[Clayart] shoulder surgery tips

John Post johnpost at wideopenwest.com
Fri Jul 1 23:51:49 EDT 2016

I know this thread was last week, but since I was traveling then, here's what I would like to add.

I had surgery on both of my shoulders within a 3 year span.
It was the worst three years of my life as it is very difficult to sleep when your shoulder hurts.
No sleep = a grouchy human being.
I needed surgery because of adhesive capsulitis (aka frozen shoulders).
I have type 1 diabetes. I got it when I was a kid and some literature states that people with diabetes
are more likely to develop adhesive capsulitis.

During physical therapy the therapists were very intent on getting my full range of motion back.
For me this led to lots of unnecessary pain as I spent lots of time in physical therapy stretching some
parts that I now think were too inflamed to stretch like that.

These are the things I learned that may be of help to others...

I asked my favorite physical therapist why hot showers felt good on my shoulders as well as ice packs.
His reply was "The hot showers relax the muscles while the ice packs reduce the swelling."
So both are beneficial.

For ice packs, I purchased some freezer packs. They are blue, sorta like Ziploc bags filled with flexible gel.
You put them in your freezer. You are supposed to wrap them in some cloth before putting them on your shoulder
or knee, but I just put it straight on my shoulder as I wanted it really cold! Those worked way better for me than the shoulder cuff that you fill with ice cold water. I purchased 5 of the freezer packs so I could swap them out all day long.

To help with sleep, I purchased a big stiff pillow that I could drape my shoulder over while I laid on my side. 
Picture it as spooning with a big pillow. This extra pillow supported my shoulder. Shoulders aren't ball and sockets and
so the arm tends to hang from the muscles/tendons. Think of this extra pillow as a way to support the shoulder and 
arm and take some pressure off of it.

One of the hardest things to do after surgery was put my belt through my pants. Instead of reaching behind my back to put
my belt on, I simply put my belt in my pants before putting them on - I can't remember how long it took me to figure out that
simple move - LOL.  

It was about 15 years ago that I had my surgery. I never regained my full range of motion but my shoulders have stopped hurting and I can do most of the things I want to do in life with the exception of scratch the middle of my own back.

One thing I learned from having diabetes is that everyone's illnesses and surgeries are different. So listen to your body.
If it hurts a hell of a lot, it probably isn't doing you any good to do that thing.

John Post

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