My shoulder dislocates really easily
September 10, 2008 9:15 PM   Subscribe

My shoulder has been dislocating super easily this past year, what's up with that.

It used to not do this so often, it first dislocated 5 years ago in a skiing accident and after that it would happen like once a year playing basketball or something. This past year I messed it up again skiing, it took like 20 sec to pop back in and after that it's been popping out all the time. Last week I was holding a door and sneezed and it popped out. When this originally started happening before this year I remember my shoulder would be sore for at least a week afterwards and I could barely move my arm, now when it pops out it hurts really bad for a few minutes and is kinda sore for the next day or so but I can at least function. It's totally affecting everything I do, when I play basketball now I try not to use my right arm so much because the littlest jerk will pop it out, it usually pops back in now in a few secs. I think I might need surgery but in the mean time what kind of stuff can I do. I like to lift weights and when I bench it feels kinda pinchy but not to the point where it would keep me from lifting. When I squat the position that I put my shoulders in is very uncomfortable, I really can't do it anymore because I can't move my arm that far back behind my head. Any docs or PT's out there with good insight?
posted by BrnP84 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Shit, that sounds awful, I'm guessing you have torn or stretched some things out so bad that your shoulder just doesn't have any support in there to keep it in. You should really see a real doctor about this, since this is not something anyone can really diagnose over the internet.

I'm not a doctor, not a PT. But it's my impression that short of surgery, the only way you're going to address this issue is through a rehab program that strengthens all the muscles around your shoulder to hold it in place. Not just military press, that's going to do nothing.

Me and at least two or three other people I know have had various shoulder issues, ranging from frequent dislocations to rotator-cuff problems. We have all used the Diesel Crew Shoulder Rehab Protocol with great success. My frequent dislocation friend was getting more mobility, stability, and strength with the program (when he was following it anyway). It took care of my rotator cuff programs. It is a pretty comprehensive program, it's got exercises that will target all areas of the shoulder, so you may want to give it a shot for a month or two and see how it works. You may have to start with embarrassingly light weight--don't sweat it, this is a rehab program, not a powerlifting competition. Do both arms and use the same weight for each arm as you don't want to develop imbalances. Good luck!
posted by schroedinger at 9:33 PM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

That vid looked like it had some good excercises, I've tried a few of those but some were new.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:41 PM on September 10, 2008

This is probably essentially the same answer as schroedinger's, but what the hey. I used to have a really weak ankle. Very annoying in that sometimes my foot would sort of flop sideways and that really fucking hurt, and I was concerned about seriously or permanently injuring myself. Anyway, for relaxation/curiosity reasons I took a t'ai chi class. Not only did it help me in general ways (better balance than this clumsy oaf had ever had), but my ankle problems disappeared. For life. It just seemed to be the firming up those muscle needed.

The thing about t'ai chi is that it's low or even no impact.
posted by dhartung at 9:43 PM on September 10, 2008

Yeah, and do ALL OF THEM, as prescribed! Like I said, one of my friends has a frequent dislocation issue. And he followed the protocol for a couple of weeks and noticed a difference. Then he went back to playing basketball and sports that aggravated the dislocation, skipping rehab workout days, playing with doing too-high weights, skipping exercises when he didn't feel like doing them, and he's back to where he started, pretty much.

Meanwhile, people (including me) who followed the whole thing consistently saw consistent improvement and are able to do the things that used to hurt.

I would also make sure to stay away from things that dislocate your shoulder. I know you say this is everything, but every time you dislocate it the problem gets worse. As much as possible, try to keep away from play-wrestling or basketball or anything that might that jar it. You can get back to that stuff when your shoulder's in better shape.
posted by schroedinger at 10:11 PM on September 10, 2008

Not a doctor, but my mother had this problem for years. I once saw her arm just drop out of its socket when she reached behind her to grab something. She did physical therapy, which tightened/strengthened the surrounding muscles, and has not had a dislocation for probably 15 or 20 years. She did not have any surgery. She now does Tai Chi and some regular exercises with light weights, which seems to maintain the area adequately.
posted by MsElaineous at 6:05 AM on September 11, 2008

i have almost the exact same thing- a ski injury that started happening more and more with less and less after-effects. You should get an MRI and talk to an orthapedist. You can and should try rehab and PT, but you may (like me) need surgery. The should joint is pretty loose to start with and (from my experience), there may be limited chances of success.

Here's some factors:
1. age. people that have their first incident under age 30 are way more likely to need surgery. over 30, it may not happen again.
2. part of the problem is long-term. its true that the dislocations aren't that bad after the first one or two, but long term a lot of dislocations can lead to arthritis and problems when you're older.
3. at least for me, i would occasionally get a dislocation that wouldn't pop back in and then i'd have to go to the ER in agony. or it would be at the worst possible time and place.

Feel free to message me if you have any more questions.
posted by alkupe at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2008

I should add there's also a chance (pretty low, but extant) of nerve damage when it dislocates.
posted by alkupe at 8:10 AM on September 11, 2008

I had physical therapy and surgery for my shoulder with fantastic success, I call that shoulder my 'Bionic' one now.

What worked for me was physical therapy before and after the surgery, which included heat catheterization- sorta like "shrink wrapping" the area around the dislocation so that it is tighter and holds everything much better, not allowing it to dislocate. YMMV, IANAD, IANYD.
posted by misha at 11:08 AM on September 11, 2008

posted by Hermes32 at 12:31 PM on September 11, 2008

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