As a physical therapist, I get the opportunity to help people who are injured decrease pain, improve mobility, and regain normal strength and function.
Many of my patients ask me if I myself have been a patient in physical therapy. Well, I have.
When I was in high school and college, I played ice hockey. Hockey can be a pretty physical sport, and many times while playing I was checked pretty hard into the boards. I remember a few times feeling intense shoulder pain and feeling like my shoulder joint popped out of place. The pain would last for a few days after each game, and then slowly I would return to normal.
After college, I continued playing hockey in recreational leagues, but my right shoulder would often feel unstable. Sometimes it would come out of joint and then pop right back in (a condition called a subluxation). A few times while sleeping with my arms overhead, my shoulder would pop out. Once when reaching for a light switch my shoulder subluxed. That's when I knew I had a problem. When turning on the lights became a problem, I knew I had to get things looked at.
I saw a local orthopedic surgeon, and an MRI was taken. It showed a type of labrum tear called a Bankart tear. The shoulder labrum is a piece of cartilage that courses around the rim of the shoulder socket, deepening the joint. With a torn labrum, the shoulder is very unstable and can easily dislocate.
I had arthroscopic surgery to repair the problem, and I had to attend PT for about two months after surgery. I was lucky--I worked at an outpatient clinic at the time and I would have my therapy during my lunch break. I was able to regain normal range of motion and strength after surgery, and now my shoulder is 100%.
If your shoulder is feeling loose or if it comes out of joint, see your doctor or physical therapist to see if you may have a problem with your shoulder labrum.