Shoulder rehab exercises for a shoulder dislocation is usually started after a period of immobility in a sling.
The definition of a shoulder dislocation is when the head of the humerus (or ball component) pops out of the socket. A shoulder dislocation occurs when you fall on the shoulder, being hit with a force and trying to break a fall with your hand.
The initial orthopedic treatment is called a reduction which involves placing the head of the humerus back into the socket. Once the procedure is finished the arm is immobilized in a sling for a few weeks to allow the shoulder joint to heal. With sufficient healing the patient is now ready to start shoulder rehabilitation exercises.
Here we are going to discuss the physical therapy needed to recover from this injury.
An x-ray will clearly indicate that a shoulder is dislocated but if the orthopedist believes that the dislocation is severe an MRI should be performed to rule out any damage to bone, muscle, tendons or ligaments.
The symptoms of shoulder dislocation are (1) severe pain around the shoulder (2) tenderness of joint and collar bone (3) swelling along all aspects (4) hematoma and bruising (5) restricted range of motion and (6) deformity of shoulder usually an abnormal bump.
On the initial visit with the physical therapist range of motion measurements will be taken to get an idea of the limitation of the motion and pain threshold. The therapist will also examine the strength and functional capability of the involved upper extremity.
Starting right out of the gate the therapist will show proper performance of pendulum exercises, pulleys and finger ladder. Mild passive range of motion exercises by the therapist will accelerate return of motion. Aggressive stretching is not performed so as to avoid a recurrent dislocation. Proper technique in supporting the arm during passive motion is extremely important.
The most important part of shoulder rehab exercises is the strengthening program to regain the lost strength from the injury and immobility. Muscle strengthening to the rotator cuff, biceps, triceps and upper trapezius must be stressed during this part of treatment. If muscles surrounding the shoulder are slow in reacting the therapist may choose an electrical stimulator to assist. Using ultrasound to ease some of the discomfort is common. For best results it is best to warm the shoulder prior to treating and ending the session with ice application.
The average recovery time from a shoulder dislocation is approximately 8-12 weeks but it does not end there. It is common on discharge that the shoulder feels unstable and the patient still experiences some discomfort. It is highly recommended that a patient continue with a home exercise program or work out in a gym knowing the ground rules of exercising after this type of injury.
Physical therapy and shoulder rehab exercises following this type of injury will enable the patient to regain loss of motion and strength so as to function normally and prevent another dislocation.