Shoulder problems can happen to anyone, whether or not you’re an athlete. Simple activities that require repetitive motion can bring on inflammation and make shoulder movement very painful. Shoulder replacement surgery can help minimize shoulder pain and bring back your range of motion, allowing you to return to your day-to-day activities. To ensure the safest possible recovery after shoulder surgery, it can be beneficial to adhere to the following the guidelines:
- Wear your sling. When you are in public or moving around, it is recommended that you wear your sling, as it provides stability for your shoulder and allows you heal properly. When you read, watch TV or work at a desk, it can be loosened, but it’s best to keep it secure the majority of the time.
- Favor your hand. Avoid shoulder motion a much as possible, instead bending your elbow, wrist, and hand to do low-impact activities like eating, writing and working at a computer.
- Postpone housework. Or delegate the chores to others. After surgery, you will be advised to not lift or hold weight, and heavy housework like vacuuming is off-limits. Driving is also prohibited until further notice from your doctor. He or she will likely allow you to gradually add housework and driving back into your daily activities after approximately six weeks.
- Do your list of exercises. Your doctor will prescribe exercises for you to do in order to regain full arm and shoulder movement without damaging the replaced shoulder. Exercising provides the range of motion you need to prevent your elbow and shoulder from getting stiff. While these exercises may be uncomfortable to do at first, they will get easier over time.
- Choose ice over heat. After you do your recommended exercises, apply ice to your shoulder to reduce pain and swelling. Applying heat in the form of a heating pad or hot water bottle will only cause your joint to swell.
With the help of regular physical therapy, you will begin to regain strength and increased range of motion in your shoulder. Just be sure to handle yourself with care immediately following shoulder surgery and work your way up as directed by your surgeon.
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