A dislocated shoulder is every bit as painful as it sounds. Not only does it cause pain at the time of the injury, but it can also impact you over the long run in a variety of ways.
If you suspect that you have a dislocated shoulder, it’s important to receive immediate medical treatment. During your exam, your medical team can run a variety of tests to better understand what’s going on.
In most cases, an X-ray will provide a clear view of your shoulder, thus allowing your doctor to make an informed decision on the next steps.
There is more than one type of treatment for a dislocated shoulder. The extent of the damage goes a long way in determining which treatment strategy makes the most sense.
- Closed reduction: With this, your doctor does their best to gently maneuver the shoulder back into place. This is typically painful, so the use of a sedative or muscle relaxant can help. Once the bones are back in their proper position, severe pain almost always goes away immediately.
- Surgery: It’s not always required, but in the event of serious damage it may be your only option. For example, if you’re suffering from a recurring dislocation, surgery can go a long way in strengthening the area to prevent trouble in the future.
- Immobilization: You may need to wear a sling or splint for several days to keep your shoulder in place.
Along with the above, rehabilitation is almost always necessary after your shoulder begins to feel better. With the right rehab strategy, you can slowly begin to restore strength, stability and range of motion.
If you’re facing a minor shoulder dislocation without any collateral damage, you should begin to feel better after a few weeks. Conversely, a major injury, such as one that includes nerve damage, could result in many months of treatment and recovery time.
If you dislocated your shoulder at work, report the incident to your employer and keep them current on your treatment and recovery. You may be unable to return to your job in the near future, thus putting you in position to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This money will give you some financial comfort as you recover.