Dislocations and Massage

Dislocations and Subluxations are in movies and tv shows.  Someone falls from a height and lands on their shoulder or gets in a bad fight.  Then their ally has to pop their shoulder.


But many people who have never dislocated their shoulder are baffled by this.  Can the shoulder joint really come out of its socket?



Shoulder dislocation is classified as a time when the head of the humerus bone has come out of socket.  Identification is usually straight forward:

  1. The joint can be visibly seen to be out of place
  2. Unable to use joint
  3. Bruising
  4. Intense pain

Shoulder dislocations are the most common, but dislocations can happen in any joint, including hands and feet.

Note: Unlike the movies, please DO NOT relocate a  dislocation without a doctor.  Doctors are trained to move joints back into place with minimal damage done.  If you try to do it yourself, you may injure the joint or cause damage to blood vessel and nerves.



Subluxation is also known as a partial separation.  This isn’t as extreme as a dislocation, but it’s still painful.  Luckily, with proper treatment, subluxations generally will heal themselves.


“If I’ve had either a Subluxation or a Dislocation, can it happen again?”

Yes.  Both of these problems usually cause the ligaments and tendons to weaken, making it easier for another dislocation or subluxation to happen.


“Why does my Massage Therapist need to know if I’ve had a past Dislocation or Subluxation?”


LMTs can unknowingly move your shoulder into a position where dislocation is possible again.  Please tell your Therapist if you’ve had a dislocation or subluxation.  Another dislocation can be avoided on the table and they might be able to ease some shoulder pain from the muscles and tendons supporting that joint.

Note: A chiropractor also needs to know if you’ve had a previous injury.  Chiropractors and LMTs can be part of your treatment for Subluxations and old Dislocations.


One thought on “Dislocations and Massage

  1. Pingback: Teres Minor and Major – Cassandra H DeGelleke Licensed Massage Therapist

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