It is fairly easy to injure your shoulder, especially the rotator cuff. This is the collection of tendons and muscles which keep the rounded top of the upper arm bone (the humeral head, or the top of the humerus) securely fastened in the shoulder socket. Small tears can form in the rotator cuff, especially from repetitive injury – and this can cause pain and weakness in the shoulder.
Depending on the work, hobby, or sport you engage in on a frequent basis, you could develop an acute (sudden) injury or a repetitive-motion injury that creates a torn rotator cuff. People who are especially prone to a rotator cuff tear include athletes, manual labor workers, painters, mechanics, hairdressers, and people who sit working at a computer all day.
If the rotator cuff is severely damaged, surgery may be in order to repair the injury and alleviate the pain and weakness. Let’s talk about what’s involved in the recovery phase after having rotator cuff repair surgery, and who you can talk to in order to find out more about what you can do for your shoulder pain.
Recovering After Rotator Cuff Surgery
Prepare a plan before the surgery, taking into consideration how you’ll get home, your home and sleeping arrangements, and enlisting the help of a family member or friend. A helper will be especially beneficial during the first few days after the operation.
Your recovery plan will likely include rest, icing the area, pain-relief medicine, physical therapy, and wearing a sling. Your doctor will give you specific instructions which will help you heal as quickly as possible. Follow these instructions rather than those you may find on the internet or from a friend, because everyone’s body is different and your doctor will give you recommendations based on your own body.
After a rotator cuff repair, activity restrictions will include immobilizing the arm and shoulder with a sling for up to 6 weeks. You will also be asked to not lift objects with that arm for up to 3 months post-surgery. Your doctor will explain your restrictions insofar as how much movement you can perform, and these limitations may last up to a year – otherwise you could undo what was done during the surgery.
Physical Therapy for the Shoulder
Through physical therapy, you can regain your full strength as well as improve your flexibility and mobility. Your shoulder muscles will need the stimulation in order to prevent atrophy due to being immobilized after the surgery.
Initial physical therapy treatments will target alleviating pain and slowly improving your range of motion. The therapist may also ask you to continue light exercises at home by giving you pulleys or light weights.
Physical Therapy After Shoulder Surgery in Austin, Texas
As part of your treatment plan after having rotator cuff repair surgery, recovery will require rest, immobilization, icing, pain medication, and physical therapy. Here at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness, our occupational and physical therapy providers can help you recover completely – and can assist you in your triumphant return to work or your sport.
We have locations across the Greater Austin area for your convenience. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our friendly staff today at (512) 284-7192 or complete our online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get back to it!