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Tips to Master Pain Management During Shoulder Dislocation Rehab

Shoulder dislocations aren’t just limited to athletes; they can happen to anyone during daily activities. The most common causes are a direct hit on the shoulder during a fall or accident and an extreme range of motion during regular activities.

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder joint socket. Proper rehab following shoulder dislocation is crucial to regain full function. Pain management is a key part of this process.

This article goes deep into pain management after a shoulder dislocation. This includes how soon to start rehab after shoulder dislocation, and holistic pain management strategies. We’ll also discuss how anterior dislocation of shoulder rehab differs from posterior shoulder dislocation rehab.

Read on to understand more about shoulder dislocation rehab, and how to improve your chances of a full recovery.

1.  Pace Yourself

Pacing yourself during rehab following shoulder dislocation is crucial for a successful recovery. Rushing the process can lead to re-injury and prolonged pain. At Clearcut Physiotherapy, we help you set realistic milestones and celebrate small victories.

For example, a common question is, “Can I drive after a shoulder dislocation?” The answer varies.

You’ll start driving sooner if you’re driving a modern car on smooth roads with light traffic. If you’re an Amazon delivery driver navigating heavy traffic and sharp turns, it’s best to wait longer.

Remember, pushing too hard too soon is never a good idea.

Early Stage Shoulder Dislocation Rehab

This stage is about pain management via ice, rest, medication and gentle movements.

Early-stage shoulder dislocation rehab focuses on gentle range of motion exercises. This helps maintain mobility without stressing the shoulder. It’s important to avoid activities that exacerbate pain or put additional stress on the shoulder.

Mid-Stage Shoulder Dislocation Rehab

As you progress towards end-stage shoulder dislocation rehab, building strength and stability becomes the priority.

This phase introduces resistance exercises, lightweight training and balance and coordination drills.

Regular monitoring and adjustments to exercises by your physiotherapist are crucial for your recovery.

Late Stage Shoulder Dislocation Rehab

During end-stage shoulder dislocation rehab, our goal is to prepare you for full functional recovery. We often include advanced exercises that mimic real-life activities.

This ensures your shoulder can handle daily tasks and recreational activities. Consistency and persistence are key in late-stage shoulder dislocation rehab to achieve lasting recovery.

Each stage of posterior and anterior dislocation of shoulder rehab is important for effectively managing pain and restoring full shoulder function.

2.  Start Rehab at the Right Time

So how soon can you start rehab after shoulder dislocation? And does that affect your pain levels?

Starting rehab at the right time increases your chances of a successful recovery. Early intervention can also significantly reduce pain and improve outcomes.

A musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapist helps determine the best time to begin your exercises. The right exercises at the wrong time can hinder your progress and worsen discomfort.

It’s crucial to get the exercises right, based on your level of recovery, daily activities, and lifestyle. Our experienced physiotherapists guide you to ensure you do what’s best for your shoulder until the end-stage shoulder dislocation rehab.

Benefits of Early Rehab

Starting rehab early makes a big difference in how well and quickly you heal. Here are a few benefits of timely rehab following shoulder dislocation:

  • Helps prevent stiffness and muscle atrophy.
  • Keeps your shoulder mobile and flexible.
  • Improves blood flow and promotes faster healing.

Beginning rehab as soon as it’s medically appropriate gives you the best shot at complete recovery.

3.  Anticipate and Stay Ahead of Complications

Understanding potential complications and staying ahead is crucial in shoulder dislocation rehab. It also impacts what type of rehab you’ll need.

For anterior dislocations, common issues include instability in movements behind your head and labral tears. Posterior dislocation poses complications like reverse Bankart lesions and rotator cuff injuries.

Our musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapists have extensive experience with these injuries. We know what to expect and design rehab regimens that keep you ahead of potential problems.

We adjust your plan to prevent and address issues early to keep you on track. Targeted strategies are essential for anterior dislocation of shoulder rehab and posterior shoulder dislocation rehab.

Managing these complications as they arise and alleviating pain is our priority. A skilled MSK physiotherapist plays a vital role in managing pain and complications by:

  • Providing regular assessments.
  • Tailoring your rehab program.
  • Helping you stay ahead of any issues.

That’s how we ensure a smooth recovery process and help you achieve the best possible outcomes.

4.  Follow Rehab Workouts Designed for Your Type of Shoulder Dislocation

Tailoring your rehab workouts to your specific type of shoulder dislocation is the launchpad for effective recovery.

Anterior dislocation of shoulder rehab is based on:

  • Specific exercises to stabilise the front of the shoulder.
  • Gradual progression to more challenging activities that help rebuild strength and flexibility.
  • Ensuring the shoulder is well-supported and reducing the risk of re-injury.

Here are our main goals for posterior shoulder dislocation rehab:

  • Strengthening exercises to target the back of the shoulder.
  • Stability to enhance shoulder support and prevent future dislocations.
  • Gradual increase in intensity to rebuild shoulder strength.

Regardless of the dislocation type, improving your range of motion and preventing recurrence is essential. These exercises help your shoulder remain flexible and strong.

Gradually, this translates to the capability of handling daily activities without discomfort or instability.

5.  Focus on Functional Recovery to Avoid Setbacks When Returning to Work

Both anterior dislocation of shoulder rehab and posterior shoulder dislocation rehab have a common theme. The focus is on functional recovery to avoid setbacks when returning to work.

Rehab following shoulder dislocation includes functional training. It’s how you regain strength by preparing your shoulder for the specific movements and tasks required in your job.

Strategies to safely transition back to work-related activities include:

  • Gradual reintroduction of work tasks to avoid overload.
  • Simulating job activities to build confidence and capability.
  • Ergonomic adjustments to your workspace (adjusting chair height or using supportive equipment) to reduce strain on your shoulder.

Efficient pain management is heavily reliant on avoiding complications and worsening your shoulder’s condition.

Here are some workplace modifications we recommend to help you avoid setbacks in recovery:

  • Assessing your workstation for potential stress points on your shoulder.
  • Implementing changes like better seating, supportive tools, and breaks to stretch and move.
  • Communicating with your employer to ensure your work environment supports your recovery.

Integrating small workplace changes and habits can mean the difference between a smoother recovery and a challenging one. Talk to one of our experts to minimise the risk of setbacks and ensure long-term shoulder health.

Your Next Steps

Recovering from a shoulder dislocation takes time, patience, and the right approach.

Managing pain better and starting rehab following shoulder dislocation at the right time already puts you ahead of the pack!

Let us handle the other half of your recovery by anticipating complications and creating a tailored exercise program.

If you’re ready to amp up your recovery, our clinics in Eltham, Battersea, and Norbury are here to help. Book an appointment today with one of our experienced physiotherapists.

Kickstart your journey to a stronger, healthier shoulder.