Post-Operative Shoulder Physiotherapy

Post-Operative Shoulder Physiotherapy

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Post-Operative Shoulder Physiotherapy


Undergoing shoulder surgery is a significant step towards regaining your shoulder’s full functionality and strength. However, the surgery itself is just the beginning of your journey to recovery. Post-operative shoulder physiotherapy plays a crucial role in ensuring a successful outcome. This comprehensive guide, brought to you by PhysioWorks, delves into the importance of physiotherapy after various shoulder surgeries and outlines what patients can expect during their rehabilitation process.

The Importance of Post-Operative Physiotherapy

After shoulder surgery, such as rotator cuff repair, AC joint stabilisation, or shoulder replacement, physiotherapy becomes essential. It’s not just about quick recovery; it’s about achieving the best possible outcome. With a tailored rehabilitation program supervised by a skilled physiotherapist, patients often experience faster recovery and better overall outcomes.

Early Post-Operative Phase

Immediately following surgery, you’ll begin with basic post-operative exercises. These initial steps are critical for preventing complications such as stiffness or excessive scar tissue formation. During this phase, your hospital physiotherapist will focus on gentle exercises to maintain joint mobility and reduce swelling.

After your discharged from hospital is the most likely time that your PhysioWorks physiotherapist will take over your post-operative shoulder rehabilitation.

Post-Operative Shoulder Physiotherapy
Post-Operative Shoulder Physiotherapy

Progressive Physiotherapy Rehabilitation

As you recover, your physiotherapy program will evolve. Based on your surgeon’s recommendations and your progress, your physiotherapist will introduce more advanced exercises. These exercises aim to restore your range of motion, rebuild muscle strength, enhance flexibility, and improve overall shoulder function.

At the same time it is critical to protect your repaired tissue. Physiotherapist supervision is essential for the best outcome.

Specialised Procedures and Their Rehabilitation Approaches

Rotator Cuff Repair Recovery:

This involves specific exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles without overloading the repaired tendons.

Related article: Rotator Cuff Tears

AC Joint Surgery Rehabilitation:

Focuses on stabilising the shoulder girdle and regaining full shoulder function.

Related article: AC Joint Injury

Shoulder Stabilisation Procedures:

Tailored exercises to stabilise the shoulder and prevent recurrent dislocations.

Related articles: Shoulder Dislocation, Shoulder Instability.

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Recovery:

Emphasises on minimising pain and inflammation post-surgery, followed by gradual strength and mobility exercises.

SLAP Repair Physiotherapy:

Special attention is given to restore the stability of the shoulder joint and prevent further labral injuries.

Frozen Shoulder Post-Op Rehab:

Involves techniques to regain mobility and reduce shoulder capsule tightness.

Related articles: Frozen Shoulder.

Biceps Tenodesis Recovery Program:

Focuses on restoring bicep function and preventing strain on the repaired tendon.

Related articles: Biceps Tendinopathy.

Shoulder Fracture Post-Surgical Care:

Prioritises safe healing of the fracture while maintaining as much shoulder function as possible.

Related articles: Fractured Shoulder.

Pectoralis Major Surgery Rehabilitation:

Aims to rebuild chest and shoulder strength while protecting the repair site.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Therapy:

Custom exercises to adapt to the altered biomechanics of the shoulder.

Consulting a Physiotherapist

At PhysioWorks, our physiotherapists are well-versed in post-operative treatment protocols for various shoulder surgeries. We work closely with your surgeon to ensure that your rehabilitation plan is aligned with your specific surgical procedure.

The Latest in Shoulder Rehab Research

Recent studies emphasise the importance of early mobilisation and customised exercise programs post-surgery. Tailored exercises based on individual progress and surgical specifics have been shown to significantly improve recovery outcomes. Moreover, incorporating new techniques like aquatic therapy and virtual reality exercises are gaining traction for their effectiveness in enhancing range-of-motion and reducing pain.


