First Aid

First Aid for a Dislocated Shoulder

First Aid for a Dislocated Shoulder

A dislocated shoulder is an incredibly painful injury that has strong potential to cause long term damage. To get a full recovery, it really needs professional medical help. Sometimes, however, that’s not readily available, and you’ll need to administer first aid to the victim yourself. Here’s some preliminary first aid steps you can take to minimize damage, ease the pain, and shorten healing time.

Don’t Panic

Painful and nasty though it may be, a dislocated shoulder is not a life-threatening emergency. First make sure medical help is on its way or you have some way to get to it. Then your priorities need to be damage control and pain minimization. However, if you freak out and distress the dislocation victim, you can make the situation worse.

Don’t Force the Arm Around

There’s a myth propagated by the media that shows dislocated body parts being forced back into place and instantly being usable again. This is a falsity, and a dangerous one at that. Trying to shove the arm into positions can damage muscles, tissues, vessels, and joints. The best thing you can do is to keep the arm as immobile as possible. Have the person lie down in a clear area where the arm can lie off to the side.

Ice It

If available, apply some kind of cold pack to the dislocated shoulder. A bag of ice works fine, as does anything else clean and cold. Don’t apply a lot of pressure to the wound with the bag, let it lie softy on it. Also don’t expose the injury to the cold for more than twenty minutes at a time.

This will numb pain and reduce swelling, helping the healing process.

Setting a Sling

If for some reason you must move the person with the dislocated shoulder, first set a sling for their arm to rest in. If it’s swinging around at their side as they walk, it will cause damage to the shoulder.

1 response to First Aid for a Dislocated Shoulder

  1. Lots of good information, very helpful.

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