Shoulder Subluxation: A General Overview on the Condition

shoulder dislocation

Accidents do happen to anyone even to the most cautious person. And this is true regardless of your profession or work. In sports, accidents are also unavoidable. Many people think that it is only common in physical sports such as baseball. But even in athletic sports such as track and field running, serious accidents can also affect athletes. Runners oftentimes experience minor injuries such as scratches and skin tear from tripping while running. In worse cases, runners suffer from a more severe injury to a certain part of the body, more specifically the shoulders. This normally occurs when the impact of the accident is placed on either shoulder.

One of the more serious conditions affecting the shoulder is shoulder subluxation, a condition marked by partial shoulder dislocation. There are several factors that can cause this condition:

  • Weak rotator cuff and lax shoulder ligaments
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) which could happen at work or any sports activities especially those involving overhear motions such as swimming, baseball and throwing sports
  • Existing health condition which causes ligamentous laxity

Symptoms of Subluxation in the Shoulder

  • Pain in left shoulder or right shoulder (depending on which shoulder is affected)
  • Tenderness in the shoulder
  • Difficulty or discomfort in shoulder movement especially when doing overhead activities
  • The feeling of numbness in the arm after routine activities
  • The shoulder feels like it is going out when reaching something behind the head

Treating Subluxation in the Shoulder

Personal care is vital for the fast recovery of patients with subluxation. Personal care mostly involves avoiding certain activities that can put pressure on the shoulder. This may include overhead activities as well as sleeping on the side of the affected shoulder. The application of ice pack or taking over-the-counter pain medication can greatly help manage the associated pain.

Apart from personal care, physical therapy is also important to manage the pain and inflammation. Stretching, strengthening and rehabilitation exercises may also be recommended by the attending physical therapist to promote faster recovery of the joint. Popular therapy for subluxation includes Manual Therapeutic Technique (MTT) which aims to reduce the pain and improve joint mobilization. There is also the Neuromuscular Reeducation (NMR) which is directed toward helping patients regain stability.

If everything else fails to help improve the condition, surgery may be needed to fix the problem and to avoid future subluxations which could eventually lead to dislocations.

Most people who have suffered from subluxation have a big chance of returning to their normal work or sport after personal care, therapy and exercises are done. Subluxation is not a life-threatening condition but it can greatly affect a person’s performance in its work or sports. Although track running does not generally involve overhead movements, a significant number of runners have suffered from this condition as a result of an accident. And more often than not, this condition stops them from joining a competition during their recovery period.

The key to a fast and complete recovery from subluxation is the appropriate treatment. Patients should be directly involved in the treatment process and not neglect their condition.

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