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How Physical Therapy Can Help When You Need To Have A Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement surgery could eliminate your shoulder pain and restore the full use of your shoulder and arm. However, to recover fully after surgery, you'll probably need physical therapy. Here are some ways physical therapy can help when you need shoulder surgery.

Prepare You For Surgery

Your doctor might prescribe physical therapy before surgery to get your shoulder in the best shape possible so you have an easier recovery. In addition to teaching you exercises to do before surgery, the physical therapist can prepare you for exercises you'll be doing after surgery so you'll know what's to come.

Teach You To Adapt After Surgery

Another important role of a physical therapist is to help you adapt to your limitations after surgery. You'll learn how to put on and take off your sling, how to get out of bed, and how to do your activities of daily living with a shoulder that is immobile and in pain.

Keep the Rest Of Your Arm Strong

When your arm is in a sling for weeks, your elbow and hand can get weak. A physical therapist works to prevent this as much as possible. You'll not only work on your shoulder in therapy, you may also exercise your elbow, wrist, and fingers so they stay strong and in good shape.

Strengthen Your Shoulder Muscles

Your shoulder may be weak if you were in a lot of pain before the surgery and didn't use your arm much. After surgery, your muscles will get weaker since your shoulder will be recovering. A physical therapist will teach you exercises that strengthen the muscles in your shoulder so by the time you've healed, your shoulder will be strong and able to engage in the work-related tasks and recreational activities that you need or want to do.

Restore Range Of Motion

Healing with full range of motion is important too. This might require movements and massages that break up scar tissue so the tissue doesn't limit movement. It may also entail stretches and arm rotations that take your shoulder through a range of movements that increase as you heal. At first, the therapist might manually move your shoulder. Eventually, your shoulder will strengthen, and then you can rotate your shoulder and move your arm normally by yourself.

It will probably take months to recover from shoulder replacement surgery. You might need to go to physical therapy for several weeks to help your progress. Healing properly is important so you can resume all your usual activities and maybe even do things you haven't been able to do for a long time before your surgery.