To recover from shoulder surgery, patients typically complete an at-home rehabilitation program that includes daily range-of-motion exercises, stretching and strength-building exercise routines that involve light to medium hand weights, according to WebMD. For most patients, recovery from shoulder surgery takes between six to eight weeks.
To ease the pain after shoulder surgery, patients can apply ice to the shoulder to reduce swelling, suggests OrthoInfo. Physicians typically prescribe medication to help patients manage pain. Sleeping or resting in a reclining chair or in an upright position also helps reduce shoulder pain.
Within one or two days after surgery, patients can begin a rehabilitation exercise program, states WebMD. Patients begin by flexing and stretching the wrist, elbow and hand. Some patients require the assistance of a physical therapist when starting range-of-motion exercises. These exercises help loosen shoulder joints and muscles and encourage movement. Within a month, patients add strengthening exercises to build muscle.
Although uncommon, complications from shoulder surgery include blood clots, nerve damage and infection, explains OrthoInfo. Depending on the type of surgical procedure, patients may return to work within a few days after surgery. Patients must maintain a daily rehabilitation routine until the shoulder heals to ensure a complete recovery.