Kimberlee, A huge welcome to the site for you. Such a generous offer to answer questions! Although you may regret it once they start flowing!
We do our best here, but it would be great to great your perspective on how to make the most of the recovery. What are the factors that the people that recover best seem to have in common? Everyone always wants to know how to get back in the game as soon as possible. What are your thoughts on when total recovery happens?
I was hoping you may be able to offer some advice.
To cut a long story short I had my SLAP repair op on the 5th following the discovery of a tear during a decompression op last year. 5 days in and everything seems good except for the advice or lack of it I was given following the surgery.
I felt pretty rough from the anesthetic when the surgeon came round for a chat 30 minutes after i woke up. He told me all went very well and that i would get an out patients appt in 6 weeks, in the meantime keep the sling on. That was it! A few hours later i was discharged with a bag of painkillers. To be honest i didnt ask any questions because i was still pretty out of it.
Following my decompression op i was given some excercises to do and i could gradually build up strength and do what i felt comfortable with. But since reading up on this op things look different this time. Do i do nothing for 6 weeks? or am i safe to do some of the arm swinging excercises that i did last time. I dont want to do any damage to the repair but i also dont want to slow up recovery by doing nothing. There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice floating around and the level of post op advice and care seems to vary a lot.
I was also surprised that i have a normal sling rather that one with a body strap. I tend not to use the operated arm at all except for holding things and to be honest i'm quite relieved i dont have the arm strapped to me.
I like your screen name - so appropriate to the recovering arm!
I was sent home with a normal sling without a body strap. The nurse at my surgeon's office had demonstrated some passive stretching exercises prior to the surgery, that I was to do post-op four times per day until my post-op appointment. At that appointment, about 5 days post-op, he removed the stitches and gave me additional stretching exercises. The goal is to prevent frozen shoulder syndrome while healing from the repair. Do you have a post-op appointment for suture removal?
If not, I suggest that you call your surgeon's office and ask to speak with the nurse or the doctor. Ask when you will get your stitches removed and if you should be stretching. Don't be afraid to speak up if you have questions. Part of that big bill you'll get is to provide post-op care.
Some people get the body strap sling, some don't. Totally seems to be up to the surgeon.
The motions you want to limit involve strength. Pretty much everyone has been given passive stretching to do 3 or 5 times daily. The pendulum exercises you speak of are at your surgeons disretion. I actually did them and was told at my ten day appointment that I shouldn't have been doing them.
I definately agree with Ashley that if you have questions regarding your specific recovery plan, call the doc!
Thanks for the replies. I called my surgeons secretary today and she advised pendulum excercises if they are possible. Anything else should wait till the 6 weeks post op appt when i meet the physio. She did not metion any stretching excercises. Are there any details of these on the web at all? I haven't found any after a quick search.
As i'm in the UK I'm an NHS patient so no big bills or insurance to worry about but I guess the downside of that is that you dont get as much contact.
Also no suture removal. Mine are dissolvable as they were with my previous decompression op so hopefully these will give me no problems.
I have to say apart from the 'day after' pain I have no major problems. A lack of sleep perhaps from pain after being in one position too long but overall it is not as bad as I thought it might be.
Thanks again for the comments, much appreciated. And thanks for a very useful site.