Pending shoulder replacement

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Hi I'm due to have my right shoulder replacement 4 weeks today and nerves are beginning to kick in, don't know why as iv had a hip replacement and 2 foot ops within the last 18 months. Can anyone tel me what to expect/how recovery is going and what you would suggest as appropriate or easiest clothing to wear following the op. Also is it adviseable to buy one if those v shaped pillows for support after the op. I'm a 53 year old female rheumatoid arthritis sufferer. Thanks in advance

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  • Posted

    Ive had 2. Ask for a nerve block and make sure they give you plenty of pain meds. Im not trying to scare you but as a nurse i dont BS people. Its very painful but it does get better. 6 weeks in a sling and mandatory PT. Im almost 5 mos post op n i still go to PT. Pain has subsided to just an occasional annoyance but the 1st 2 months were hell. Ice is your friend. I also took ROBAXIN (muscle relaxer) which helped alot. You wont be on these meds forever so dont worry about addiction. That whole thing has caused people to suffer needlessly because MD's are scared to prescribe. Youll need meds to reduce pain which in turn allows you to rest which allows you to heal.

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    • Posted

      Thanks v much for the help, pretty much what I'm expecting tbh, thanks for the heads up. I'm generally pretty good with pain tolerance due to the rheumatoid, so preparing myself as had few horror stories

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  • Posted

    I’m copying and pasting below some of what I posted in another thread explaining about my experience. Perhaps some of it is useful. In regards to your question about clothing, I would suggest getting some loose and easy to put-on button-up shirts. You will have difficulty putting on a shirt over your head for a few weeks. Also, some loose exercise pants with elastic waist will be easiest to put on and take off.

    I had a full rotator cuff tendon detachment and had it reconnected to the bone. I had to wear a sling for three months and I was in extreme pain for about the first 8 weeks. I was using ice for many months and pain killers for at least a couple of months. Lots of rehab exercises too. I am about 14 months post surgery now and still fight with a bit of stiffness at times, still have a bit of pain from certain movements, and constantly have to keep moving and exercising the shoulder. But full strength and range of motion has returned.

    A lot of people have to initially sleep in a reclining chair for a period of time because it is too painful lying in bed. Luckily I was able to sleep on my side after about 3 weeks using a 5 pillow system I developed. But other people, depending on the type of surgery may not have to wear a sling for so long, nor will they have as much pain as I did. My tendon was fully detached from the bone by about 2 cm, which is considered to be a moderate tear.

    At first you will probably only be able to sleep on your back for the first month or so after surgery. So either in a reclining chair (as I mentioned) or with pillows on the bed under your back putting you in a partially upright position and with pillows under your arm to keep it raised up so it doesn’t fall lower than the elevation of your heart. Keeping your arm elevated above your heart will be important to reducing inflammation and pain as it will help increase blood flow to the area. It will also probably be the only position you will be able to lie in initially (post-surgery) without making the pain even worse. In the first few weeks after surgery the pain was so severe I was only able to get a few hours sleep at a time before the pain eventually woke me up. Basically I would pass out from exhaustion and then get a few hours sleep. That was the only way I could fall asleep. Shoulder surgery recovery can be the most painful of all the soft tissue surgeries because it is the only joint in the body that can move 360 degrees and there is a lot of soft tissue there that is involved. Recovery is also much slower compared to knees and elbows for example. Anyway, once the surgery is over things will slowly start to improve. There were times I had my doubts I would be much better off given the amount of pain and immobility I had after surgery. I also lost a lot of weight and muscle from lying around for so long doing nothing. I couldn’t even dress myself initially because I had use of only one hand. It was very depressing and it all had an effect on my psyche and emotions for a while too. But slowly I got better and got my weight, muscle, strength, and life back. There will be a lot of rehab and physical therapy involved and needing to be done both at home and at a clinic post surgery as well, so be prepared for that. The faster you can work to get strength back in the muscles around the joint and tendons, then the sooner mobility will be restored and the pain will be relived. The rehab can be painful too, and there may be an urge to avoid some of it at times because it increases short term pain, but don’t neglect the rehab. It’s good because it will get you out of the house when you go to physical therapy and it’s the only way to get strength back and for the pain to eventually go away. But my surgery was a success and I’m sure yours will be too. Just hang in there and best wishes with your surgery and recovery.

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    • Posted

      Thanks very much for your response, iv heard from a friend too that its more severe than my past hip replacement so I'm kinda preparing myself to have to depend on my meds more. Thanks for taking the time to reply,.... 3 wks and 6 days and counting 🙄🙄

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