Normally a joint is made up of two or more bone surfaces opposing each other. They are covered by layers of cartilage and surrounded and separated by an oily fluid called synovial fluid. The joint is held together by strong fibres known as ligaments, and muscles connect within a few centimetres either side of the joint via tendons. A dislocation occurs when the two surfaces become unopposed.

A joint may separate and stay unopposed or it may slip back once having dislocated. This is described as persistent or replaced. If a joint partially dislocates it is known as a subluxation -these usually spontaneously replace themselves.

Dislocation and subluxation usually occur through injury although certain conditions weakening the ligaments that hold the joints in place or musculature that give added protection to the stability of joints may be relevant. Dislocations may cause damage to blood vessels, lymphatic system and nerve tissues that are associated with the joint, and the pain of a dislocation may cover damage to cartilage or even a fractured bone. It is for this reason that medical attention must be sought whenever a dislocation occurs.

Recognizing a dislocation is often difficult, especially if it has replaced or was a subluxation. A persistent dislocation will show an irregularity of that joint, immobility and considerable pain. A replaced or subluxed joint may not be quite so apparent. The shoulder joint is the most commonly dislocated main joint of the body and is discussed in its own section. RECOMMENDATIONS

Any suggestion of a dislocation of any sort should be treated as an emergency. Check the part of the body furthest away from the suspected dislocation for blood flow by checking for a pulse and constantly monitoring the area for coldness or blueness. Obtain medical attention as soon as possible.

Radiography (X-rays) should be considered.

Feel free to use analgesia, especially if the joint has to be replaced.

Use the homeopathic remedy Arnica up to potency 30 every half-hour until the joint has been reestablished and splinted. Thereafter use Arnica 30 and Ruta 30 alternately every 4hr for five days.

Ruta fluid extract, a variety of amino acids, minerals and multivitamins should all be taken to help speed up the repair process. The amounts vary depending on the individual and the extent of injury. A naturopathic practitioner will advise.

Application of Arnica and Calendula creams will draw blood into the area and help healing.

Persisting discomfort will be relieved by acupuncture.

Depending on the joint, a period of time will be advised by the expert dealing with the injury when immobilization is essential. Do not reduce the time of immobility because this will lead to recurrent dislocation because the tissues will not have had time to repair.

Osteopathic or chiropractic assessment is recommended because an injury to a joint will inevitably cause extra pressure on the corresponding joint of the body and also the joints above and below the injury. Backache is not uncommon following any body injury because of an imbalance in the body’s natural fulcrum and structure.

Orthopaedic specialist opinion is warranted with any such injury but if the probllem is recurrent then a surgical procedure may be required.