If you have a job where you lift heavy items over your head or work on things above you where you’re constantly reaching over your head, you risk dislocating your shoulder at some point. It could be one heavy object that causes it or strain that occurs over time. A fall can also cause it if you stretch out your arms to catch yourself or fall on your shoulder.
Whatever the cause, many people who dislocate a shoulder assume that once it’s put back into place (something that should always be left to a medical professional), everything will be fine.
That’s not always the case. That’s why it’s crucial to have the injury checked out by a doctor right away. The only way to determine whether there’s internal damage is through imaging. Typically, an MRI is needed to tell the full story.
Rotator cuff damage
The rotator cuff isn’t one thing. It’s a group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint that keep the upper arm within the shoulder socket. If the shoulder becomes dislocated, the one or more of the four muscles at the top of the shoulder and the connecting tendons can tear. Depending on how bad the tear is, surgery may be required. Even if it’s not, you need to restrict your use of that shoulder and upper arm to allow it to heal.
Circumflex axillary nerve damage
The circumflex axillary nerve, which runs from the neck through the shoulder, can be damaged. This can cause numbness and weakness throughout the shoulder and upper arm. If this nerve is damaged, it’s necessary to get proper treatment and therapy to avoid losing the use of that area.
If you neglect to have your injury properly diagnosed and treated and don’t take heed of your doctor’s recommendations regarding restricting the use of your shoulder and arm, you only risk causing further – and potentially permanent – damage as well as dealing with a future of pain and lessened mobility.
Don’t let the prospect of a few weeks or months of time off work and the necessary treatment keep you from getting your shoulder repaired. That’s the kind of thing that workers’ compensation benefits are for. If you’re having difficulty obtaining the benefits you’re due or any other problems with workers’ comp, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.