Plagued by a Shoulder Injury? Maybe it’s Time for a Shoulder Arthroscopy
Young or old, with or without traumatic injury, active or sedentary, shoulder problems can affect us all. Without realising it, many of us have damaged our shoulders but have managed to contain the pain through conventional pain medication and have not needed to have surgery. For those that have persisted with chronic pain and no amount of medication has helped, shoulder arthroscopy might be the only option.
What is an Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is non-invasive surgery where a tiny camera called an arthroscope is inserted into the afflicted joint area to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your joint. Even though this is not considered as major surgery, it still requires a certain amount of time to completely heal and there are certain tasks that must be avoided after this type of surgery.
What to Do After a Shoulder Arthroscopy
Here is what you need to do after your surgery:
1) Know Your Limitations
First and foremost, do not remove your sling until you have consulted with your doctor and physiotherapist, as removing the sling too soon will cause more damage. You need to give your shoulder time to heal, and the sling should only be removed during recommended exercises. Physiotherapy is vital as the exercises provided will restore mobility to the joint – do not skip this. No heavy weight-bearing exercises must be done for up to 12 weeks after your arthroscopy. Doing weight-bearing exercises too soon will result in further injury. For those who are keen on fitness, stick to the recommended recovery schedule, especially if your fitness routine includes a lot of shoulder use.
2) Limit Your Movements
During recovery, it is important to avoid certain arm movements which include lifting objects, reaching behind your body, putting any weight on your shoulder or arm, and reaching above your head. Change your sleeping pattern as you will not be able to sleep on the side that has been operated on. Driving after surgery can cause persistent pain and must be avoided for up to two months after surgery.
3) Health Comes First
Do not smoke before and after the arthroscopy as this hampers the healing process. Nicotine slows down the body’s natural healing power of tissues and bones. It will not only decrease your recovery but can also lead to infections.
4) Don’t Rush Your Recovery
Even though you might be experiencing little or no pain, it is important to consult your doctor before resuming your normal activities. Any activity that can possibly put stress on the joint will increase your chances of reinjury.
Seek Advice from a Joint Specialist
Consulting a specialist before any form of surgery is necessary. The orthopaedic staff at Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria are on hand to provide you with all the necessary information needed and will allay any concerns you might have regarding your upcoming arthroscopy.