Dislocated Shoulder Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Arthritis
A dislocated shoulder can be challenging to deal with. However, it takes some time for patients to identify the problem and know what is really happening with them.
Now discussing what a dislocated shoulder is– It is a type of an injury, in which the top of your arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket. Our shoulders are made up of a ball and socket joint, which is why it is one of the most mobile joints in the body!
It can move 360 degrees and does not have a limit in terms of direction either. You can twist it and move it in any course you want; however, this is also why it is prone to slipping out of place. It can happen to several people; in which case it is called a dislocated or a separated shoulder.
There are several reasons why your shoulder might dislocate itself. These reasons include damage to the tissues and nerves or instability joint. People with arthritis also have a risk of dislocating their shoulder joint.
With a more microscopic view, a separated shoulder is when your socket is no longer anchored with the collarbone. It moves out of position and takes much more time to recover from it.
Partial Shoulder Dislocation
Sometimes patients also experience partial shoulder dislocation, also known as shoulder subluxation. It is when your shoulder does not entirely come out of your socket but comes out partially and damages the surrounding nerves and tendons.
It can occur due to trauma, injury, or even to victims of stroke. It causes a patient pain, inflammation, deformities, and difficulty moving their arm. If you feel such symptoms, then it is recommended to visit a doctor and get a diagnosis.
How does one get a dislocated shoulder?
If you have experienced a dislocated shoulder, then you might know that the experience is painful and something you would not want to go through again.
Here are a few reasons why you might get a dislocated shoulder in the first place. This way, you can be extra careful and avoid these situations the next time around.
· Injuries during movements
A dislocated shoulder can occur if you are part of any contact sport like hockey, football or rugby. The risk involved in these sports are much higher, and you are more susceptible to injuries and falls. Gymnasts and skiers are also at a high risk of getting shoulder dislocation during accidents or hits.
· Trauma (Accidents)
Apart from sports, other activities may have a higher risk of an injury. If you drive a motor vehicle, then an accident or a fall can cause a shoulder dislocation. Any sort of hard blow while riding an ATV or a raft too can lead to injuries.
Make sure you wear the right gear and take all safety precautions to avoid such injuries. The recovery process can be long and painful, as well.
If you experience a fall, there could be a chance that your shoulder dislocates. People over the age of 70 have weaker muscles, and a fall can lead to their shoulder popping out of their socket. Falls can also raise the chance of other injuries like muscle tears and nerve damage near the shoulder.
· History of dislocation
Another cause of shoulder dislocation is if you’ve had one previously. It increases your risk of getting injuries, and your muscles might get weaker. It is commended that you get regular exercise to prevent any chance of it happening again.
Older people have weaker muscles and tendons. Their nerve damage might heal at a slower pace as well. People who are between the age bracket of 40 to 70, they might experience injuries or falls that can lead to a dislocated shoulder.
Moreover, Teens or 20-year-old may also have a higher risk of getting a dislocated shoulder. They are physically active and involved in contact activities that leave them at a higher risk of injuries as well.
What does a dislocated shoulder feel like?
Coming to symptoms of a dislocated shoulder, there are several that can help you recognize whether you are experiencing one or not.
· Pain and Discomfort
A patient is supposed to feel a severe amount of pain in their upper arm after a dislocated shoulder. It restricts the range of motion. Moreover, it can make work or lifting day-to-day objects really difficult if your shoulder is separated.
On the other hand, there might be different kinds of symptoms that gradually show up as well. Symptoms can include an intense amount of pain as soon as the injury occurs. When your shoulder is separated, you will likely feel a surge of pain or a throbbing feeling.
· Physical Deformities
Moreover, you might notice physical deformation as well. There is a possibility you can see a bump protruding from the back of your shoulder or a hollow area depending on which way the bone was dislocated.
This is a sign that your condition can get worse and you should get a diagnosis of the ailment as soon as you can. This way, you can also start right away with the treatment.
· Inflammation and Bruising
You also start to develop bruising and swelling right after the injury your shoulder physically looks deformed, and you also will find inflammation and tenderness all around the shoulder and collarbone region.
You might develop light bruising, especially after a fall or an injury. Be sure not to move your arm too much and keep it in a relatively still position until you get to a doctor who can help you out.
· Inability to move the arm
A dislocated shoulder also means that now you cannot move your arm as you would usually. It will cause you extreme pain and can further worsen your condition. Try not to move your arm as much and keep it in a still position until you visit a doctor.
