Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Shoulder Dislocation

 igor stiler

Common among athletes, shoulder dislocation happens when the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket. The article discusses the nonsurgical treatment options for the condition.

Shoulder dislocation is one of the common sports injuries treated in pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC. The most mobile joint in the body, the shoulder can turn in many directions, which makes it susceptible to dislocation. Shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone (humerus) pops out of the cup-shaped shoulder socket (glenoid). The dislocation can be partial or complete, causing pain and unsteadiness in the shoulder. In a partial dislocation, the head of the upper arm bone is partially out of the socket, while in a complete dislocation, it is completely out of the socket.

Shoulder dislocation can occur among people of all age groups, but it is more common in people involved in sports and other rigorous physical activities. Older adults (particularly women) are also at risk because they are more likely to fall. Causes of shoulder dislocation include: overuse/repetitive shoulder ligament strain (from playing sports), loose capsular ligaments, multi-directional instability, traumatic injury, (due to a fall, sports injury, or car accident) and other trauma not related to sports (like a hard blow to your shoulder during a motor vehicle accident).


Signs and symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include –

  • A visibly deformed or out-of-place shoulder
  • Apprehension to put your shoulder in certain positions
  • Intense pain
  • Muscle spasms in your shoulder
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling sensation in the area
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Trouble moving your arm

If you experience any of the above symptoms and suspect shoulder dislocation, seek medical treatment right away. If left untreated, the condition can cause numerous complications such as tearing of the muscles, ligaments and tendons, nerve or blood vessel damage (in or around the shoulder joint), and severe shoulder instability. In most cases, treatment restores complete shoulder function within a few weeks. However, once the shoulder is dislocated, the joint may become unstable and prone to repeated dislocation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of this shoulder condition will begin with a detailed discussion about symptoms and injury history. The orthopedist will examine the shoulder for dislocation or signs of instability. The affected area will be inspected for tenderness, swelling or deformity. X-ray and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would be necessary to identify the type and extent of the injury. Shoulder MRI will reveal broken bones or other damage to the joint.

In reliable multispecialty healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC, pain management specialists including physical therapists, chiropractors, neurologists, anesthesiologists and orthopedic specialists collaborate to develop customized, non-surgical treatment plans to help patients resolve pain, restore range of motion and functionality, and avoid re-injury.

Treatment will begin with the replacement of the joint in the socket. The patient may be required to wear a sling to immobilize the shoulder. Based on the patient’s condition, a variety of nonsurgical modalities will be used to reduce pain and swelling. The top non- surgical modalities available in leading multispecialty healthcare centers are physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain medications and rehabilitation exercises.

Physical therapy exercises improve shoulder functioning and increase strength, flexibility, and mobility. Modalities such as ice and heat application, ultrasound, and TENS work to alleviate pain directly. Chiropractic adjustments involve gentle manipulation of the shoulder joint and other treatments to reduce pain and improve function. Anti- inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and cox-2 inhibitors reduce swelling, inflammation and relieve pain associated with the dislocated joint.

Once the pain and swelling symptoms descends, rehabilitation exercises will begin with focus on restoring full range of motion as quickly and safely as possible. Rehabilitation generally begins with gentle muscle toning exercises and weight training may be added on later. If these non-surgical therapies do not work or fail to provide the desired results, surgery may be needed to repair or tighten the torn or stretched ligaments that hold the joint in place.

Domain: Medical
Category: Therapy
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