Despite most rotator cuff injuries can be helped with non-surgical solutions, your physician may advise rotator cuff surgery to fix the tears that are in the shoulder. Certainly, the kind of surgery you have will depend on several things. No matter what kind of surgery you have, the steps to rotator cuff surgery recovery are much the same.
Day of the Operation
In most instances, you will not be required to stay in hospital overnight because this is an outpatient operation. You will only have to remain in the hospital until you can manage the pain with home medication. To protect your arm, it will be wrapped in a special protective sling. This will allow your shoulder and arm muscles to relax and help the healing along.
Some tips to speed up rotator cuff surgery recovery during the first few days after the operation, which are very important in the later phases, include:
-Ease your pain by taking your pain medications as soon as you feel pain in your shoulder.
-Ask your doctor for guidance and find the right combination of pain and anti inflammation medicines.
-Apply an ice bag over your shoulder to lessen pain and help healing.
-When sleeping, sleep in a partially seated position with your elbows pointing down.
Stages of Recovery
It must be emphasized that the phases of rotator cuff surgery recovery will vary from one person to the next in terms of the time taken to progress from one phase to another. As such, it is best to comply with your personalized rehabilitation protocol.
The first stage of recovery can go on for nearly 6 weeks, where you will be asked to only do passive motions. What this mean is not to work or stress out the rotator cuff tendons and muscles. During this stage, your physical therapist will do two things. He will firstly move your recovering shoulder for you and secondly, he will give you guidance on how to move your shoulders with as little muscle contractions as possible.
In the second part, you will be asked to move your arm on your own though you must not move it against any resistance at all. This is named the active motion phase and can go on up to 12 weeks from the time you have surgery.
The third part of your recovery is the strengthening period, where you will do a series of isolation exercises that will give strength to muscles that have been made weak because of inactivity. This is the most imperative part in rotator cuff surgery recovery because you can regain full muscle function if your do this step well.
When you reach the fourth part of recovery, you will be able to go back and do all the regular activities you do with your shoulders. Definitely, some things will affect this part of your recovery that can go on for about 6 months after you surgery and you will still have to talk to your doctor about going back to regular physical activities involving your shoulder.
Lastly, your devotion to rehabilitation, the extent and location of the rotator cuff tear and your physical condition will determine how quickly you will recover from rotator cuff surgery.
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