Surgery Recovery Exercises
Rehabilitation after shoulder surgery can be a difficult and frustrating time for most people. Six weeks after shoulder surgery, patients will need to keep their shoulder as immobile as possible by keeping their arm in a sling. After those six weeks, physical therapists will give the patient several movements to increase range of motion on the injured shoulder. After about twelve weeks, the patient can begin movements to strengthen the muscles in their shoulder. However, many recovering patients may not know what is best for their continued healing.
Whether you are recovering from surgery or are considering a procedure, these five exercises will help with shoulder surgery recovery. Be sure to consult with your physical therapist and surgeon before performing these movements on your own.
To perform this movement, place one hand on a table for support. Then let the other arm hang freely at your side. Gently swing arm forward and back, then side to side. Repeat again in a circular motion. After completion, repeat on the other arm. The patient should start with two sets of 10 circles. This exercise can be done five to six days a week.
Side Lying Shoulder Internal Rotation
Lie on your side with the affected shoulder under you and the arm bent. The patient can place a pillow on his or her head for comfort. Use the other arm to push the arm down. Stop pressing down when you feel a stretch in the back of the affected shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat. Patients should start with four reps, three times a day.
The patient will need an elastic band to perform this movement. Tie the band to a doorknob or any stable surface. Stand holding the band with your elbow bent at your side. Keep the elbow pressed to you as you bring your arm across the body. Slowly return to position and repeat. This movement can be performed by doing three sets of eight repetitions. Patients can start doing this three times a week.
This movement has a similar setup to the internal rotation. Grab the elastic band and tie it to a doorknob or a stable surface. Stand holding the band with you elbow bent at your side. Keep the elbow pressed to you as you rotate your arm outward. The movement can be done three times a week with three sets and eight repetitions in each set. This movement will strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff.
Shoulder Flexion with Opposite Arm Assist
Lay on your back. Grab the wrist of the injured arm with your other hand and gently raise your injured arm above your head. Be sure to not let your hand cross the midline of your head. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds and repeat four times. This movement will help increase the range of motion of your injured shoulder.
Finding Help in the Journey to Recovery
Patience is important to those who are recovering from shoulder surgery. After a few weeks, most patients are eager to go heavy with weights and rush through their rehab. This can actually set a patient back and possibly reinjure the muscles in the joint. The exercises shown above should be done slowly with no pain in the shoulder throughout the movement. It is important to check in with the surgeon and physical therapist before increasing intensity with these movements.
For many, the first few days after a procedure can mean the difference between successful healing and future complications. At Pearl Recovery Retreat, we are dedicated to providing patients with full service accommodations after surgery. If you are interested in a luxurious environment to heal after your shoulder surgery, please give us a call at (310) 736-1009 and schedule a reservation!