Recovering from Rotator Cuff Surgery: A Guide for Patients

Tearing your rotator cuff can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. A few people are able to recover with just cortisone injections and a lot of rest, but most of the time, surgery is required in order to recover full range of motion of your shoulder. When all is said and done, you will feel better, but the recovery process following surgery can be a bit painful and difficult to navigate. Here are some tips to help you make it through this trying time.

Prepare your home in advance.

For about a week after surgery, you won't be able to use the arm that was operated on at all. And even after that, you won't be able to raise your arm much above your waist for a few weeks. To make things easier on yourself and to help you resist the temptation of doing too much too soon, prepare your home in advance. Place items that you use all of the time on the counter so you don't have to reach into upper cabinets. Set out some slip-on shoes that you do not have to tie. Lay out clothing that you can get into and out of easily. Also, if you have a recliner, prepare it with a pillow and blanket since you may have an easier time sleeping sitting up since you'll be wearing a sling.

Take the pain relievers ASAP.

Your surgeon should prescribe you pain relievers to take during your recovery. Do not wait until you are in pain to take your first dose! Take them as soon as your surgeon says it is safe to do so. If you get ahead of the pain and take the pain relievers before the pain appears, you will be able to keep it under better control.

Take rehabilitation therapy seriously.

You will likely be told to go to physical therapy beginning a couple of weeks after your surgery. Since therapy can be painful and time-consuming, you may be tempted to skip sessions or just avoid it altogether, but resist this urge. Therapy is essential if you want to regain full use of your shoulder. Your therapist will guide you through various exercises to strengthen your arm and also ease your pain.

Recovering from shoulder surgery will be one of the more difficult things you do in life, but if you take therapy seriously, take your pain relievers, and prepare your home, you can make it through. Reach out to an orthopedic rehabilitation service for more information.