Rehabilitation in inoperable cases

Unless the doctor decides on the need for surgery, movement exercises should begin as pain subsides and be followed by muscle-strengthening exercises. Initially, the exercises are performed with the limb placed below the level of the shoulder. The program includes strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff tendons and the muscles of the shoulder girdle. Pain usually goes away within three weeks. In the second degree injuries, full recovery may take up to six weeks, and up to 12 weeks in the third degree injuries.

Postoperative rehabilitation

Your doctor may recommend wearing a sling/vest for several days after the procedure. A physical therapist or therapist will prepare the rehabilitation program. The first treatments are aimed at reducing pain and swelling. Applying ice packs and electrical stimulation can be helpful. A therapist may also use massage and other types of manual therapies to reduce muscle spasm and pain. Four weeks after the operation, the range of motion exercises begin, i.e. passive exercises. The shoulder is mobilized by the therapist, you can learn the exercises and practice on your own at home.

Active exercises are introduced six to eight weeks after surgery, giving the ligaments time to heal. These exercises allow the patient to move the shoulder joint using own muscle strength. You can start off with easy isometric exercises which activate the muscles without overloading the AC joint which is in the phase of healing.

After three months, more intensive rehabilitation program begins. The exercises focus on improving the endurance and control of the rotator cuff muscles and the muscles of the shoulder girdle. A therapist will help to strengthen the muscles that correctly center the head of the humerus in the socket. This will improve shoulder mobility.

Rehabilitation after surgical treatment of shoulder injuries may take some time. It requires patience and discipline, you should follow your individual therapeutic program. Some exercises are programmed in the same way as daily activities and your favorite sports. A therapist will help you to find the best way to perform tasks/exercises in order to avoid overloading. A therapist will teach you ways to avoid injuries in the future.

In the Szpital Zakonu Bonifratrów, physiotherapy is performed by a team of specialists:

Rafał Trąbka, PhD

Łukasz Gregulski, MSc


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