Shoulder subluxation support

I had my stroke on New Year’s eve. It has affected my left side. I am able to get some use of my left leg and am getting stronger on that each day. However my left arm is capable of very little movement and as a result just hangs there which is causing subluxation of the shoulder joint. I have tried a brace across the shoulders ( as supplied by the hospital) and a support cuff with straps across to under my other arm but both are pretty uncomfortable and I really don’t see them as long term solutions. It seems that a support sling is the best way forwardbut I’m not sure what style to use. I wondered if any other stroke survivor has had similar issues and maybe found a better solution please.

You say your left arm has very little movement. Does that mean it has some movement? Are you getting regular therapy for it? I have read that it’s important to prevent subluxation due to weak shoulder muscles early on, so it doesn’t get worse–with subluxation slings or supports. (Sorry to say I don’t have any experience in that area. ) I also read that the muscles in the shoulder area can be stimulated with electrostimulation (a tens unit.) I used one on my arm and leg when in the hospital. Therapists should have a tens unit. Also, they can be purchased on the internet in a wide range of prices.(very affordable to very expensive) You will get stronger each day. My very best to you. :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:Jeanne

Hi , yes same problem 2.5 years ago. Pain killers , terrible, zoned me out . Then gentle exercise, part filled plastic, bottles, with sand in . Slowly improved, off Pain killers . Now, got two rectangular, yoga bolsters , one on left side in bed, when sitting up & one I have velcrow strapped to arm of lounge chair. Very firm , cushions, pillows , no good, too squidgy. Have avoided problem since. Think I am quite good of having problems & adapting :grin: . Good luck David.

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@allwojoh welcome to the forum although sorry to hear of your stroke. I don’t have the same problem as you so can’t offer much advice but my left arm was affected by my stroke & because I wasn’t able to use it properly I did start to get shoulder problems. My physio gave me exercises to do that my hubby helps with & shoulder pain has eased although still not got full movement in my arm yet. Hopefully the more you get use of your arm back the fewer issues you’ll have with your shoulder. Good luck with your recovery.

I had terrible problems with that in the first year. I was given exercises by my physiotherapist, fairly simple things like shoulder shrug movements, only what I could do as I had very little voluntary movement. After doing my exercises every day for at least half an hour a day for several months the pain subsided. I had terrible pain for a long time. I used a programme called Grasp, a Canadian physiotherapy programme which I believe is available free online. Where your weaker side can’t do the exercise you can recruit York stronger side to help.
The pain was dealt with after about 4 nth of daily exercise.
I am 6 years post stroke and while I don’t have the same issue with subluxation as I did in the first year, I still do not have any function in my left hand and arm, so I am sorry not to be able to give a more hopeful outlook on that , other than to say that every stroke is different and your recovery journey will be different from mine, but I do recommend the exercise route for subluxation, it worked very well for me and might for you. You have to stick at it, but it works.

Best wishes with it.


I have had quite a marked sublux of left shoulder. It is now loads better due mostly to the support of a great physio. Amongst other things daily isometric exercises have greatly strengthened the muscles and the drop is now barely noticeable - 1 year on.

Hi, welcome to this forum, I’m 5 years post stroke which paralysed my left side. I have very little movement in my left arm or hand. Fortunately I don’t have any pain but my shoulder is sublaxed. I too was sent from hospital with a shoulder support which was very difficult to get on and didn’t really help with the subluxation. A private neuro physiotherapist also showed my husband how to apply Rock Tape (used by athletes to support injuries) around my shoulder with seemed to support my shoulder but came off when you showered.

I always sleep with my shoulder supported on a pillow and if I’m sitting down I support my arm on a pillow. With my husband’s help I also use an FES machine on my shoulder and hand on a regular basis, although I can’t say that they have really helped.

To be honest I have always found supporting a subluxation to be a very controversial subject with some physiotherapists saying you should use something and some saying they don’t think it really works.

I try to do shoulder shrugging regularly as it’s something I can do without any help. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

Regards Sue