Can you overdo physical therapy after shoulder surgery?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Overdoing physical therapy after shoulder surgery can have negative consequences on your recovery. It is important to strike a balance between rest and exercise in order to promote healing and avoid exacerbating swelling or causing further damage.

In the first 48-72 hours following surgery, it is crucial to take it easy and avoid excessive movement. Moving too much and too soon can actually make the swelling worse and potentially delay the healing process. Your body needs time to recover from the surgery, and pushing yourself too hard during this initial period can lead to complications.

Furthermore, some implants used during shoulder surgery require a bit of time to integrate with your body. In these cases, your surgeon may specifically advise you to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity at the start. This is to ensure that the implant can properly bond and provide the desired stability and function.

Rest is an important aspect of the recovery process, but so is exercise. Once you have passed the initial rest period, your surgeon or physical therapist will guide you through a rehabilitation program tailored to your specific needs. This program will gradually introduce exercises and movements to help restore mobility, strength, and flexibility in your shoulder.

It is crucial to follow the guidance of your healthcare professionals and not push yourself too hard during physical therapy. Overdoing it can lead to increased pain, swelling, and potential setbacks in your recovery. It is important to listen to your body and communicate any concerns or discomfort to your healthcare team.

In my personal experience, I underwent shoulder surgery and had to go through a rehabilitation program. Initially, I was eager to regain full function and pushed myself too hard during physical therapy. This resulted in increased swelling and discomfort, which ultimately slowed down my recovery process. After discussing my concerns with my surgeon and physical therapist, we adjusted the intensity and frequency of my exercises, allowing for a more gradual and controlled progression. This approach ultimately led to better outcomes and a smoother recovery.

While it is important to engage in physical therapy after shoulder surgery, it is equally important to avoid overdoing it or starting too soon. Rest is crucial in the early stages of recovery, allowing for proper healing and integration of implants if applicable. Following the guidance of your healthcare team and gradually increasing the intensity of exercises will help ensure a successful recovery without unnecessary complications.