On the 1st day of skiing, my husband fell while skiing and dislocated his shoulder.
It’s been a couple of weeks since spring break for the Miami-Dade county kids. We decided to take the kids skiing in Washington State where my brother lives.
My brother (who’s a doctor) and I confirmed that there were no fractures and we “reduced” this dislocation – I don’t recommend you do this without medical training. If you suffer from an injury such as this, please go to the urgent care doctor or ER.
Here are the 3 steps that I took to ensure my husband was in the best position to heal and be able to move.
Dislocations hurt and the shoulder carries the weight of the arm, so positioning is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the pain. We made sure he had support under his arm while sitting. In bed, he laid flat with a pillow under his elbow and between his body for support.
One of the worst things you can do after a shoulder injury is put pillows under the shoulder or lay propped up. It puts the shoulder in a terrible position for healing and can cause more pain later.
Positioning after a total shoulder dislocation is important to reduce the pain. As you reduce the pain, there are certain therapy movements that can help support the arm.
2. Isometric exercises
You must think I’m crazy to already start giving my husband exercises….but YES! After reducing his shoulder into place, and gently massaging certain muscles that I knew were feeling tight due to the injury, I gave him very specific exercises that are intended to hold the joint back in its place.
These isometric exercises are done WITHOUT any motion…but position is extremely important. These are done by gently contracting the muscles without pain to pull the shoulder back into it’s rightful position.
I always travel with kinesio tape as well, so I taped up his shoulder for pain and positioning.
3. Pain medications
We simply gave him some over the counter pain relievers to ease his pain at the beginning when the injury first happened. He’s been able to wean off of the pain meds within a week because we started his therapy very early in the phases.
What about Ice compresses?
You can certainly use ice to help with pain and swelling. It’s a well known treatment method. I’ve recently been reading some new research about not using ice during the acute stages of injury so the body has a chance to natural heal itself. We did not use ice this at all this time nor did we use heat just because there was no good way of placing the ice that didn’t increase pain.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Well…not everyone is lucky enough to get hurt in the company of a therapist specialized in orthopedic types of injuries.
But it’s to share that the right therapy can be very beneficial at the acute stages of an injury. Being able to reduce and eliminate pain at the being stages sets you up to recover faster, with less time, and less worry. He was able to be back at work as soon as spring break was over.
Most of the time, you or someone you know WILL injure themselves, go to the urgent care or ER, and told NOT to move or do anything.
That’s not always true. There’s cases where it’s safe to LEARN when it’s proper to move and the BEST movements.
By the time people come to us therapists, it’s been weeks, months, and they tell us they never told them it was okay to move or they were just unsure how to move. Doctors at urgent care centers just make sure your bones are broken? If it’s not and you are not bleeding to death, you are good to go!
What are the treatment options available?
Occupational or physical therapists can help you determine when it’s safe to move, how to safely move, and how to progress you as you move. Don’t be afraid to reach out and give us a call…even if it’s to ask some questions.
We’ll always let you know based on the questions if therapy is your best option or not.
It’s been 2 weeks now, and his pain has been steadily decreasing while his motion has been getting better and better. He’s been able to sleep on his back and on his non-injured side…and slowly testing if he can lay on his injured side….but not yet.
Thankfully, the dislocation was not terrible and that he didn’t break a bone requiring surgery.
If you have suffered a shoulder injury…give us a call or request a Discovery Visit to get clear on how therapy can help you get rid of pain and get back to normal.
We have been getting a lot of calls lately about wrist pain!
I don’t know if it’s that people are tired of being home and starting to do more outside activities or if they are just noticing more pain due to all the heavy rains that we are getting.
(Yes, sometimes the changes in weather can make you feel your aches and pain more than usual.)
But wrist problems can be easy to ignore at first. Especially if you did not fall on your hands or do anything heavy. Wrist pain tends to come and go, and doesn’t really interfere with your everyday work and living…at first….
If you know someone suffering with shoulder pain and wants to avoid surgery, share this free guide with them. Click for the free Shoulder Pain Guide.
Written by Hoang Tran
About the author – Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran is a Miami certified hand therapist , the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems, because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).
The aim of her occupational therapy practice in the Miami area is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
If you are struggling with shoulder, neck pain or hand pain, including
or any other hand or shoulder injuries, speak with one of our specialists for FREE by signing up for a 30-minute Discovery Visit.
Even if you have tried other forms of treatment and are still NOT sure what’s going wrong and need better clarification on what can actually work to avoid the shoulder pain and impingement from becoming worse, there’s no risk in giving us a call at 786-615-9879 or requesting a Free Discovery Visit.
A Discovery Visit is for someone who is not sure therapy with us can help them, wants to speak with the specialist to feel confident that therapy is the right choice for them, and is SURE they don’t want to live in pain, worry, and feeling like they can’t do certain things just because of the pain.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.