If a shoulder becomes dislocated there are a few different treatment options. Here are some treatments for shoulder dislocation – first some home remedies until you can reach a doctor or emergency room.
1. Use a sling; if you don’t have a sling, you can make one using a piece of cloth made into a circle. A sheet is a good option for this.
2. Place a pillow between the arm and the body to add support
3. Do not eat – most treatment will require an empty stomach, so if you must have something, eat ice chips until you can be seen.
Sometimes there is no further action required to treat the dislocated shoulder than to place in a sling and take a prescription pain reliever; but for young patients, there is a higher risk for recurrence and so should be treated more aggressively. Patients over the age of 40 have a low risk for recurrence. Immediate treatment of some sort as soon as possible will reduce the amount of damage to the joint -so it is imperative to act quickly.
Medical treatments for shoulder dislocation include operative and non-operative. For first time shoulder dislocation a sling and physically therapy may be tried first. The patient would be required to limit the use of the arm for several weeks, by continuing to wear the sling and participate in physical therapy to build stamina, and strengthen the shoulder muscles, so as to prevent recurrence.
In the doctor’s office or ER, they may use medication to relax the patient and then relocated the shoulder manually after reviewing x-rays to see exactly what the extent of the dislocation is. The patient would then need to wear a sling and rest the joint for several weeks and could be prescribed physical therapy to help strengthen the shoulder. Medications and procedures to do this include general anesthesia or local anesthetics and sedatives. A dislocated shoulder can be extremely painful, but once the shoulder has been manipulated back into place, the pain relief is instantaneous.
For a more severe case operation may be the best option- surgery is done to repair and tighten the shoulder structure so as to prevent another incident. The most common procedure is open reconstruction, but there are newer, less invasive procedures that are becoming more available such as Arthroscopic surgery.
More treatments for shoulder dislocation include the use of an ice pack for the first 1 to 2 days and then a heat pack after the first two days for pain relief. Another treatment for shoulder dislocation is the use of a brace; while this can prevent further recurrence, the brace itself can be difficult for an athlete to continue to play their sport while wearing.