Right After Surgery
After surgery, you will take medications to ease discomfort. Rehabilitation will start right way, including having you up and moving as soon as possible. You may feel discomfort in your shoulder joint. This is normal. Let your nurse or doctor know if you are in pain so they can adjust your medication if needed.
A nurse of physiotherapist may teach you to do simple breathing exercises to help prevent congestion in your lungs while your activity level is reduced.
After surgery you will be using a removable sling, which is provided to limit the motion of your shoulder. Wear your sling as directed by your surgeon. You should remove the sling to gently and occasionally move your hand, wrist and elbow to reduce swelling. While you can remove the sling for this exercise a few times a day, it should remain on until it is no longer needed, as directed by your surgeon.
You can use your arm to help with getting dressed and eating, unless your doctor specifically tells you not to. You can also use the hand of your other arm to help move the affected arm during recovery.
Leaving the Hospital
When you are discharged from the hospital, your arm will remain in the sling. You’ll need to wear the sling from 2 to 4 weeks. If you have arthroscopic surgery, avoid lifting anything heavier than a glass of water for a few weeks. If you have any kind of joint replacement surgery, avoid lifting anything at all for a few weeks to allow the incision to heal and the joint to recover.
You may have some difficulty sleeping in the first week after surgery. It may be helpful to sleep in a reclined position. This can help reduce pain from lying flat on your back. You will still need to wear your sling when you sleep.
Continuing your rehabilitation exercise program is essential to get your shoulder strength and movement back. For replacement surgery, you’ll learn how to use a pulley device to help lift your arm and keep it flexible during recovery. This device will ensure you don’t use your shoulder muscles as they heal.