How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

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If you have recently had shoulder surgery or are about to get one, you would be well advised to learn ways on how to recover from shoulder surgery faster. Read the article to learn all about this

The average recovery time for shoulder surgery is four to six months. Still, it may vary with how complex is the injury and the damaged part of the shoulder if the patient has followed the medicating and physical therapy routines as prescribed by the attending doctor/surgeon and type of surgery being performed.

How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

Shoulder injuries commonly occur in the shoulder blade region, the ball and socket shoulder joint, and the rotator cuff tendon. Few types of surgeries and their recovery periods are listed below.

  • Rotator cuff repair surgery (4 to 6 months)
  • Total shoulder replacement surgery (3 to 6 months and sometimes up to a year)
  • Arthroscopy for impingement syndrome surgery (4 to 16 weeks) 
  • Arthroscopy joint repair for arthritis (6 to 8 weeks)
  • Acromioclavicular joint repair for arthritis (8 to 12 weeks)

But, there are a few measures you can take to speed up the process a bit. Let’s evaluate them.


Decrease shoulder movement

Needless to state that all shoulder injuries don’t require surgery. But, in case of an injury, you should immediately see a doctor, follow the medication and restrict shoulder movements and physical activity as much as you can, or even use a dressing to help you do so.

This can prevent the possibility of complexity and might save you from even getting surgery as a doctor only prescribes a surgery or tests related to it when non-surgical treatments don’t show any results.

But just in case if you have to get surgery, refer to the following point.

You might also like to read : 10 Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

Go for an Arthroscopic shoulder surgery. 

Any surgeon would prefer to go for an arthroscopic procedure immediately if they see the possibility of performing one, even before you ask them for it, as it uses one of the most advanced medical equipment and advanced procedures. Hence it’s a much safer process yet not a very complicated procedure.

Arthroscopic surgery follows outpatient production in which the surgeon inserts a tube near the affected region through an incision containing a small camera in it and monitors the damaged region and carefully performs the surgery with much smaller surgical instruments than the ones used in open surgery and additional procedures.

The obvious reason why this kind of surgery has a much less recovery period, and preference is that it has much less post-surgery scarring and even lesser chance of complication compared to open surgery. And you will be discharged within a few hours of completion of the procedure.

How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

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To reduce their recovery time, you might consider following all the following points to kick start your normal life as soon as possible.

Follow the Doctor’s advice precisely.

This may sound like a Twice-told thing, but the truth is, by denying following any prescribed advice or medicine of the doctor, the patient is just forging complexities and delaying his freedom from the immobilization of shoulders.

Get the proper sling and avoid shoulder movement.

After the surgery, the nurses will tie a  sling your hand adjoining the operated shoulder. The doctors will prescribe you a regular time interval to change your wrapping to heal the incised regions, cut the stitches, and readjust the tightness of the dressing to move forward with physical therapy.

This ensures that you do close to no arm movement and completely or partially restrict the shoulder’s range of motion.

After surgery, any active movement in the region could be fatal and cause more damage to the slippery and soft tissues than the original injury, making the surgery completely useless. In case of a fracture or a shoulder replacement surgery, even an accidental activity could displace the bone, tear apart the tendon or even damage the tissue junction.

After a week or maybe immediately after the surgery, a physical therapist will see you.

How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

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Take proper medications 

The week after surgery will be the most painful one. Mild anesthetics, Narcotic pain medicine, and opioids are prescribed in this situation to numb the pain in the shoulder region with some orthopedic medicine if any bone damage is there.

Opioids can form addiction if used for a long time, so doctors only prescribe them for short use. And to decrease the swelling of the affected region, the doctor might prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and additional medicine may include regenerative medicine or even food supplements to aid the regeneration of the affected region.

You can also apply a bit of ice in the region to accelerate the reduction in swelling and pain.

Practice the physical therapy instructions

The physical therapist appointed to you will help you regain motion steadily. They will prescribe a few exercises that will slowly restore the tendons/joints to their normal flexibility. 

A few of the most prescribed exercises are:

You can also do physical therapy exercises after the dressings are gone and return to normal life. Surgeries mostly leave behind some healed yet scarred tissues, so it is recommended to practice the physical therapy exercises even after the whole shoulder surgery treatment is complete. 

How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

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Understand the three stages of recovery

The fastest way to recover is to wait for the prescribed procedure to heal slowly. As ironical it may sound, this is the only way. You must understand that you have to go through these three stages of recovery to heal completely. Rushing or skipping any part of it may scar your joint flexibility and the tissue itself.

The three stages are:

  • Immobilization: This stage restricts you to perform any movement or activity with a sling as your joint slowly heals
  • Passive exercise: This stage allows you to do only physical therapist-recommended exercise with support.
  • Active exercise: This stage gives you almost complete freedom of movement after almost three months of therapy.

None of these stages should be rushed so that the recovery process stays stable.

Mend your daily life

A few changes are needed to be done to your daily activities after the shoulder surgery. For instance, you should change your sleeping position to keep your head and body straight, keep your elbows at 90 degrees angle, and support your arm with a pillow.

You should avoid driving as one of the arms is going to be tied up by a sling, and also try staying home to prevent any accidental movement. 

How To Recover From Shoulder Surgery Faster

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Another great choice is to buy a Detachable showerhead, a shower chair, and waterproof bandages to stay clean and keep the incisions dry. You can also buy a pump soap to perform one-handed bathing smoothly and a few more pillows to support your arm while you lie down or sleep.

A medicine box should also be handy in this situation to keep your medicines and prescriptions organized and in check.

You should wear loose clothes, and easy wear inner wears and shoes that you can easily wear with one hand activity.

Follow a proper diet.

Without taking in, the required nutrition-your cells can never regenerate. Usually, the doctor will prescribe you a proper diet plan to follow and pace up the whole recovery process. And even if the doctor didn’t, you should take your nutrition responsibly.

Protein, High fiber foods, Unsaturated fat, and carbohydrates are absolute requirements for the healing process with a few vitamins and minerals. If you can’t eat a lot, you must ask the doctor for food supplements prescriptions to keep the recovery’s pace intact. 

You might also like to read : Tips For Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery

Follow Proper Instructions 

To sum up, everything that has been stated so far, You should follow the proper instruction and guidelines to get the least painful experience and restrict most body motions, especially if it’s a case of an arthroscopic rotator cuff tear surgery-You will gain back your normal lifestyle even before you realize it.