A dislocated shoulder is defined by evident deformity with an unexplained bulge or lump. Aside from the shoulder pain and swelling, the injury can also result to muscle spasms.
These uncontrollable motions can aggravate the pain. The discomfort can also radiate up and down the arm, usually originating at the shoulder and moving up towards the neck.
Is treatment necessary?
Once the shoulder dislocates from the joint, it is vital to see a doctor right away to prevent further pain and damage.
While waiting for medical care, do not attempt to move the shoulder or try to push it back in place. Remember that this can damage the joint as well as the muscles, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels.
If possible, try to splint or place the shoulder in a sling to prevent movement until a doctor can be seen. Apply an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling.
Management of a dislocated shoulder
Once the injury is confirmed, the doctor will start the suitable treatment.
The procedure involves pushing the shoulder back into the joint. A mild sedative or muscle relaxant is given before the procedure to lessen any discomfort. An X-ray is performed after to confirm if the shoulder is in the right position.
Once the shoulder is restored in place, a sling or splint is used to prevent movement as it recuperates. In most cases, they are used for a few days up to 3 weeks.
As the individual heals and regains shoulder strength, drugs are necessary to ease the pain. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. An ice pack can be applied to ease the swelling and pain.
In some cases, a stronger variant might be prescribed by the doctor.
In severe cases, surgery might be required. This is the only option if closed reduction is not effective or there is significant damage to the adjacent muscles and blood vessels.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a dislocated shoulder is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.