Shoulder dislocation can occur to anyone due to accidents, sports injuries, and disease causing bone misalignment in the shoulder. This condition should not be treated lightly since if not properly treated, it can lead to more serious conditions and worst, amputation of the arms. One of the common recommendation when suffering from shoulder dislocation is to restore first the proper position of the dislocated bones in the shoulders then stabilize inside a shoulder sling to limit mobilization in the shoulder. Using a sling can last for weeks or months until the shoulder has fully recovered.
However, with the recent findings about shoulder dislocation, some health experts discovered that total immobilization of the arm after shoulder dislocation is not that effective in terms of restoring the range of motion of the arms and shoulders. Although using a sling is very essential in order to prevent relapse or further complication, some health experts recommend mild exercises like physical therapy exercises. It is best for faster recovery and to lessen pain when moving the arms and shoulders.
Some of the most common physical therapy exercises recommended for people suffering from shoulder dislocation are ROM exercises or range of motion exercises, stretching exercises, and stabilization exercises. Application of hot and ice pack may also be recommended in order reduce or prevent swelling in the affected areas.
Range of motion or ROM exercises are effective therapy methods for various bone dislocation problems because these exercises focus on restoring and improving the condition and functioning of the joints connecting the bones. When the joints have problems or are not in good condition, the bones are not only prone to arthritic problems but it can also lead to bone misalignment and dislocation.
There are three types of ROM exercises used by physical therapists for patients with dislocated shoulders – passive, active and active-assistive range of motion physical therapy exercises.
- Passive range of motion exercises are done wherein the physical therapist moves the joints to reduce stiffness. Passive ROM is also applied with stretching exercises.
- The active ROM exercises are done wherein the patients are the one moving their arms and shoulders without manual assistance for the physical therapist.
- Active-assistive ROM are exercises done wherein the patient move their shoulders and arms with the assistance of their PT.
Through the ROM exercises, range of the motion in the shoulders and arms are restored and improved. Physical therapy use this technique by measuring the range of motion in angle degrees using a device called goniometer.