Healing After Shoulder Surgery

Healing After Shoulder Surgery

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Shoulder TherapyIn this article we are going to explain everything you need to know about healing after shoulder surgery.

Most of the shoulder injuries does not require surgical operation. However, a major tear in the rotatory cuff – the tendon and ligaments that are attached to and enfold the head of the arm bone or humerus – does usually require surgery.  Even though procedure is usually done with minimum invasions, there is usually recovery period that can last up to 6 months.

Just after the surgical operation, when you will be leaving hospital, you need to buy immobilizer for your shoulder to keep shoulder safe from big movements. Usually, shoulder immobilizer you need to use 24hrs a day for 3-4 weeks. After that, you will visit surgeon to check is everything all right, and you can start with training/physiotherapy.

Shoulder Pain After Surgery


Shoulder Pain MedicWhen you leave hospital and come home for resting, you will probably suffer from shoulder pain. This is happening because of recent surgical operation and fresh wounds, also – depends on what was your shoulder problem, your ligaments are healing and connecting back together with a bone which hurts.

Your doctor has probably gave you a prescription for some medics like Advil, Brufen etc. Do not hesitate to swallow them if it hurts, don’t do it more than 3 times a day (doctor will tell you exactly how many times you should take it). My advice is that if shoulder is not very painful, you use pills only before going to bed. We all know that the pills are not the best for our body.

After a few days, pain should pass away slowly. I stopped feeling a lot of pain 4 days after surgery.

Shoulder Surgery Recovery Time


We can divide recovery period of shoulder surgery in more stages:

POST-OPERATIVE PERIOD UP TO 6 WEEKS

This is a period where you will be encouraged to keep the shoulder as still as possible. The frequent application of cold packs to the area will help to reduce the swelling and pain. Using the sling/immobilizer will keep the weight of your arm off of tendon which assists in healing process. After some period (mostly 3-4 weeks), your surgeon will advise you to go to physical therapy sessions.

6 TO 12 WEEKS

During 6 to 12 weeks, together with doing physical therapy, you will be allowed to perform a limited movements with that arm. You will not be able to push heavy things, because, even after this time, big pressure on the joint can cause the sutures anchoring the tendon to the bone to pull out.

3 TO 6 MONTHS

This is the period in which you will become to strengthen your shoulder muscles to support tendon and ligaments. Also, by this time you should be making more movements with your arm. But still, you will not be able to lift or push heavy objects – remember, tendon is still in healing process. This stage, like every, will vary from person to person, but these are some averages.

Shoulder Rehab Equipment And Supplements


Shoulder Recovery EquipmentDuring a proces of rehabilitation, you will need or it will be great if you would have some equipment that you can train with instead of and after physical therapy. Remember, you need to strengthen your muscles as much as possible so the same injury do not happen again.  Great things to have are:

  • Exercise ball for physical therapy
  • Shoulder pulley
  • Stretching strap
  • Very light dumbell

Also, it is always good advice to intake some supplements like vitamins for health of the joints. These supplements should contain Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Curcumin. Also, it is nevery bad option to buy some whey protein since it helps muscles to recover and to become stronger.

Check out our Best Equipment and Supplements For Shoulder Recovery

Best Shoulder Rehab Exercises at Home


Here we are not going to focus on exercises where you need assistance because those kind of exercises you will be doing with your physical therapist. It is not because I do not want to write them, it is because it can be dangerous and you can again make injury on shoulder if not doing well.

Walk Up Exercise

With elbow straight, use fingers to “crawl” up a wall or door frame as far as possible. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
Repeat 5-10 times per session.
Do 3 sessions a day.

Shoulder Forward Elevation

Raise arm upward to point to ceiling, keeping elbows straight and leading with your thumb, as shown. Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat 5-10 times per session.
Do 3 sessions a day.

Shoulder Extension

Stand with your back against the wall and arms straight at your sides. Keeping your elbows straight, push your arms back into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds, and then relax.
Repeat 5-10 times per session.
Do 3 sessions a day.

Shoulder External Rotation

Stand with the involved side of your body against a wall. Bend your elbow 90 degrees. Push the back of your hand slowly into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds, and then relax.
Repeat 10 times per session.
Do 3 sessions a day.

Shoulder Internal Rotation

Stand at a corner of a wall or in a door frame. Place your involved arm against the wall around the corner, bending your elbow 90 degrees. Push the palm of your hand into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds, and then relax.
Repeat 10 times per session.
Do 3 sessions a day.

To improve your rehabilitation even more, check out our article Best Equipment and Supplements for Shoulder Recovery.

I need to mention that I only wrote you basic exercises with which ones you can improve your shoulder rehab time.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy


Shoulder Rehab VitaminsOf course, like everything in life, without quality food we will not accomplish our goals quickly. Don’t worry, you don’t need to 100% watch on your diet. I decided to write this because eating some quality food full with vitamins will help your healing after surgery more quick and better. Just eat as much as possible vegetables and fruits. With that you can not make mistake.


These are only our recommendations for your post surgery rehabilitation. You are not obligated to use all or any of them. We just recommend you things that we think may help you the best with your surgery recovery. 

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