The primary treatment of a shoulder dislocation is dependent on many factors including the age of the patient, the activity level of the patient, as well as other factors such as whether the patient is involved in contact sports, or if there is a history of previous dislocations. The initial treatment for many people with a shoulder dislocation is immobilization in a sling until the shoulder in comfortable (usually 3-4 weeks), ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, Aleve, or Motrin.
In patients who suffer multiple dislocations or those who participate in contact sports, surgery is an option. The surgical procedure is usually able to be performed arthroscopically in an outpatient setting. The procedure involves repairing the labrum and capsule back to the glenoid so that the shoulder does not dislocate.
Following surgery, the shoulder is immobilized in a sling for 4-6 weeks to allow time for the tissue to heal back to bone. Once this has occurred, physical therapy begins to improve the range of motion and strength of the shoulder.