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7 tips for Shoulder Surgery Recovery

7 tips for Shoulder Surgery Recovery

The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in the human body which makes so many routine upper body movements possible. Unfortunately, this wide range of motion of the shoulder joint also predisposes it to injuries such as dislocations, rotator cuff tears, and fractures. When the damage to the shoulder joint is not amenable to conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend shoulder surgery.

The thought of placing your arm in a sling and restricting your activities after shoulder surgery for an extended period of time can be quite disconcerting, but this need not be so. Here are 7 tips to ensure you recover as soon as possible after shoulder surgery:

  • Strictly adhere to your surgeon’s instructions: The postoperative instructions provided by a skilled and experienced surgeon are intended to ensure a positive surgical outcome and quick recovery.
  • Ice or cold application: Icing the shoulder for short periods (10 minutes at a time) as many times as possible after shoulder surgery will help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Cold therapy devices, ice bags, or even a frozen bag of peas can be used.
  • Use the pain medications only as recommended: Use of prescription pain medications in the hours following surgery may help you stay ahead of the pain and keep it under control.
  • Find a good sleeping position: When recovering from shoulder surgery, it might be a challenge to find a proper sleeping position. You could try sleeping in a reclined position instead of flat on your back or experiment with different positions to see what works best for you.
  • Adequate nutrition: Foods sources that are high in vitamin C and E as well as lean proteins provide the building blocks which the body uses to repair and heal your shoulder after surgery.
  • Physical therapy: Even though your arm will remain in a sling for the first couple of weeks, physical therapy in the form of passive range of motion and flexing your fingers may be initiated soon after shoulder surgery. This will be followed by strength training and active range of motion exercises.
  • Practice Patience: It is important to participate in the physical therapy program and return to regular activities at the pace suggested by your surgeon or physical therapist. Trying to do too much too soon can result in re-injury.

Make sure you don’t miss any scheduled follow-up appointments in the weeks or months following shoulder surgery. This will allow your surgeon to assess your progress and adjust your recovery program as needed.

The physicians at Carrell Clinic are committed to providing the highest standards of excellence in orthopedic care. Click here to schedule an appointment.