Phillips Ambulatory Care Center: 10 Union Square East, Suite 3M, New York, New York 10003
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Rehabilitation Exercises

These are simple yet effective exercises for common injuries that focus on stretching and strengthening muscles and joints in positions that minimize stress on the injured tissues. These exercises should not be performed if they exacerbate your pain:

What is shoulder rehabilitation?

After shoulder surgery, it is crucial to restore the function and flexibility of the joint. Shoulder rehabilitation, conducted through a series of exercises, helps the newly repaired shoulder joint return to its normal function.  Shoulder rehabilitation improves flexibility, prevents stiffness of the joint, and helps to ensure proper healing following a surgical procedure.

Why is shoulder rehabilitation necessary?

Shoulder rehabilitation is a vital part of recovery after surgery. Exercises and rehabilitation can help to improve the range of motion of your joint, improve its flexibility and restore full function. Many of the exercises that are introduced following surgery are passive and gentle, gradually healing the joint and preventing it from becoming stiff. Once the joint has become more stable, many people will carry out a physical therapy program as part of their rehabilitation. The exercises used will help you to regain strength and the ability to carry out daily activities successfully without pain, including driving, lifting and exercising.

What are some examples of shoulder rehabilitation exercises?

After surgery, the exercises that you are instructed to do will depend mostly on the type of procedure performed and the nature of your injury. Examples of shoulder rehabilitation exercises include:

  • Pendulum exercises
  • Isometric shoulder exercises
  • Bouhler exercises
  • Rotation exercises
  • Extension exercises
  • Rowing exercises
  • Abduction exercises

The majority of exercises performed are designed for strengthening the joint. Many of these exercises can be done with or without the use of special equipment. Depending on the extent of your damage or injury, your doctor may refer you to a rehabilitation center with full access to equipment such as weights, resistance bands and kettle bells. For some conditions, rehabilitation can be done in the comfort of your home.

How long does shoulder rehabilitation take?

The length of rehabilitation will vary depending on your age, overall health, the extent of your injury and the type of surgery (if any) that has been performed. For the most part, people see progress in the strength and flexibility of their joint within weeks or months. Gentle and passive exercises are typically recommended for the first 2-3 weeks following surgery. Most post-operative rehabilitation programs last for at least 3-6 months.

For some, physical therapy programs can be for a duration of 3 to 6 months. It is important to note that during the rehabilitation period, restrictions to your activity level may be in place until your joint is properly healed. The exercises used during the rehabilitation period can be continued for a lifetime to help keep the joint flexible and strong.

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