You have arrived at your destination.
You finally elected to proceed with shoulder surgery. You may think the surgery itself is your destination in this journey. In reality shoulder surgery is just a point on the journey. The real destination is a full recovery -restoring full range of motion, enjoying life pain free.
After surgery, you may be anxious to return to your normal activities, but recovery is also part of the journey to reaching that final destination. I want to encourage you to keep going and keep the end in sight.
Some tips for recovering after shoulder surgery:
- Follow your post-op instructions: Following instructions for your medications, activity level, and appointments is the first step for a successful recovery.
- Helpful assistance: Plan to have a care-giver with you for the first few days or weeks after surgery. They can help you with everyday activities that may be difficult after surgery.
- Sleeping position: When recovering after shoulder surgery, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a challenge. Check out these tips for sleeping after surgery.
- Cold therapy: Icing your shoulder frequently after surgery helps reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Icing your shoulder just before bed can also help you get to sleep faster.
- Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential to helping your body repair and heal itself. Eat foods rich in Vitamin C and E as well as lean proteins.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is vital to a full recovery. Be diligent in your therapy. Gentle exercises, such as flexing your fingers, will start soon after surgery and will build to strength training and active range of motion exercises as your recovery progresses.
Shoulder surgery is not the destination. It is a point on the journey. Following these tips can help you through the recovery process. The goal is to restore full motion and function of the shoulder while enjoying your everyday activities pain free. The journey may be hard at times, but the destination is absolutely worth it.
Dr. Kevin Kruse is a board-certified, fellowship-trained, orthopedic surgeon specializing in Shoulder injuries and arthroscopic Shoulder surgery in North Texas.