder will feel like it has gotten back into position although it may be a bit sore.
- The moment that the shoulder has gotten back to its normal position, you will begin to feel that the pain will lessen immensely.
Remember that the shoulder will still be a bit unstable and you still need to have your shoulder checked by a medical professional so you need to keep your arm in a sling for the meantime.
Getting Your Shoulder Relocated with Professional Help
Let us say that you have access to medical help. Do not disregard it. You can go to the hospital immediately so that your doctor can assess the type of treatment that you may need. If there is nothing broken and there is nothing that is badly torn, then the doctor may do a method called closed reduction maneuver. This involves having to rotate your shoulders and flex your elbows so that the shoulders can be placed back in. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a mild sedative because the pain might be too much for you to bear.
Possibility of Undergoing Surgery
If in case the damage that has been done to your shoulder and arm is more severe and serious than what you initially thought, the doctor will prescribe that you undergo surgery. The doctor may also recommend surgery if your shoulder keeps on dislocating. There may be some ligaments and joints that may become more dislocated in the long run.
The reason why surgery may be the best option if you keep on dislocating your joints is because there is a need for your joints to be stabilized. The things that you are going to do as you get older will become harder for your joints, bones and muscles to sustain. You need to be prepared for these things.
The type of surgery that will be done by your doctor will be based on some factors:
- Extent of the damage done to the affected area
- Current lifestyle
- Level of activity
If you are younger than 30 years old, undergoing surgery may be your best option because your chances of recovery are also higher.
Whether you have undergone the treatment prescribed by your doctor to relocate your shoulder or you have undergone surgery, remember that you need to strengthen your joints. You can do this by undergoing treatments and rehabilitation.
You may choose from:
- Physical Therapists
- Athletic Therapists
There are some people who get various treatments from these medical professionals depending on their needs and the treatments that they like to get. Generally, they can help you gain back your strength and allow you to use your shoulder and your arm with ease. There are also some exercises that will be recommended to you in order to strengthen your shoulder and arm further.
Recovering from the dislocation of your shoulder will vary depending on the treatment that you have to do in order to put the shoulder back in. If in case you did not require surgery, you may need about 2 weeks of still placing your arm in a sling and making sure that you do not move it around that much. If you have undergone surgery, your recovery time is much longer. Follow the directions of your doctor regarding the other things that you can do in order to lessen your recovery period and of course, let your shoulder and arm heal nicely.
It can be harder for you if you are an athlete because if you needed surgery because of the dislocation of your shoulder, you would need about half a year before you can start playing again. This might take a toll on your game play.
If you would take good care of your body and you make sure that you do stretches and proper exercises before making some physical efforts, you can lessen the possibility of suffering from shoulder dislocation.