Shoulder dislocations, like any dislocation, can be very scary and very painful! Occasionally, the shoulder will pop back into place on it’s own, but if not the doctor will pop it back in at the emergency room. There are different types of dislocation depending on a couple factors such as timing of the injury, reason for the dislocation, and direction of the dislocation.
Why Do Shoulders Dislocate?
The shoulder is a very mobile joint in general, meaning it can move many directions. Shoulders typically dislocate from a forceful movement such as a fall or an impact. These acute types of shoulder dislocations can be set in the emergency room and will not likely require surgery.
And then there are those of us who are hypermobile–meaning their joints move even more than normal. Hypermobility is one of the common risk factors for dislocations. Recurrent dislocations are common in people who are hypermobile and also in people with labrum tears. If you are experiencing recurrent dislocations after a labrum tear, your physician may recommend surgery to repair the tear. If you experience recurrent dislocation from shoulder instability, your doctor may also recommend surgery to stabilize your shoulder.
Treatment after Shoulder Dislocation
Rest & Ice
Immediately after the shoulder dislocates, you will want to rest and ice. The emergency room physician will likely give you a sling to wear to help keep your shoulder stable while it heals. Once the initial pain has worn off, your doctor may prescribe therapy or give you exercises. Typically in therapy, we work to bulk up muscles around your shoulder. We do not recommend much stretching since the ligaments are most likely over-stretched from the dislocation.
In addition to strengthening the rotator cuff, we will also work on shoulder blade strengthening and core strengthening. As we mentioned in our blog about core strength, anchoring the shoulder blade to the core will provide stability to shoulder movement and in turn can prevent further dislocations.
Can Hand Therapy Help?
Did you know? Certified hand therapists are actually trained and certified from the fingertips to the shoulder. We can treat a variety of injuries in the shoulder, elbow, and hand. Call us today to see if LB Hand Therapy is the right place for you. We pride ourselves on exceptional, one-on-one care.
Did you dislocate your shoulder recently and are thinking about attending therapy? LBHT can help! Check out our Where to Begin page to become a patient.