How to Cure a Dislocated Shoulder?

Updated on February 28th, 2020
how to fix a dislocated shoulder

A dislocated shoulder is an injury where the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder blade socket. Once you have a dislocated shoulder, the joint becomes unstable and is prone to repeated dislocations.


A dislocated shoulder symptoms are

  • Swelling or bruising near the shoulder joint
  • Intense pain
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Visible deformity in some cases


The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints and is thus more susceptible to any kind of injury. It is also a joint that can move forward, backward, downward and sideways and can be dislocated in any direction. The possible causes of a dislocated shoulder are listed under:

Sports Injury

Shoulder dislocation usually occurs in sports activities where the shoulder is moved away and forward with a lot of force. It is also common in contact sports such as football and hockey, or in sports that involve falling such as skiing and volleyball.


Falls could also result in shoulder dislocation.

Trauma to the shoulder

Trauma to the shoulder not related to sports is also a reason for shoulder dislocation. It could happen as a result of road accidents.

Did You Know!

Shoulder dislocations account for 50% of all joint dislocations.

CURE 1: How to Fix a Dislocated Shoulder using Natural Remedies

Once you have self-diagnosed the injury as shoulder dislocation, there are various home remedies that explain how to heal a dislocated shoulder faster. The same are explained below

1. Ice pack

Ice pack for shoulder pain

Why to use

Applying an ice pack on the injury is the first line of treatment when suffering from a shoulder dislocation. It helps reduce the inflammation and swelling that occur because of the injury.

How to use

Put an ice pack for 15-20 minutes 3 to 4 times a day, until the inflammation or swelling reduces.

[Read: Supplements to Cure Tendonitis]

2. Immobilization

Why to use

Inward or outward immobilization can be done by wearing a sling. This helps restricts the movement of the injured shoulder and fastens the healing of soft tissues and affected muscles by giving it the rest it needs.

How to use

Wear a sling or brace in the affected arm for 2 to 4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.

[ Read: How to Relieve Shoulder Pain Naturally]

CURE 2: External treatment methods

1. Scapular manipulation

Why to use

A shoulder dislocation occurs when a gap is formed between two or more bones at the joint. To treat it, skilled manipulation is done to bring the bone back to its position and reduce the separation, and thus return the bones to their normal position.

How to use

Studies(1) show that scapular manipulation is a relatively painless way to treat a shoulder dislocation. This can only be performed by trained professionals and is not advised to be performed without expert supervision.

In this technique, the patient is made to lie with the back exposed (prone position) straight, with the arm stretched out at 90 degrees to the shoulder. Some weights are hung on the patient’s hand to apply downward traction. Then the practitioner pushes the scapular edge, rotating it upwards and thereby reducing the separation. This technique can also be used while the patient is in a sitting or supine position.

2. External rotation

stretches for shoulder pain

Why to use

External rotation is also one of the reduction techniques that help with reducing the gap caused at the joint because of a dislocated shoulder.

How to use

The patient is made to lie down in the supine position and the physician moves the affected arm close to the body and holds it there tightly with one hand. On the other hand, he holds the wrist and gets the elbow to a 90-degree flexion. Then, with the forearm as a lever, the upper arm is gently rotated externally without any force or traction.

3. Stimson technique

Why to use

A reduction technique that can be performed without assistance and uses suspension and release of weights to reduce the gap formed in the joint because of dislocation.

How to use

In this technique, the patient is made to lie in the prone position on a stretcher and the affected arm is made to hang lose such that it does not touch the floor. 5-10 kg weights are then suspended from the wrist of the affected arm and the position is held for 15-20 mins. Then, the weights are released allowing the humerus to fall back into its original position(2).

[Read: Stretches to Relieve a Sore Shoulder Pain]

4. Traction – counter traction

Why to use

It’s also a shoulder reduction technique where the shoulder is returned to its normal position by an external method and no surgical intervention.

How to use

In this technique, a cloth is folded over the patient’s chest. The physician pulls down the affected arm and the assistant pulls the body in the opposite direction upwards with the help of the wrapped cloth.

[Read: Poses of Yoga for Shoulder Pain]


There are a few precautions that can be considered to prevent shoulder dislocation. These are

  • Avoid falls
  • Wear protective gear while playing contact sports
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder.

Shoulder dislocation constitutes more than 50% of all joint dislocations, making it the most common dislocation injury. In most cases, it can be treated with the methods discussed above, and without any surgical intervention. The methods discussed here have high success rates and are proven effective in the treatment of a shoulder dislocation.


1. When Can a Player Return to the Sport After Getting a Dislocated Shoulder?

A player can normally return to playing the sport within 6 weeks of getting a shoulder dislocation. But, in case he/she requires surgery, it can take about 6 months for him/her to get back to playing.

2. Is the Success Rate of Shoulder Surgery Higher Than External Treatment Methods?

Yes, the success rate of surgery is more than 90%, but not all injuries are severe enough to require surgical intervention.

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