10 Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

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Exercises after Shoulder surgery helps in preventing stiffness of the affected muscles. This article lists a few safe exercises after shoulder surgery below in this article.

Shoulder surgery is a major surgery in which the patient may feel more pain after than before surgery. Sometimes the pain becomes so severe that the patient cannot sleep the whole night. 

This is because the muscles in the shoulder area need time to recover properly after the surgery. A patient may take a few weeks to several months to recover completely from shoulder surgery

Your doctor may advise you to do specific shoulder exercises for 10 -15 minutes two times a day to relieve pain. These shoulder exercises may differ from one individual to the other. 

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

The type of exercise depends on the surgery type that is done on your shoulder area. But working out after shoulder surgery will help strengthen the affected muscles, and you can soon lift any object or carry out your daily routine comfortably.

This article discusses safe exercises after shoulder surgery that you may do at home to reduce your pain and recover quickly after shoulder surgery. So, continue reading this article for more information.

What Is Shoulder Surgery?

Shoulder surgery means the repair of a damaged shoulder joint or treating various diseases in the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is mainly formed by three bones, i.e., the humerus, the upper part of your forearm, scapula (the blade of the shoulder), and the clavicle

The muscles attach to the bones by tendons. Apart from bones, the shoulder joint also consists of cartilage, scapula fluid, and bursa sac that cushions the joint. Any damage to the bones, tissue, or joints may need surgery.

The doctor may advise you for shoulder surgery if there is any damage or tearing off muscles or dislocation of joints. It is major surgery. So you always consider a second opinion before having surgery.

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

You need to do some shoulder exercises to stay safe after shoulder surgery. The exercises are as follows.

#1. Pendulum

You can begin the pendulum exercises by keeping your non-operative arm on a chair or bench for support. 

Then move your hips in a clockwise direction so that the arm that has undergone surgery should swing with some momentum, just like a pendulum. You need to do it for 10 seconds and then move your hips in a counterclockwise direction.

#2. Shoulder Forward Elevation

You can do the shoulder forward elevation either by sitting or lying down on a mat. You need to lift the post-operative hand on the front of your body, hold it for at least 10 seconds, and then release your arm. 

But after a few weeks, you can slowly increase the elevation of your hand and lift the arm towards the head. Your arm should be as straightened as possible. 

This exercise you need to repeat 10 -20 times in a session. But try to have at least 2-3 sessions in a day. These exercises will surely help in reducing pain.

#3. Rotator Cuff Strengthening

You need to place both of your arms behind and clasp hands together. Then stretch the arms as much as possible. You may also lift both of your arms upwards and downwards to help strengthen the injured muscles.

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

#4. Reaching Exercises

You need to sit down and try this exercise. First, raise both of your arms forward and straighten them as much as possible. 

Then try to move both of your arms as if you are trying to reach an object. While doing this exercise, try to add some pressure to the shoulder for a speedy recovery.

#5. Internal Rotation

You need first to lie down so that you can bend the elbow of the affected shoulder at 90 degrees. 

Then try to hold the dumbbell or any other lightweight object on the same arm, lower the hand towards your stomach, and slowly return. You need to repeat this ten times in a session. You could alternate with the other shoulder if you had surgery in both arms.

#6. Shoulder External Rotation

First, you need to lie down and bend the affected shoulder to 90 degrees. Then hold a light weight and raise it away from the stomach and then return. You have to repeat this exercise 10 times in a session.

#7. Neck Flexion

Shoulder problems can cause an imbalance of muscles in the neck. So, it’s important to stretch them. But don’t stretch your neck beyond your comfort zone.

You have to sit with a straight spinal cord and arm by your sides. You have to slowly take your chin to the chest, hold it for at least 10 seconds, and go back to your original position. You need to repeat this exercise 2-3 times.

#8. Supported Shoulder Rotation

First, you need to sit straight with your arms down. Then bend the affected arm to 90 degrees and support your arm with the help of a table or a small bench. 

Now move the arm backward, forward, and then right and left. You have to repeat this exercise at least 3-4 times per session.

#9. Walk Up Exercise

Stand near a wall and stretch your arms on the wall as far as possible. Then hold it for a few seconds and then release. You have to repeat the procedure 2-4 times per session.

#10. Flexion

You have to stand or sit with your spinal cord straight and then raise your arm to the sides but don’t shrug your shoulders while doing so.

For better results, you need to stand with your back against the wall. Then push the palm towards the wall by keeping the affected arm straight. You have to repeat on the other arm for a speedy recovery.

Additional Tips After Shoulder Surgery

#1. Warm-Up

You should not start with exercises without warming up. You can do some light cardio exercises like the stationary bike or elliptical before doing any exercises for relieving pain in the shoulder joint. 

But if none of these is present at home, you can go for a brisk walk and then start doing shoulder exercises.

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

#2. Do Not Over Stretch Yourself

After warming up, start your shoulder exercises. But once you feel pain in your shoulder, you need to stop the exercises immediately. Again, don’t do all the shoulder exercises right from the start. You need to progress slowly.

#3. Cooling Down

Shoulder recovery exercises aren’t like heavy-duty aerobics, so you may think this step is pointless. In my opinion, you need to cool down after the shoulder exercises just by doing some simple stretching of your legs or doing some breathing exercises.

If you experience any pain during or after the exercises, it’s best to review whether you should reduce the intensity. You can also apply an ice pack to bring down the pain.

Wrap Up

Most patients experience pain in the shoulder muscles and joints after the surgery. It is important for you to be working out after shoulder surgery to relieve pain and strengthen the muscles once again. 

I have listed above a few exercises which you can easily do at home. But don’t do all the exercises right from the first week. You need to progress slowly. 

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

If repeating a single exercise 4-5 times is too much for you, you can do just 1-2 times. You don’t need to put too much strain on your affected muscles.

I hope this article is informative and please don’t forget to share any suggestions for this article. I would love to read your experience after doing these shoulder exercises in the comment section. If you have any further questions, you can post them in the comments below, and we will try to answer them in our next update.