I found this interesting information about a technique for shoulder reduction called the Cunningham technique. It requires no sedation and uses not brute force to reduce the shoulder. Basically it boils down to this:
- Put the patient’s hand on your shoulder, this flexes at the elbow and shortens the biceps a little bit. Put your hand in their antecubutal fossa and put some gentle downward traction.
- Adduct the arm, put it against the body. If the patient pulls away from their side, instruct them to put it back.
- Massage the biceps and trapezius to try to relax some spasm. Remind the patient that if they feel the shoulder moving, not to tense up. The key is to relax.
- Have the patient sit up straight (no slouching forward or to the side – correct this posture if it exists) and then stick their chest out and shoulders back. This brings the scapula back, much as you’d do with scapular manipulation.
- Have them shrug the shoulders upward.
- It should go in without much fuss.
Now I’ve not tried this but heard of several people doing it with success. There’s actually a whole website called shoulderdislocation.net dedicated to various techniques.
Let me know if you try it and it works (or doesn’t). Or watch this video of Mark Harmon reducing Will Ferrel’s shoulder.