Written by James Seeds, MD on August 27, 2013
I dislocated my shoulder… what should I do?
Dislocating your shoulder can be extremely painful. The good news is, once the shoulder is back in the socket, pain relief is almost immediate. Sometimes, getting a shoulder back in place requires a trip to the Emergency Room where a doctor will relax the muscles surrounding the shoulder and put the ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) back into the socket. This is called a “closed reduction”. Sometimes, the shoulder can work its way back into place and some people are able to manipulate their shoulder back into the socket on their own. Regardless, it’s a good idea to get an x-ray to make sure there isn’t a fracture and have it examined by an orthopedic surgeon. If you have x-rays from an Emergency Room, bring them with you to your appointment with your orthopedic doctor. If have to wait a few days for an appointment, using a sling to immobilize your arm/shoulder along with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Aleve® or Advil® can help with any discomfort. Your age and activity level will determine the chances of dislocating your shoulder again. A young, active athlete is at high risk; older sedentary patients are at significantly lower risk.
James R. Seeds, MD holds a double board certification in both Orthopeodic Surgery and Sports Medicine. He was fellowship trained in Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute (Birmingham, AL) in the company of internationally renowned surgeons Dr. Lawrence Lemak and Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Seeds is a partner at the Midwest Bone & Joint Institute (Algonquin, Barrington, Elgin and Geneva, IL).