If you recently had shoulder surgery and thought you would be further along in the recovery process, there could be a few factors that are slowing down tissue repair and healing. Perhaps you are in pain longer than you thought you would be, or you expected to be able to have greater range of motion at this point. Regardless of the reason, if you’re not where you want to be in the shoulder surgery recovery process and sufficient time has passed, it might be time to consider one of the following reasons.
Complications from the Surgery
Only your doctor will be able to tell you if you have an infection, if your muscles and ligaments are not repairing as they normally should, or if your internal sutures have become dislodged. If you are concerned about a serious post-operative complication during shoulder surgery recovery, schedule a consultation with your doctor to get a professional diagnosis.
Too Much Activity
It’s not uncommon for people to jump into too much activity too soon after shoulder surgery. This is especially true for athletes and patients who are normally very active. After the major pain subsides and you have taken off the sling, it’s still important to limit activity as directed by your physical therapist. Pushing your body beyond its limits during the crucial phases of healing will slow down shoulder surgery recovery and possibly cause you to injure yourself again. Remember that “no pain, no gain” is not a phrase that you should use while recovering from surgery.
Not Enough Physical Therapy
If you only perform your physical therapy exercises while you are at the clinic, chances are you are not doing enough. Most of the time, physical therapists will work with you very closely in the early phases of recovery to take you through passive movements to regain range of motion without engaging the muscles that are in the process of healing. Daily physical therapy sessions are not uncommon in the initial phase of recovery because you can’t safely do these movements on your own.
After this phase, the frequency of physical therapy visits slow down, but that doesn’t mean that you get to take a break on the days that you’re not in the clinic. If you are not doing the daily exercises recommended by your physical therapist, you are contributing to a slower shoulder surgery recovery.
Discontinued Cold and Compression Therapy
You probably used some form of cold and compression therapy immediately after shoulder surgery to help reduce pain and control swelling. Many hospitals use a cold therapy machine that combines active compression with continuous therapeutic cold. After leaving the hospital, maybe you used the device during physical therapy sessions, but had to use ice packs and compression bandages at home. If you have stopped using ice packs because they are uncomfortable or inconvenient, you are missing out on the continued benefits of cold therapy. In addition to reducing pain, cold and compression therapy will also decrease inflammation and accelerate the healing process.
Did you know that you can rent a cold therapy machine to use at home during shoulder surgery recovery? All you need is a prescription from your doctor. Contact Game Ready today if you would like to learn more.