Successful recovery from shoulder surgery isn’t just about the surgery itself; it’s equally about the post-operative care and physiotherapy that follows. Adhering to a physiotherapist-guided rehabilitation program ensures a quicker and more effective recovery, helping you return to your daily activities with improved shoulder function.

What to Do?

If you’ve undergone or are planning to undergo shoulder surgery, it’s crucial to have a post-operative physiotherapy plan in place. Contact PhysioWorks to discuss your specific surgery and get started on your customised post-operative shoulder rehabilitation plan. Remember, your recovery is our priority, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Shoulder Pain Causes

Common Injuries & Conditions

Understanding the common shoulder pain causes is crucial, as this discomfort can stem from various issues like rotator cuff injuries, arthritis, and frozen shoulder. Our guide offers a comprehensive exploration of these causes, providing insights into both acute and chronic conditions. It aims to equip you with knowledge and strategies for effective treatment and recovery, catering to those grappling with recent injuries or long-term pain. This resource is your go-to for navigating the complexities of shoulder pain and its management.

Shoulder Pain Causes
Shoulder Pain Causes

Rotator Cuff

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

  • Shoulder Impingement: A condition where shoulder tendons are pinched during arm movements, causing pain and limited mobility.
  • Shoulder Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac in the shoulder, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Swimmer’s Shoulder: An overuse injury common in swimmers, causing shoulder pain and impingement symptoms.

Shoulder Stiffness

Shoulder Instability

Acromioclavicular Joint

  • AC Joint Injury: Involves damage to the acromioclavicular joint, common in athletes and after falls.

Bone Conditions

Post-Operative Physiotherapy

Post-Operative Shoulder Rehabilitation: Essential for recovery, involving tailored exercises and therapies to regain strength and mobility after shoulder surgery.

  • Subacromial Decompression: A surgical procedure to alleviate shoulder impingement symptoms.
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy: Minimally invasive surgery for various shoulder conditions.
  • Acromioplasty: Surgery to reshape the acromion and relieve impingement.
  • Rotator Cuff Repair: Surgical repair of a torn rotator cuff.
  • SLAP Repair: Surgery to fix a specific type of labrum tear in the shoulder.
  • Biceps Tenodesis: Surgical procedure to reattach the biceps tendon.
  • Biceps Tenotomy: Involves cutting the biceps tendon to relieve pain.
  • Total Shoulder Replacement: Replacement of the shoulder joint with artificial components.

Muscle Conditions

Neck Arm Syndromes

Referred Pain: Pain in the shoulder that originates from another area of the body, such as the neck or spine.

  • Neck Arm Pain: Pain that originates in the neck and travels down to the arm and shoulder.
  • Cervical Radiculopathy: Occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated, leading to shoulder pain.
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: A condition where nerves or blood vessels between the collarbone and first rib are compressed, causing pain in the shoulder area.

Systemic Conditions

  • Fibromyalgia: A chronic condition characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, including in the shoulder.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune disorder that can cause joint pain and damage throughout the body, including the shoulders.

Shoulder Products & FAQs

Explore our range of shoulder products and find answers to frequently asked questions about shoulder pain and treatment options.

Shoulder Pain FAQs

Your Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Managing Shoulder Injuries

Welcome to the "Shoulder Pain FAQs" page, your go-to resource for understanding various aspects of shoulder pain, injuries, and how to manage them effectively. The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of movements, but it is also susceptible to various injuries and conditions that can cause discomfort and limitations in daily activities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common shoulder injuries, their causes, and how to identify and treat them. We'll also address frequently asked questions about specific shoulder conditions, providing you with valuable insights into your shoulder health.

shoulder pain guide
Shoulder Pain Guide

When Should You Worry About Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be caused by numerous factors, ranging from minor strains to more severe injuries. Knowing when to seek medical attention is crucial to prevent further damage and facilitate timely recovery.

Common Shoulder Injuries

We'll swing into the most prevalent shoulder injuries, shedding light on their causes, symptoms, and appropriate treatment options.

