What is a shoulder subluxation?
A shoulder subluxation is a temporary, partial dislocation of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of the upper arm bone is normally held in the socket of the shoulder blade by a group of ligaments. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect the bones. In a subluxation, the ball of the upper arm bone slips partially out of the shoulder socket.
What are the symptoms?
Note: Shoulder pain assessment should be conducted throughout the continuum of care from acute inpatient care, inpatient rehabilitation, community rehabilitation, and ongoing follow-up in the community.
- The feeling that your shoulder has gone "in and out of joint."
- Looseness in your shoulder joint.
- Pain, weakness, or numbness in your shoulder or arm.
Factors that contribute to, or exacerbate, shoulder pain should be identified and managed appropriately.
What can I do to alleviate the pain?
- Be mindful of correct handling of the hemiplegic arm. Consider use of supports for the arm as directed by therapy or nursing. Joint protection strategies should be instituted to minimize joint trauma such as the use of a GivMohr Sling and lap tray for the wheelchair.
- While in bed, support the hemiplegic arm on a pillow placed behind the shoulder and supporting the entire arm.
- The shoulder should not be passively moved beyond 90 degrees.
- The upper limb must be handled carefully during functional activities. Position the weak arm, whether lying or sitting, to minimize the risk of complications such as shoulder pain. Shoulder pain and limitations in range of motion should be treated through gentle stretching.