Shoulder dislocations make up for 50% of all major joint dislocations in our body as per data published by the National Library of Medicine. shoulder dislocation is a common injury and can occur irrespective of age.

The shoulder joint also referred to as the “glenohumeral joint” is one of the major joints of the human body. It is the joint that connects the head of the humerus, or the upper arm bone connects with the scapula or the shoulder blade. It is a ball and socket type of joint and allows the arm to perform a range of movements including circular rotation, extension, stretching, and bending.

The shallow cavity and loose connection between the shoulder and the trunk allow this incredible range of motion. Unfortunately, this range of motion also makes the shoulder joint much more vulnerable to dislocation than any other joint in the body.

What is a shoulder dislocation?

 Shoulder dislocation or “shoulder joint dislocation” happens when the head of the upper arm bone or the humerus detaches from the shoulder joint.

A shoulder dislocation can be complete or partial. A partial shoulder dislocation is also known as shoulder subluxation. Shoulder dislocation can be anterior (front dislocation), posterior (back dislocation), inferior (downward dislocation). 

What causes shoulder dislocation?

Typical causes include:

  • A fall or injury on the shoulder or an outstretched arm
  • Trauma due to accident, or arthritis

Repetitive strain-inducing activities cause the ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint to loosen. Loosened ligaments make the shoulder unstable and increase the risk of shoulder dislocation.

Several sports including swimming, tennis, baseball, contact sports, and occupations, where repetitive pulling, stretching occurs, can also stretch the ligaments causing an unstable shoulder causing a partial dislocation.

Patients with prior shoulder dislocation are more prone to repetitive dislocation if the tissues do not heal properly.

What are the symptoms of a shoulder dislocation?

A shoulder dislocation is generally accompanied by a popping sensation, a sudden onset of pain, and decreased range of motion. Patients may also experience the sensation of the shoulder joint-rolling out of the socket, a clicking, locking, or popping sensation. Oftentimes, in addition to the pain, some patients with shoulder dislocation experience the sensation of tingling, numbness, weakness, or fatigue in the arm. This is most likely due to nerves that are pinched or stretched due to the dislocation.  

How do you treat shoulder dislocation?

Most anterior dislocation can be resolved through scapular manipulation and adjustments, stretching, exercises, and physical therapy. A chiropractor can recommend a personalized treatment plan based on your physical examination, medical history, pain index, and imaging tests.

Scapular manipulation and adjustments can be done both in upright and prone positions. Scapular (shoulder blade) manipulation is reported to be 80% to 100% successful in resolving anterior shoulder dislocations. There are several chiropractic techniques and therapies that your chiropractor can perform to treat shoulder dislocation in a safe, effective, and non-invasive manner.

Surgery is recommended only in a medical emergency when there is a fracture, torn ligaments, torn rotator cuff, or sudden acute trauma due to an accident.

Treat your shoulder dislocation with chiropractic care

It is possible to effectively treat and rehabilitate your shoulder and gain a full range of motion through chiropractic care. Your chiropractor can help manage your shoulder pain and provide safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for your shoulder dislocation. That is where the team at Cianci Chiropractic is here to help. Book your next appointment with us to discuss further.