After your shoulder surgery your doctor will want you to have therapy to complete your shoulder rehabilitation. Often the shoulder that had surgery will be much weaker than the opposite, not only because of surgery, but the injury sustained before that caused the need for surgical intervention. After weeks, and sometimes months, of your shoulder being bandaged and healing you will need to restrengthen your shoulder muscles through physical therapy. 

What Happens at Physical Therapy for Shoulders?

During shoulder surgery therapy the therapist will be focused on increasing mobility, flexibility, and strength of your shoulder muscles. A lot of this process will be done through exercise and stretching both at physical therapy and at home. There are a few exercises you can be expected to learn during therapy. 

  • Shoulder Forward Elevation (lying down or sitting up)
  • Circular Pendulum (standing)
  • Neck Flexion (sitting or standing)
  • Flexion/Extension (sitting or standing)
  • Walk-Up Exercise (standing)
  • Supported Shoulder Rotation (sitting or standing)
  • Shoulder Internal Rotation (sitting or standing)

Your shoulder surgery therapist will teach you exactly how to do each of these stretches and exercises with modification as needed. You will have soreness during and after shoulder surgery therapy as you are working the muscle and stretching. Over-the-counter medications should help with the soreness and ice compression can also be used to reduce swelling. Make sure to let your therapist know about any pain you are experiencing so they can adjust the treatment as appropriate. Once your shoulder is strengthened through these exercises you can move on to adding weights and other more intense workouts as advised by your doctor. 

Recovering from shoulder surgery can take a few or several weeks depending on the surgery you had and the extent of the injury that caused the need for surgery. Physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery process and patients should be sure to follow their physical therapist’s advice for at-home care to heal and strengthen your shoulder as quickly as possible. You also must be sure to not rush the process or push yourself beyond what your doctor is recommending. Sustaining an injury during surgery recovery can cause further injury and set back your recovery tremendously. 

If you are looking for a place to complete your shoulder therapy, call Atlantic Coast Physical Medicine at 843-868-3311.