What’s the best treatment of a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder is a painful injury that can make it difficult to live your day-to-day life. If you suspect this injury, it's imperative to receive immediate medical attention, as this will ensure that you get the right treatment plan in place as quickly as possible.

There are many common causes of a dislocated shoulder, such as:

  • Attempting to break a fall with your hand
  • Blunt force trauma to the shoulder
  • Falling onto your shoulder

Many of these accidents can happen at the workplace, such as if you slip and fall from height.

It's important to follow the treatment strategy outlined by your doctor, as they know how to best nurse you back to health. Here are some of the things you may discuss:

  • Ice therapy: Ice can reduce pain and swelling, especially over the first few days after the injury.
  • Immobilize the shoulder: With the use of a sling, for example, you can immobilize your shoulder to give it time to heal.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: There are both prescription and over-the-counter drugs to consider, so speak with your doctor about which type is best for your injury.
  • Surgery: This isn't typically required, but, in the most severe of cases, it may be necessary. For example, surgery is suggested if your bones are misaligned and require repositioning.

How long does it take to heal?

How quickly you make a full recovery depends on many factors, including the severity of the injury and your willingness to follow the treatment plan.

Generally speaking, a dislocated shoulder takes anywhere from six to 12 weeks to fully heal. If you don't make any progress during that time, your doctor may want to consider more advanced treatment options, such as surgery.

If you suffer a dislocated shoulder at work, stop what you're doing and report the injury to your supervisor. From there, take these steps:

  • Receive treatment at a local hospital
  • Follow the treatment plan outlined by your doctor
  • Avoid physical activity that could worsen your injury
  • File a workers' compensation claim

If your San Bernardino employer disputes your workers' compensation claim, it could result in a denial. At this point, don't hesitate to file an appeal with the hope of having the original decision overturned.

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