After your shoulder surgery, you should rest, ice and elevate by sitting or laying propped up on pillows or a recliner for the first 2 days after surgery. On the second day after surgery, you will start shoulder exercises. These exercises are designed to allow you to start your rehab after 48 hours of resting, icing and elevating. You will be provided a pulley at the hospital. At any time, you can take your arm out of the sling to move your elbow, wrist, and hand so they don’t get stiff. You should then perform the exercises listed below, based on your type of surgery. Remember to use ice after the exercises as a cool down. All exercises should be performed within the limits of MILD discomfort; any soreness after exercise should not last more than 3 hours after exercise. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise twice a day (morning and evening). The purpose of these exercises is to gain some gentle range of motion and reduce stiffness; do not overdo it and don’t push beyond mild discomfort.
Pendulums: Allow your arm to dangle away from your body by leaning over, stabilizing yourself with your “good” arm on a table or countertop. Swing your “bad” arm gently in 10 small clockwise motions, then counterclockwise motions 10 times. Use your torso to swing the arm, trying to sway your whole body. Do not use your shoulder muscles to move the arm. Perform 10 times, twice a day.
Shoulder Squeezes: Perform in sitting or standing position, by squeezing the shoulder blades together and down; do not raise the shoulder blades toward the ears. Perform 10 times, twice a day.
Pulley Exercise: Place the pulley over a door as instructed, and adjust the rope height. Perform in sitting or standing position. Face the door or pulley apparatus. Using the good arm, gently pull and assist the surgical arm upward in a slow steady fashion to shoulder height, and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly lower down. Perform 10 times, twice a day. Work toward reaching overhead as tolerated, only within the limits of comfort.