When you’re in need of a major orthopedic surgical procedure, one of the first questions that you will probably want to ask is how long it will take to get you back to your normal day-to-day activities. In fact, many patients even turn to the Internet before they visit their Los Angeles orthopedic doctor to get a general time frame for recovery times.
Have you tried this? If so, you probably haven’t found anything definitive because your recovery time after shoulder surgery will be unique on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Initial Recovery Period Like?
After undergoing any form of shoulder surgery, you can expect the initial recovery period to last for about one week or longer, depending upon the scope of your procedure. This first week is the time in which you can expect pain and discomfort, regardless of whether you underwent open surgery or less invasive methods like arthroscopy.
Pain medicine, ice, and rest is the best way in which you can get your recovery period started, especially when you’re trying to avoid re-injury or other common complications. Physical therapy typically does not start immediately, but gives the patient a bit of time to heal first.
Factors That Influence Your Recovery Period
While you might expect the first few weeks to be challenging, your next question will typically be, how long will recovery take after this initial timeframe? Of course, there are many different factors that can influence this estimate, including:
- Participation in Rehabilitation – Physical therapy and other rehabilitative methods are vital after undergoing any form of shoulder surgery. Although there are some patients who refuse to make time for rehabilitation, you can expedite your healing by doing so as it will help to restore strength and functionality to your shoulder much more quickly. Rehab does not just entail active and passive exercises. Ultrasound and electrical stimulation can facilitate pain relief during the post-op period.
- Pre-Existing Health Conditions – If you have a long medical history full of various complications, you can expect your recovery period after shoulder surgery to be longer. However, you can offset some of these effects by diligently following your doctor’s recommended care plan.
- Rest – While you might be in a hurry to get back to your normal life, you can actually prolong the ability to do so by rushing your recovery. Taking it easy is the best way to facilitate a quick healing period, especially if you have suffered from a severe injury.
Reduce Your Recovery Period as Much as Possible
Although some factors are not in your control when it comes to your recovery period, there are steps that you can take to reduce the length of time it takes you to heal. Minor shoulder injuries may take only a few weeks or a couple of months to heal, whereas major operations can leave you in recovery for a period of six months or longer. However, by remaining patient and committed to your recovery plan, you can get back to your normal life as quickly as possible.