Many people struggling with a complete or significant rotator cuff tear, or shoulder dislocations opt to have shoulder surgery to help their function. The thought is often that once the procedure is complete, all pain will be gone and function will be restored.
This is not usually the case.
Many surgical protocols have a person’s arm in a sling for 4 to 6 weeks with no movement. This means that there is 4 to 6 weeks for muscles to atrophy (weaken) and the area to stiffen. For many people, that is coupled with learned disuse and weakness from after their injury and leading up to their surgery.
We have chatted about the importance of the pre-surgical and post injury interval in a persons success in recovery in this blog post where we talk about joint replacements. The period of time after surgery is important too.
Every person and every surgery is different.
Your surgeon usually has protocol or a basic recipe that they like you to follow as you go through physiotherapy after surgery. If this is not the case, your Physiotherapist will be able to guide you along the way. Each stage is dependent on how you are doing in the previous stage. Landmarks may be range of motion or strength and some other outcome measurement.
Once these landmarks are met, and when appropriate based on your stage of healing, you will be moved forward in the protocol.
While the sling often has to stay on for 4 to 6 weeks. We often have patients who seek some treatment for their neck, elbow and hand during this time frame. The protocol will be respected but some attention and advise can be given for the areas above and below the shoulder.
If you would like to book in with one of our North Oakville Physiotherapists for treatment before and after your shoulder surgery contact us. Our Physiotherapists are well-versed in post surgical physio and would be more than happy to help!