A Functional Medicine Practitioner Recovers from Shoulder Surgery:
Post-Op Weeks 2-3
This Blog post is part of a Series on Shoulder Surgery Recovery: Please see other articles.
I went back and forth on commenting on my recent shoulder surgery (labral repair, rotator cuff repair, A/C joint decompression). If you know me, attention is never my modus operandi, and using personal story is not something I come by comfortably. That being said, I recognize my story can be of use and powerful, and very little is out there on perspective of shoulder surgery recovery from someone who is not a Physical Therapist, Surgeon or Professional athlete. I hope this helps provide some insight into Post-Op Shoulder Surgery Recovery! I will update as the weeks and months go along.
Day 5 Post-Op Shoulder Surgery Recovery: What is shocking to me in general is the amount of ENERGY it takes to heal post surgery. Fatigue is not in my general repertoire (not a napper), and I am finding that even the simplest tasks take the wind out of my sails. Each day I try to increase my activity just slightly, so that I don’t completely lose life endurance, but that I also respect the healing process and rest. I took a nap today after an adventure in school clothes shopping at the Mall (yikes!), and felt amazing afterwards.
Day 6 Post-Op: As a full time physician it is hard to take time off last minute. I probably should have cancelled this day of patients as well, but alas….hindsight is always 20-20. I was able to see an entire day’s worth of patients and by the end of the day actually felt great!
Day 7 Post-Op: Physical Therapy started! It felt sooo good to have someone manually move and traction my shoulder around. I know I read everywhere that folks are in a lot of pain during PT, but I actually felt relieved to get some work done. I was able to start some very simple exercises at home as well. I will say SLEEP has not been awesome: wearing this big giant sling while sleeping is challenging and wakes me up constantly.
Week 2 Post-Op: I was back to work full time with patients for the entire 2nd week post op. I have to say, it is annoying to have to wear my sling constantly. Sleeping with a giant sling is probably what I dislike the most… However I have found that I am able to cook and eat without my sling…which feels good to let my arm take a breather. I do put my sling on for heavy cleaning (vacuuming, etc), and can’t really make my bed very efficiently.
Physical Therapy 2x/wk seems to be helping a ton with my Range of Motion! Having someone else’s hands on my shoulder to mobilize the tissues helps a ton. And doing the simple exercises does seem to keep the blood flowing and stabilizer muscles working. Of course I’m still taking my Turmeric capsules daily to help with the inflammation! And drinking my Detox Smoothie almost daily as well.
Week 3 Post-Op: Week 3 is honestly more of the same as Week 2. Working full time and still going to PT 2x/wk. I had my Post-Op appointment with my Surgeon at the beginning of Week 3 (stitches out), and was told that I was doing “almost too well”, and that I had to be really careful “not to overdo it, and to ask for help”…Ummm…those two things would pretty much be my ultimate weaknesses!! I’m going to take this as an opportunity to really try and keep things in moderation.
I was honestly surprised at how much more deep bone sensations I had this week. Yes, still painful…
I can feel where my Subscapularis insertion is; which now has a handy dandy screw into the humerus (arm bone). The surgeon also had to shorten my Clavicle by 7mm (1/4 inch) and I can really feel the pain around the Acromioclavicular joint. Especially if I try to lean on my left shoulder while sleeping. My labrum repair rarely tends to bother me, and I only seem to notice pain at the labral repair site when doing my PT exercises.
The fatigue of this whole experience is starting to really kick in, towards the end of this Week 3. Sound sleeping is impossible while wearing a sling. I’m not one to complain, but man, it’s hard to sleep on your back and only one side. I was cleared to sleep without a sling last night, which went decent, not great, but decent. No better on the constant waking up every time I accidentally want to move towards my Post-Op shoulder…let’s just hope my family can bear with me while I sludge through the mornings after tossing and turning for hours…
But check out this Range of Motion at Day 20!!
I hope this info has helped someone get through the first few days Post-Op Shoulder Surgery Recovery.
I will post more on Rehab, Recovery and Range of Motion as the week and months move on. I’m ready to surf, climb and snowboard again.