Each year in the U.S. more than 50,000 patients undergo shoulder replacement surgery. If you’re one of the many Americans who is experiencing severe shoulder arthritis or who suffered a serious shoulder fracture, you may fall into this group. If an orthopaedic surgeon tells you that you are a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, it is natural to have many questions. One of them will certainly be about recovery from the surgery – what it entails, how long it takes, when normal activities can resume and so on.
While recovery from a shoulder replacement cannot be rushed and it will take time for proper healing and rehabilitation, there are several tips that may accelerate the recovery process and help to manage pain and improve surgery outcomes.
Here are Dr. Mendoza’s three tips for faster recovery from shoulder replacement surgery:
- Ensure proper support & positioning – Though you will be unable to make any sort of movements with the affected shoulder immediately following surgery, it is important to make sure that the arm and shoulder are properly positioned while they aren’t moving. The shoulder needs to be well supported in a relaxed position at all times and this can be achieved by using the sling provided by Dr. Mendoza. In addition, the shoulder should always be propped up when you’re in a reclined position, such as when lying on the couch or going to sleep at night. Rolling up a throw blanket or using a small pillow are two good options to place under your elbow.
- Apply gentle heat – Applying heat to the shoulder is a great way to relax and loosen the muscles and relieve pain. Heat will be a particularly helpful tool when the rehabilitation process begins, as it will allow you to warm up the shoulder joint and get it ready to perform exercises and stretches with less pain.
- Consistently perform recommended exercises – Once the immediate post-operative rest period is over, it is important to begin warming up the shoulder by performing daily stretches and small movements as recommended by Dr. Mendoza and your physical therapist. These movements, such as shoulder blade rolls, will help to relieve stiffness and pain and lay the foundation for a successful rehabilitation.
To read more about shoulder replacement surgery including the different types of arthroplasty procedures regularly performed by NYC orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Mendoza, visit our shoulder replacement page. Still have questions about the procedure or the recovery process? We’re here to help. Contact our office to get more information or to schedule a consultation at our Manhattan practice.