Dislocated Shoulder - Signs and Symptoms

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What were the signs and symptoms associated with your dislocated shoulder?

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What are the symptoms and signs of a dislocated shoulder?

Dislocations hurt. When the humerus is pulled out of the socket, cartilage, muscle, and other tissues are stretched and torn. Shoulder dislocations present with significant pain, and the patient will often refuse to move the arm in any direction. The muscles that surround the shoulder joint tend to go into spasm, making any movements very painful. Usually, with anterior dislocations, the arm is held slightly away from the body, and the patient tries to relieve the pain by supporting the weight of the injured arm with the other hand. Often, the shoulder appears squared off since the humeral head has been moved out its normal place in the glenoid fossa. Sometimes, it may be seen or felt as a bulge in front of the shoulder joint.

As with other bony injuries, the pain may provoke systemic symptoms of nausea and vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness, and weakness. These occur because of the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which blocks the adrenaline response in the body. Occasionally, this may cause the patient to faint or pass out (vasovagal syncope).

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See what others are saying

Comment from: andee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I fell on my right shoulder. I went to the emergency room and they popped it back in, but my hand is twice its size and I am in a lot of pain.

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Comment from: 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: April 16

I was working on my truck"s camper shell, and I accidentally dislocated my shoulder. The spring in the door hinge pushed my shoulder out of joint. Luckily, my parents were nearby and heard me holler. I managed to fix my shoulder, but after only a few moments, I became light-headed. My eyesight and motor skills were dimming, and I felt woozy. Then I woke up in my dad"s arms and I was lying on the garage floor. He told me I passed out and my eyes were rolling backwards. After that, I lay down on the couch, drank some water, and ate a sandwich. Everything went back to normal.

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