Shoulder replacement surgery is an invasive surgery used to mobilize damaged and restricted shoulder parts. The road to recovery entails navigating through post-operative pain and following the recommended rehabilitation and physiotherapy exercises sequence.
Your recovery depends on various factors such as the type of surgery, complications, and the post-operative care that your doctor has suggested. Irrespective of the reason behind your shoulder replacement surgery, recovery from shoulder surgery takes time.
Any surgery, even a minimally invasive shoulder rotator cuff surgery, is a big deal. The process takes a couple of hours, and the recovery period takes at least weeks or even months. The checklist to follow when considering shoulder replacement surgery should include both dos and don’ts.
Once your shoulder has been operated on, your doctor will guide you through the rehabilitative steps, including the exercises and physical therapy required and the activities you should avoid for a comprehensive recovery.
Taking preventative measures and recommended precautions is necessary for streamlining the recovery process. This article focuses on preventative tips to keep in mind after shoulder replacement surgery.
Things To Keep In Mind When Considering Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Don’t Take Off Sling/Immobilizer Earlier Than Recommended
While it may tempt you to take off your sling to enjoy better mobility and range of motion, your arm must recover completely by adhering to your surgeon’s recommendations. You risk the chance of proper healing leading to pain, discomfort, long-term damage, and even dislocation requiring a second surgery.
Your post-operative rehabilitation plan will include mobilizing your shoulder and other areas which may require you to release a sling or immobilizer for exercising under supervision. However, it may take up to a couple of months before you can fully unleash your shoulder from the precautionary sling.
Stick To Your Physiotherapy Plan
The long road to recovery post-shoulder replacement surgery can be a bumpy ride making you feel like skipping a couple of days of exercise at the hospital and opting to exercise at home instead.
It is essential to discuss your preferences with your physical therapist and chart out a rehabilitation plan keeping your comfort a priority tailoring the treatment to maximize your recovery. Taking your healing into your own hands by skipping recommended exercise can hamper your communication and dampen your progress.
Be Mindful Of Your Sleeping Position
A common aspect that gets overlooked during the recovery process post-shoulder replacement surgery is the movements and activities that you could easily do before surgery can interfere with your treatment.
Some of these activities that tend to overexert our shoulders include:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Putting weight on the surgical arm or shoulder
- Twisting to reach behind your body
- Raising your arms above your head
One of the most common activities that can pressure your shoulders is sleeping while lying on your back or side. Shoulder surgeons recommend sleeping positions to avoid future complications with your operated shoulder.
Avoid Activities That Exert Pressure On Your Surgical Arm
Usually, your doctor allows your shoulders to bear weight around week 12. Until you get the green light from your doctor and physiotherapist, it is important to limit yourself to strength training, gradually training your shoulders with an equally distributed weight.
The first six weeks post your surgery is critical, requiring extra care for your operated shoulder by not carrying anything that could cause a sprain again. Anything involving pushing and pulling needs to be avoided entirely during your rehabilitation.
Don’t Get Behind The Wheel.
One of the few activities that are a big no-no post your shoulder replacement surgery is to avoid driving for at least a couple of months. Irrespective of the type of surgery, it is essential to take precautions and not get behind the wheel, especially with persistent pain leading to dislocation.
It would be wise to hire someone who can drive you around for the first couple of months after your surgery, especially during your rehabilitation.
Avoid Nicotine Consumption
Nicotine hampers your healing once you have been operated on, which is why it is crucial to quit smoking when considering surgery.
Nicotine not only hampers your recovery but also increases the risk of infection. Quitting smoking before surgery can help you heal faster and minimize potential complications such as frozen shoulders.
Use Ice and Heat Compressions
Ice packs or heat compressions prove helpful in managing the pain caused by shoulder replacement surgery. During the initial rehabilitation phase, ice packs can help reduce pain and swelling in your operated shoulder.
You can discuss your options with your doctors before using heat and ice compressions. Usually, a week after your surgery is the ideal time to use ice and heat compressions alternatively, and keep in mind not to put the compressions directly against your skin.
The most critical step to accelerate your recovery is to follow your doctor’s instructions and work with them closely to tailor your treatment plan according to your comfort.
Refrain from performing activities your doctor has asked you to avoid. Be regular with your medicines and physiotherapy. Lastly, show up to all your scheduled appointments post-surgery even if you feel better.
It is crucial to remember that rushing your recovery will only slow your progress and hamper your healing. If you experience shoulder pain, it’s time for an appointment with the best shoulder replacement clinic in Satellite, Ahmedabad. Rathi Hospital is equipped with top orthopedic doctors in Ahmedabad specializing in hip and shoulder treatment.
Book an appointment with us to avail the best hip and shoulder treatment in Satellite, Ahmedabad.