Regaining Full Use Of Your Shoulder After Surgery

Health & Medical Blog

You tore your rotator cuff in your shoulder by lifting a box that was too heavy. The orthopedic doctor recommended arthroscopic surgery for which you have an appointment in a few days. The surgery to repair the rotator cuff will take little time, but a full recovery to gain back the use of your shoulder will take several months. Here is what to expect once the surgeon has repaired your injured shoulder.

Going Home After Surgery

Your surgeon will send you home with your arm in a special sling that holds your arm and shoulder against your body. This keeps your shoulder in a neutral position while the tissues heal. You'll be shown how to exercise your elbow, wrist and hand to keep them limber while in the sling. You'll be instructed to keep the sling on and remove it only when bathing.

The Tissue Healing Phase

The rotator cuff is made up of ligaments that hold your shoulder joint together, but allow it to move freely. Ligaments take a long time to heal because they have less of a blood supply flowing through them than other tissues, such as muscle. Once you get home from the surgery, you'll need to rest your shoulder for several weeks wile the tissues heal. Putting stress on the shoulder during this time could re-injure the rotator cuff, requiring additional surgery. When your doctor is satisfied with the healing progress in your shoulder, they will start you in your next phase of recovery - physical therapy.

Range of Motion Exercises

Since your haven't used your shoulder and arm for several weeks, the muscles will be contracted and your shoulder will feel stiff. The goal of your physical therapy in this phase is to get back the normal range of motion in your shoulder. The physical therapist will begin with passive movements then gradually advance you to active exercises.

Passive physical therapy - During this phase, the therapist moves your shoulder through its normal range of motion to slowly stretch out the tense muscles. They will show you how to move your shoulder using your other arm and hand between sessions. Active physical therapy - As your shoulder loosens up and you gain a little strength back in the shoulder muscles, the therapist will have you move the shoulder itself.

This phase of physical therapy to gain back the normal range of motion in your shoulder takes several weeks. The therapist will measure your progress at each session. Once you've reached a nearly normal amount of movement in your shoulder, you'll begin the next and last phase of physical therapy.

Strength Training Exercises

Now the therapist will help you build up the muscles in your shoulder. Strong muscles help you move the shoulder, but also protect it from injury. You'll use resistance machines to strengthen the muscles. You'll also be shown exercise you're expected to do at home. This phase of recovery also takes several weeks.

If you participate in sports or other physically demanding activities, your doctor will have you spend a few more weeks building up your muscles. This will make them better able to meet the demands of strenuous activity while reducing the risk of injury. Visit for more information.   


10 May 2016

introducing your daughter to the gynecologist

Having a daughter comes with a number of challenges. One challenge that you will one day need to tackle is determining when to introduce your daughter to the gynecologist. Do you take your daughter to the same gynecologist that you see or take her somewhere else? Do you wait until she gets her first period or do you take her in to learn about the menstrual cycle from the doctor? There is a long list of questions you likely have about introducing your daughter to the world of gynecology. Having gone through this twice myself, I have learned quite a bit and have included a lot of helpful information in my site to help other parents get through this complicated time a little easier.