The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of all of the joints in the human body, and this is why it can seem fairly easy to injure a shoulder. Sometimes physical therapy alone can take care of the injury, but in severe cases surgery is required to repair the shoulder.
If you have had or are having shoulder surgery, there will be a period of rehabilitation to make sure the shoulder heals properly so you can regain function in that area. The length of the initial phase of rehabilitation depends upon the patient and how much was done to repair the shoulder.
Physical Therapy Following a Shoulder Operation
A typical regimen of physical therapy to help the joint heal after shoulder surgery involves the following:
Weeks 1 to 6
For the first six weeks following shoulder surgery, the patient should keep movement to a bare minimum. Periodically using ice packs on the shoulder will help reduce the swelling.
The patient will be given an orthopedic shoulder sling that will help prevent any movement. The sling also keeps the arm away from the body just enough so as to not place any weight on the tendons in the shoulder. Wearing a sling also prevents the bicep from contracting, which helps the joint to heal without being disturbed.
Once a patient begins physical therapy, the therapist will show the patient how the arm is permitted to be moved. The patient will start out doing some very gentle movements in order to retain flexibility and prevent the formation of scar tissue.
Weeks 6 to 12
During this period, the patient will learn further exercises that are designed to regain and maintain the shoulder’s range of motion. Patients are forbidden from moving or lifting anything heavy (doing so could affect the sutures that are holding the tendon to bone) or putting one’s weight on the shoulder.
However, patients should develop nearly a full range of motion during this time. Toward the end of this phase, the physical therapist will create a separate workout plan to continue doing at home.
After 3 Months
By this point, the patient is beginning to rebuild strength and is stretching the tendons to get back to a normal range of motion without pain. Care must still be taken as to not put too much strain on the shoulder joint, but the range of motion should be close to normal.
This is the period of rehabilitation where the real work starts. Your physical therapist may add exercises to your routine that utilize some very light weights for developing strength.
The overall formula for healing from shoulder surgery begins with passive range-of-motion exercises followed by active range-of-motion workouts, culminating with exercises that also strengthen the rotator cuff in the shoulder. Always stick with the plan recommended by your physical therapist, and don’t try to overdo it.
Physical Therapy for Shoulder Pain
If you have had surgery to alleviate your shoulder pain, place your recovery in the best hands possible. Our team at Suburban Physical Therapy operates out of two convenient locations: Call our Brecksville office at (440) 746-1730 or our Twinsburg office at (330) 963-2920.
You can also fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. Get the most out of your shoulder surgery by choosing the experienced professionals at Suburban Physical Therapy!