More info: Common Shoulder Injuries

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Understanding the root causes of shoulder pain is fundamental to addressing the issue effectively. We'll explore the various factors that can lead to shoulder discomfort and how to mitigate them.

More info: What Causes Shoulder Pain?

What is Your Scapulohumeral Rhythm?

The scapulohumeral rhythm plays a vital role in shoulder function and movement. We'll explain what it is and its significance in maintaining a healthy shoulder.

More info: What is Your Scapulohumeral Rhythm?

Rotator Cuff: An In-Depth Analysis

The rotator cuff is a critical group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. We'll dive into its anatomy, functions, and common problems associated with it.

More info: Rotator Cuff: An In-Depth Analysis

How Can You Tell If You Have Torn Your Rotator Cuff?

Identifying a torn rotator cuff can be challenging, but we'll provide you with essential signs to look out for and when to seek professional evaluation.

More info: How Can You Tell If You Have Torn Your Rotator Cuff?

Can You Diagnose A Torn Rotator Cuff Without An MRI?

Find out about diagnostic methods for a torn rotator cuff, including whether an MRI is always necessary for accurate diagnosis.

More info: Can You Diagnose A Torn Rotator Cuff Without An MRI?

Can You Lift Your Arm With A Rotator Cuff Tear?

Discover the limitations and challenges you may face if you have a torn rotator cuff and how to manage arm movement during the healing process.

More info: Can You Lift Your Arm With A Rotator Cuff Tear?

Will Your Shoulder Blade Hurt With A Torn Rotator Cuff?

Learn about the possible relationship between a torn rotator cuff and shoulder blade pain, and what it indicates about your shoulder health.

More info: Will Your Shoulder Blade Hurt With A Torn Rotator Cuff?

Will A Cortisone Injection Help A Torn Rotator Cuff?

Cortisone injections are sometimes used for shoulder pain, but their effectiveness in treating a torn rotator cuff is a point of interest we'll explore.

More info: Will A Cortisone Injection Help A Torn Rotator Cuff?

How Can You Make Your Rotator Cuff Heal Faster?

We'll provide practical tips and strategies to aid in the healing process of a torn rotator cuff and restore shoulder function more rapidly.

More info: How Can You Make Your Rotator Cuff Heal Faster?

Shoulder Bursitis: Understanding the Condition

What is shoulder bursitis, and how does it differ from other shoulder injuries? Get insights into this inflammatory condition and how to manage it.

More info: Shoulder Bursitis: Understanding the Condition

Shoulder Impingement: Causes and Solutions

Understand the concept of the shoulder impingement zone and the factors contributing to rotator cuff impingement and bursitis.

More info: Shoulder Impingement: Causes and Solutions

Frozen Shoulder: Overcoming the Stiffness

Discover how to unfreeze a frozen shoulder and regain a full range of motion through effective therapeutic approaches.

More info: Frozen Shoulder: Overcoming the Stiffness

Shoulder Dislocation/Instability: Seeking Stability

Explore the causes of shoulder dislocation and instability, and the fastest ways to promote healing and prevent future occurrences.

More info: Shoulder Dislocation/Instability: Seeking Stability

Can You Fix Shoulder Instability?

Find out about treatment options to address shoulder instability and regain stability in the joint.

More info: Can You Fix Shoulder Instability?

AC Joint: Identifying and Managing Injuries

Learn how to recognise an injured AC joint and what steps to take for proper care and recovery.

More info: AC Joint: Identifying and Managing Injuries

Swimmers Shoulder: Causes and Remedies

If you're a swimmer or engage in repetitive overhead activities, understanding the causes of swimmer's shoulder and how to prevent it is essential.

More info: Swimmers Shoulder: Causes and Remedies

We hope this comprehensive guide will prove invaluable in your journey to understand and manage shoulder pain and injuries. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice and treatment based on your specific condition. Let's dive into the world of shoulder health together!

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