The most common causes for a shoulder replacement are degeneration, or osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fracture(s) of the bones of the shoulder. Once your shoulder replacement is performed, physical therapy will help you regain motion, strength, and function of your shoulder. You should be able to return to most of your previous activities that your shoulder pain had prevented you to do before your surgery.
The first few outpatient physical therapy treatments will focus on controlling pain and swelling. Ice and electrical stimulation treatments may help. Your therapist may also use massage and other types of hands-on treatments to ease muscle spasm and pain. Continue to use your shoulder sling as prescribed.
As the rehabilitation program evolves, more challenging exercises are chosen to safely advance the shoulder's strength and function.
Finally, a select group of exercises can be used to simulate day-to-day activities, like grooming your hair or getting dressed. Specific exercises may also be chosen to simulate work or hobby demands.
When your shoulder range of motion and strength have improved enough, you'll be able to gradually get back to normal activities. Ideally, you'll be able to do almost everything you did before. However, you may need to avoid heavy or repeated shoulder actions.
You may be involved in a progressive rehabilitation program for two to four months after surgery to ensure the best results from your artificial joint. In the first six weeks after surgery, you should expect to see your therapist two to three times a week. At that time, if everything is still going as planned, you may be able to advance to a home program. Then you will only check in with your therapist every few weeks.