It might be alarming to feel some pain even after rotator cuff repair surgery. Rest assured, this is a common occurrence. Usually, the soreness is due to your shoulder recovering from the surgery itself or stiffness from the lack of movement.
While your shoulder is healing, getting your range of motion back with stretching and strengthening exercises is equally as important as rest. Physical therapy will help you regain shoulder mobility and strengthen your muscles to ease the pain.
Recovering with Therapy After Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery
It takes about a month and a half for your rotator cuff to start healing to the bone and 3 months for your muscles to have a strong attachment to the bone. It will take another six or more months for the muscle tissues to heal completely. Rotator cuff repair is a major operation, so postoperative pain is inevitable. Immobility during your recovery will also cause stiffness.
With physical therapy that involves stretching and strengthening exercises, you can slowly restore the shoulder’s function. During this recovery process, the goal is to regain and maintain as much mobility in the shoulder as possible, as well as strengthen your muscles to help support the joint. Your physical therapist will recommend exercises that allow motion in the fingers, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
In addition to having physical therapy sessions in a clinic or hospital, your physical therapist will also teach you exercises you should do at home.
Exercises Prescribed After Rotator Cuff Surgery
Your specific therapy program and your progress will depend on your condition and the work done during the surgery. Bigger tears generally mean slower progress. You can expect to have both stretching and strengthening exercises in your therapy. However, after the surgery, your doctor will require you to wear a sling on your affected arm, during which your therapist may help you with low-load exercises for your rotator cuff.
Pain management and improving range of motion are the focus of therapy early on in your exercise program. Shoulder pulleys for stretching will help warm up the muscle fibers that were treated during the rotator cuff repair. Exercises during this period will also help improve your flexibility and mobility.
Recovery varies from person to person. Generally, it may take 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy before you can begin strengthening exercises. Your physical therapist will select exercises for the affected muscle group. You will begin by using very light weights for multiple reparations. By strengthening these muscles, they are better able to support your joint. This can take 12 to 16 weeks, but it will primarily depend on your goals. Your doctor and therapist will also advise you to avoid any excessive arm and shoulder movements for the first six weeks.
Pain During Physical Therapy
Sometimes, you may feel pain during your therapy sessions. As a precaution, your therapist will adjust your movements to avoid elevating your shoulder over 60 degrees or overexerting your shoulder as it heals.
Rarely does physical therapy cause damage to the repaired muscles. Nonetheless, you should follow the pace set by your doctor and therapist. To help manage the pain, you may use a cold compress and take oral anti-inflammatory medication.
Physical Therapists in Pembroke Pines and Lauderdale Lakes, Florida
If you or a loved one are experiencing pain or discomfort in your shoulder, it’s essential to get it checked out. Your treatment options will depend on the severity of your condition. You may discuss with a doctor whether rotator cuff repair surgery is right for you and the rehabilitation that will follow surgery.
The experts at Total Orthopaedic Care are highly competent and have extensive experience working on rotator cuff repairs and guiding patients through rehabilitation and recovery. We are committed to providing you with quality patient-centered care through state of the art technology and treatment options.
For concerns and inquiries, call (954) 735-3535 or schedule an appointment online at our Lauderdale Lakes or Pembroke Pines office. We look forward to serving you!