Rotator Cuff Recovery Is The Hardest!

Maybe I can help alleviate some fears..... I am a 44 yr old male....

I had rotator cuff surgery on 2/15/12, along with impingement syndrome and AC joint decompression. My Ortho Surgeon took 8 mm off my clavicle (collar bone). I was in pain the 1st day and that was it. I never took a pain pill. ICE, ICE, ICE & more ICE shunts the pain away and there is no need for anything stronger than Ibuprofen. I am 12 weeks post-op and I still ICE after PT.

I stayed in the sling that straps your arm down to your side and around your waist line for 4 weeks. Total velcro sling... misery! I didn't have the sling with the pillow. After 4 weeks, I was able to ditch the sling. After 1 week of ZERO arm movement, I started Passive ROM with my PT. I could not lift my arm at all. I was thinking.... "Man, I am gonna be disabled on my left arm." Hurt like Hades when the PT would move my arm too. Serious pain, but I have a "high" pain threshold.

I was like all other post-op patients... scared I was gonna re-tear what my ortho had repaired. The best comfort when you are just sitting around is to place a pillow under your arm and not wear the sling. My PT told me that and it made a world of difference. Also, you will not be able to lie down flat in a bed w/o major pain. That was when I experienced my most agony. The shoulder falls out of the shoulder girdle (socket) and it hurts. Sleep in the recliner. I am still sleeping in the recliner and it has been 12 weeks. I can lie flat now, but you roll over on your arm in your sleep in a bed and that causes unnecessary pain. You'll become best friends with your recliner.

Weeks 5-10 - I did strength exercises 1 to 2 lb weights. I jumped to 5 lbs at the end of week 10. My shoulder makes all kinds of cracking and crunching noise when exercising it, just like the guy that posted above. It also makes a funny squishing sound when you rub it or massage it sometimes, but a massage makes it feel great at week 10. According to my surgeon this is all normal and is primarily scar tissue inside being broken up.

Starting week 11 I jumped my weight usage up to 8 lbs and I can not go over 10 for at least 9 months. I do PT everyday twice a day. It is a boat load of exercises too. Takes approx. an hour each session.

I can raise my arm over my head standing up though and they said that was because I have been doing my PT fervently. Jumping on PT is of the utmost importance. If you slack, you'll lose use of your arm. Listen.... PT is the KEY! Do it and do it just like the PT tells you to do, otherwise you'll regret it. I know I will not be totally well before 10-12 months, but you have to mentally prep yourself for that before surgery. That is the key. Otherwise, you'll have surgery and end up with limited use of your arm.

The keys to a great recovery are:

ICE

Rest

PT EVERYDAY and EXACTLY like the PT tells ya

Sleep in the recliner

Wear the sling ( even though it is a pain)

Do NOT deviate from your rehab plan. (doing more will lengthen recover and possibly re-tear it)
crimsoncorner crimsoncorner
41-45, M
May 7, 2012