When you start to experience symptoms, it is better to head to the hospital right away and confirm them with a diagnosis. This way you can know whether or not you have a dislocated shoulder and start with treatment immediately
Arthritis of dislocation
Similarly, arthritis of dislocation is also a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain and inflammation in the shoulder region. This can lead to instability of the joint. In other terms, arthritis makes the joint weaker and increases the risk of dislocation.
Get a diagnosis
If you start experiencing pain and inability to move after an injury, it is essential to get a diagnosis right away. The right diagnosis will help you get along with treatment as well. Doctors start with a visual examination. They check for deformities and inflammation.
If the damage is noticeable, then that is enough to diagnose a dislocated shoulder. However, doctors also recommend imaging tests to eliminate other possibilities and causes of pain. This can include an X-ray that shows whether there’s any damage to the bone.
Doctors also go ahead with an MRI or an EMG for a more detailed report on your shoulder. This is primarily done with patients with a severe injury or have damaged nerves and tissue
Treatments of a dislocated shoulder
A dislocated shoulder can be extremely painful for the person. It restricts your range of movement t, and you cannot do simple tasks like lying down or doing essential day-to-day work.
It should be treated immediately as it does not heal on its own. Here are some treatments of a dislocated shoulder, that can help you be on your way to recovery!
Popping the socket back
The first thing doctored up for is to move the arm bone back into the shoulder socket. This might feel like an excruciating process, but it is a necessary one to help the treatment process get along. People who are suffering from swelling and bruising might feel tenderness along their collarbones and back.
Doctors might give a light sedative for the pain and try maneuvers to allow the shoulder back into the socket. Some doctors even opt for a sedative if the patient is experiencing an extreme amount of pain.
However, the pain improves almost immediately. You can treat it with a hot or cold press to ease the discomfort after the procedure, but your arm will be back to normal in no time!
Immobilization or wearing a shoulder brace
After your injury, an option is to wear a shoulder brace to immobilize your joint for a few days and allow it to heal. It restricts movements and speeds up the recovery process. You can also wear a special splint depending on the severity of your injury.
For more severe and high-risk injuries, your doctor might recommend surgery as a treatment option. It especially needed when your nerves and muscles are damaged during an injury. Moreover, it requires a more extended recovery period as well.
Medication is not necessarily a cure for a dislocated shoulder, but it can relieve patients of their pain and inflammation. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen that can put patients at ease after an injury or fall.
Some patients require rehabilitation after their sling or shoulder brace is removed. This includes shoulder exercises and physical therapy. This is to improve the patient’s range of motion and strength. It prevents further injuries and the risk of dislocation.
How long does it take for recovery?
Doctors recommend that you wear a shoulder brace or a sling for a few days, usually one week. After that, a range of treatment options that include physical therapy is recommended. Patients typically regain their movement in 3 to 6 months.
Although a dislocated shoulder recovery can take up 12 to 16 months, by this time, you can do day to day tasks and lift objects without experiencing any kind of discomfort or pain. During this time, patients should regularly exercise to keep their muscles flexible and healthy.
Can a dislocated shoulder be prevented?
Not only is the injury painful, but the recovery and treatment process is as well. So, is there any way a dislocated shoulder can be prevented? Yes, there are specific measures you can take to make sure you don’t have to experience the discomfort that comes along with a separated shoulder.
· Be extra careful!
If you are involved in the strenuous activity on a day to day basis or are an athlete, make sure you take you to take extra care about your movements and range. Do not go overboard with specific tasks and make sure you take all kinds of safety precautions.
If your occupation involves lifting, heights and over the head motion, then its better to take care of yourself on the job and avoid an unnecessary injury.
· Wear protective gears
Another thing you can do is wear the right protective gear that can prevent damage from an injury. This is especially a good tip for athletes who are involved in rigorous training and practice. Protective gear cushions fall and any other kind of damage you are likely to experience.
· Training and Gym
If you regularly exercise and keep your muscles strong, it can also prevent tears and dislocated shoulders. Over time your arms can handle the burden as their strength develops. You also gain flexibility, and that can further prevent injuries as well.
Once you get a dislocated shoulder, there is a higher chance that you might get one again. This is why preventive measures are extremely important. You can also ask your physician regarding proper exercises that can help improve your stability and strength.