Living with shoulder pain can be very uncomfortable or even quite painful. A bad shoulder can also reduce your range of motion and prevent you from being able to complete day to day tasks. If your shoulder joint is very unstable, an orthopedic surgery may suggest shoulder replacement surgery to correct the problem. Shoulder replacement surgery has a good success rate, but there is a recovery period after the procedure. If an orthopedic surgeon has suggested shoulder replacement surgery, continue reading to learn more about the recovery process.
Know That Your Arm Will be in a Sling
After the shoulder replacement surgery is completed, the arm on the side that was operated on will be placed in a sling. It is important to keep your arm in a sling throughout the day, as the sling helps keep your arm immobilized and provides stability to your new shoulder joint that is recovering. Since you will be wearing a sling, it is a good idea to either prepare your home before the surgery or have a friend or family member available to help you while you are recovering.
Be Prepared for Sleeping in an Alternate Area
Even when wearing a sling, it is not uncommon for people recovering from shoulder replacement surgery to experience discomfort when laying flat on their bed. If you notice that sleeping flat on your bed causes pain, try sleeping somewhere else in your home. You may want to consider sleeping in a reclining chair or on a sofa that reclines. Doing so will help you get much-needed rest without having to worry about pain or discomfort.
Pay Attention to Your Incision
In the days and weeks following your shoulder replacement, it is important to pay attention to your surgical incision as it heals. You will need to keep the incision clean and covered with a dressing at all times. A little bit of bleeding around the incision is not abnormal, but if you notice extensive swelling and redness, or experience extreme pain or spike a fever, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Attend Physical Therapy
A very important part of recovering from shoulder replacement is attending physical therapy. During physical therapy sessions, your physical therapist will guide you through a number of different exercises. These exercises are very important for stabilizing the shoulder joint, as well as improving range of motion and shoulder strength.