Shoulder Dislocation

What is a Shoulder Dislocation?

A shoulder dislocation is when the glenohumeral joint (the ball and socket joint) completely dislocates out of the socket. These are usually the result of major trauma and are very painful when they first occur. There is usually a tearing of the ligamentous shoulder capsule along with tearing of some of the rotator cuff tendons. The result is a lot of pain and internal bleeding. The sooner the shoulder is set back in place, the better. However, serious complications can occur from these injuries.

When the shoulder dislocates the glenoid labrum (the cartilage around the rim of the socket) can be torn or frayed. If there is enough force involved, the head of the humerus (the "ball" part of the socket) may become smashed and deformed, leading to permanent shoulder problems. The axillary nerve can be damaged from a shoulder dislocation leading to the wasting away of the deltoid muscle and permanent weakness in the shoulder. Even worse, major arteries may be damaged leading to surgical emergencies.

What's Going Wrong In A Shoulder Dislocation?

1. Adhesion. Adhesions do not 'cause shoulder dislocations' per se. Instead, they are the result of a shoulder dislocation. Total displacement of the humerus from the scapula results in tearing of the stabilizing structures (rotator cuff, capsule). These areas will develop significant amounts of adhesion, creating pain and imbalance.
2. Strength and Flexibility Imbalances. One time, at a basketball game, a player got a rebound and threw a 'baseball type pass' to a teammate running down the sideline. As soon as the player threw the pass, he leaned over and started writhing in pain. What happened? His throwing arm dislocated when he passed the ball. Now, how could a shoulder dislocate from just throwing a basketball? Well, his shoulder was following through the throw with such velocity and force, the muscles in the back of his shoulder couldn't keep the humerus from continuing forward. The muscles in the back of the shoulder like the rotator cuff, rhomboids, lats, etc. are supposed to keep the energy of the throw from transferring to the joint. In this case, his muscles in the front were just too strong for the muscles in the back. They were just too weak and the ball of the humerus ended up dislocating from the socket. His rotator cuff most likely tore as well, as did some cartilage and capsule. As you can see, if there are severe strength imbalances in the shoulder, almost anything can happen!
3. Structural Damage or Alteration. Sometimes people are just born with a loose capsule or really shallow socket. In these structural alterations, dislocations are much easier. People with these genetic alterations can still increase the strength of their rotator cuff and limit excessive activities to prevent the dislocations. Unfortunately, once dislocated, the capsule and rotator cuff can be stretched to such a major degree they become very lax and allow for easier dislocations in the future. The more dislocations someone has, the more likely it will dislocate in the future.

How Can ART Help Shoulder Dislocations?

Initially, the best treatment for a shoulder dislocation is to "reduce it" (put it back in place by a qualified physician). Then, rest, ice and a shoulder splint are the best ways to let the shoulder heal. As the shoulder begins to heal, gradual re-introduction of activity and shoulder rehabilitation are very important. It is critical to avoid any activity that can dislocate the shoulder a second time, which can lead to permanent laxity of the shoulder capsule.

Strengthening the rotator cuff is one of the main strategies for rehabilitation after a shoulder dislocation. The rotator cuff will help hold the shoulder in the socket, and the stronger it is, the better. This means that any adhesion build-up that took place in the rotator cuff as a result of the initial injury must be addressed.

Those recovering from shoulder dislocations will often find that their shoulder instantly becomes stronger and more stable after a few sessions of ART to rid the rotator cuff of adhesions. For obvious reasons, after a shoulder dislocation, adhesions will be found all throughout the shoulder. ART will give the rotator cuff an instant boost in strength when the adhesions are no longer binding them and preventing them from contracting like they normally would.

Success Stories Of Those With Shoulder Dislocations.

Actual Stories of Actual People Who Dislocated Their Shoulders And Were Helped By ART.