Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

My 12-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder severe enough to cause injury during a seizure. The doctors are trying to regulate her meds to prevent this from happening. In the meantime, I'm scouring the Internet for any information I can find. I saw mention of shoulder dislocations with seizures. What is that all about?

Answer:

Seizures as a cause of shoulder dislocation have been reported. Evidently, the force of shoulder muscle contractions during the seizure is enough to pull the shoulder out of joint. This can occur not only with epileptic seizures but also during alcohol or other types of drug withdrawal and diabetic seizures. The initial shoulder dislocation is distressing. But there can be some additional problems to be concerned about. For example, a second (or third) dislocation is possible with future seizures. The more forceful the seizure, the more likely associated shoulder injuries can occur. For example, rotator cuff tears (tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder and holding it in the socket) are possible. The force of the humeral head as it shifts out of the socket may be enough to put a ding or defect in the bone. Blood vessels can get torn and nerves stretched or pinched. Any of these complications can cause further problems. But fortunately, all of this is rare. Most of the time, seizure disorders are able to be controlled with medications and injuries of this type never occur. But a little education and preparedness go a long way. So tuck this information in the back of your mind but don't let it convince you that this will happen to your daughter. Talk with her physician about the likelihood of any of these kinds of complications to get a better perspective on the big picture. C. Michael Robinson, BMedSci, FRCSEd(Orth), et al. The Epidemiology, Risk of Recurrence, and Functional Outcome After an Acute Traumatic Posterior Dislocation of the Shoulder. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. September 7, 2011. Vol. 93-A. No. 17. Pp. 1605-1613.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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