Three physical therapy exercises to get your shoulder moving safely after rotator cuff surgery

Physical therapy exercises after rotator cuff surgery

Is your shoulder pain out of control? Has rotator cuff surgery been recommended to you as a form of treatment? If so, you may be looking for ways to prepare for your upcoming rotator cuff surgery and learn some physical therapy exercises to help you heal after your procedure. Let’s take a deeper dive into the logistics of preparing and healing after rotator cuff surgery. 

Can surgery help?

When it comes to the shoulder, even just a small tweak can cause some severe pain. The most common cause of shoulder pain is an injured rotator cuff. Such an injury can be caused by overuse, leading to tendinitis, bursitis or tears. In many cases, physical therapy can help relieve pain associated with rotator cuff injuries. 

Depending on your diagnosis, your physician or physical therapist may have recommended rotator cuff surgery to address your pain if physical therapy has not worked. 

Preparing for surgery

If you’re about to have rotator cuff surgery, consider asking your physical therapist or physician about pre-surgical rehabilitation. Patients who participate in pre-surgical rehabilitation programs tend to have shorter hospital stays and regain function faster, returning to their lives sooner. Here are some simple guidelines regarding pre-surgical rehab:

  • Start your program about six weeks prior to surgery.
  • Avoid irritating the existing injury by utilizing a slow progression.
  • Take a break if it hurts.

Exercises for after surgery

You may find yourself looking for ways to safely move your shoulder post-surgery. Physical therapy exercises can help you safely strengthen your rotator cuff after surgery. Check out these most recommended physical therapy exercises to do after rotator cuff surgery: 

  • Reaching exercises — While sitting in a chair, gently raise your arms over your head, straightening as much as you can comfortably. Alternate moving each arm forward, acting like you are reaching for something. 
  • Assisted shoulder elevation — You can try this exercise while sitting or standing. Begin by cupping your hands together, slowly lifting your arms toward your head. Try to keep your arms as straight as comfortably possible. After about 20 seconds, lower your arms back to the starting position.
  • Rotator cuff strength — While standing, place your arms slightly behind your back and clasp your hands together. Stretch your arms as much as is comfortably tolerated and slowly raise your arms.

If you’re ready to heal using physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery, reach out to us. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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