According to the Mayo Clinic, a dislocated shoulder occurs when the arm pops out of the cup-shaped socket that makes up part of your shoulder blade. A dislocated shoulder is not to be confused with a separated shoulder, which is where the ligaments in the shoulder stretch or tear, but the arm does not pop out from the shoulder-blade socket.
Consider Your Options
It is always wiser to consult a doctor rather than try to relocate the shoulder blade yourself. If you are in an emergency situation and cannot get to the doctor, call 911 and a paramedic or doctor can walk you through the process of relocating your shoulder blade. If you relocate your shoulder blade yourself, you risk the chance of further injury and a difficult recovery, although it is possible, with the help of a partner, to relocate, or "pop in" your shoulder blade if it has been dislocated.
Relocating a Shoulder at Home
Have your partner hold the upper arm, just below the afflicted area. According to the National Center for Emergency Medicine, your partner should flex your elbow 90 degrees, then gently rotate the arm up and down, stopping if you experience any pain. Allow the muscles to relax completely as your partner is moving your arm. As long as the muscles stay relaxed and your partner is very slowly rotating your arm, the dislocated shoulder blade should pop back into position. Relocating your shoulder at home will require a doctor's supervision and care for best results, as well as weekly physical- therapy sessions until the area has healed.
When to See a Doctor
You should see a doctor immediately after dislocation has occurred. If you are unable to do this, call 911 immediately and relocate the shoulder with directions from your paramedic. Your doctor will place your relocated arm and shoulder in a sling in order to promote healing. You will be instructed to use your arm as little as possible. If you take care to rest your arm, you should be able to remove the sling within two weeks. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription-strength pain medication, like Ibuprofen, or may instruct you to take over-the-counter Ibuprofen.