Shoulder Dislocation Treatment
Call 911 if:
- The injury was caused by a severe blow.
- The person's pulse is weak or the arm and hand are numb, cold, pale, or blue.
1. Go to a Hospital Emergency Room
2. Immobilize Shoulder
- Do not force arm to move.
- Place pillow or rolled blanket between upper arm and chest.
- Wrap towel around the person's upper body to bind arm to it.
- Otherwise, if comfortable to do so, put the affected forearm in a sling with elbow at 90° angle.
3. Control Swelling
- Apply ice pack for 20 minutes 4 to 8 times a day. Do not place ice directly against the skin.
4. Follow Up
- The doctor may manipulate the shoulder to put it back in place.
- The doctor may recommend wearing a sling for several weeks.
- Give medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain and swelling. Avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs if the person has heart failure or kidney failure.
- If shoulder continues to dislocate, surgery may be required.
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