Any type of shoulder surgery is going to take some time to recover from.
It’s typically a fairly invasive procedure, after all, depending on the nature of the surgery. Whether it’s a torn rotator cuff, a labrum, or even a total shoulder replacement, the end goal of the procedure is to get your body back to it’s optimal abilities — but getting there is inevitably going to take some time.
Once the procedure is over, the hard part is truly just beginning. However, one thing that is important to consider is that recovery happens at a different pace for every patient.
Keep reading to learn a few shoulder surgery recovery tips, and contact the Columbus Shoulder Doc to learn about an innovative alternative to shoulder surgery which just might make recovery a little bit easier.
TIP NO. 1: DON’T PUSH IT
The most important thing for yourself and your freshly operated-on shoulder is to take it easy. While you may feel anxious to test out your new shoulder and its abilities, it’s imperative that you listen to your body first and foremost.
If an activity is causing pain, then make sure you cease movement and return your arm to a stabilized position. This type of invasive procedure, whether it’s arthroscopic shoulder surgery or a shoulder replacement, needs to heal properly or else there are going to be a slew of other complications.
TIP NO. 2: GET IN MOTION
On the flip side, if it’s the lack of activity that is causing pain and discomfort you may want to try a few movements to improve your mobility and ultimately your recovery.
In an earlier blog post, we identified four simple immediate recovery techniques for shoulder resurfacing patients. These same activities can help with recovery from a variety of shoulder procedures.
Some of these shoulder recovery exercises include:
- Arm swings: Loosen up some of that stiff scar tissue by letting your arm hang and swing naturally, kind of like a pendulum. Make sure you do this for a few minutes at a time, one to three times per day.
- Grip strengthening: Start off by simply making a fist and squeezing (if you can without any pain). Eventually, progress to squeezing a ball or other soft object.
- Shoulder blades: One thing that sometimes gets neglected when it comes to shoulder recovery is the movement of your shoulder blades. A few times a day, work toward regaining strength by “pinching” your shoulder blades together 20-30 times in a row.
- Arm circles: similar to the first exercise, bend at the waist and let your arm dangle. Then, make slow circles in multiple directions as your arm allows.
TIP NO. 3: ALTER THE ROUTINE
A few things aren’t going to be possible like they once were immediately following shoulder surgery. There are certain motions and activities that you simply take for granted — such as showering, getting dressed, and even eating and sleeping.
This is particularly true if you had shoulder surgery on your dominant arm. After shoulder surgery, you can help yourself (and have a better recovery) if you adapt to your current situation. Think about getting pump-soap dispensers for the shower, and possibly even a shower chair (to reduce the risk of falling).
Speaking of chairs, you may find that it is actually more comfortable and efficient to sleep in a chair, rather than in your bed. When sleeping in a bed, it can be uncomfortable and you can risk tossing and turning, therefore doing damage and causing pain.
Finally, think about your wardrobe. For awhile after shoulder surgery, you’re not going to be able to lift your arm over your head, which makes getting dressed quite the chore.
Think about going for loose-fitting clothes that are easier to slip on, and even utilize the magical power of zip-up sweaters and sweatpants.
TIP NO. 4: TOTAL SHOULDER RESURFACING
How can you make your shoulder surgery recovery even easier? By opting for a smarter, more cost-effective, and just as efficient procedure. The Columbus Shoulder Doc, Dr., Thomas Kovack, has built a reputation by perfecting the total shoulder resurfacing procedure — which is minimally invasive and known to speed up recovery time significantly.
In fact, this outpatient procedure typically allows for a full recovery within eight to 12 weeks.