Standard Shoulder Replacement Recovery Time

Ms. Osteo

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TSR done Friday AM. Home for lunch. Today is day 4 and I am tapering off the heavy meds. Best thing I did to prepare was to test drive lift chairs. The one we rented has let have longer sleep periods than before! A note for shoulder pre-op folks: your sling will go OVER your shirt so pick one that soft and smooth under the tight sling. Also, we bought walkie talkies so husband could sleep in bed with me on the first floor in my chair. Thanks to all for all the tips. Best to all for fast and full recovery.
 

djklaugh

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@Ms. Osteo Congratulations on your surgery! It's wonderful to hear you are home and doing well! Walkie-talkies = great idea :yes!:
 
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Ms. Osteo

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At the one week mark and had a total emotional meltdown. Pain+not much sleep+ didn’t arrange for enough help post-surgery. Hubble tired of being the caregiver. I’m sure it will get better but sure would like to shut off the waterworks. Embarrassing!
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Not sure how to post an update. But here goes via a reply : week 2 begins with easier time. No downtown office visit drama (over 2 hrs and very tiring). Shower, shampoo, a roll for breakfast. Turns out the meltdown yesterday predictable due to too-fast opioid withdrawal plus depressive effects of cytokines involved in healing of tissues. Same chemicals that make you feel lousy with flu are making you have headaches, fatigue, and no appetite. Down to sling only and only when I want it. Waist strap on immobilizer cut Into my gut and ribs-so nice to see it go. Week 2 so far beats week 1! Hang in fellow recovering folks!
 

Jaycey

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@Ms. Osteo your posting is just fine - in the right place. Great update! Sounds like you are doing very well. Handling all the challenges after shoulder can be tricky. One day at a time!
 
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Ms. Osteo

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No one mentioned the discomfort of the immobilizer. I could not take a full breath with it on and got scared Day 2 post-op when I started a painful deep cough. Turns out the complicated straps were removed and replaced wrong on my device while they were helping me dress in recovery. It took both my kids (a doctor and an engineer), my husband and me to get it configured right. Still uncomfortable, tight and unyielding, but not cutting off air! Today (1 week from surgery) first day I felt sort of normal and not like I was fighting influenza. I am now allowed to spend as much of home time out of the sling (which they released from the bulky belly pad at the office yesterday) as I want and just use it to sleep if there is the chance I will throw that arm around or harm it.

sleeping is quite hard; no comfortable position available and I am off the heavy meds thatdo the trick no matter what! Dying to try the bed but sure I will roll onto my arm. Any ideas?

thanks for support and so many good ideas. Stay positive everyone snd be safe.
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Almost 2 weeks update: Day 13 and coming off an excellent night: 3 2-3 h sleeps in bed propped up on pillows. I went back to middle of the night oxycodone so I don’t wake up in pain. I was hoping to be off the heavy stuff by now but that pain really rises up and clobbers you out of nowhere. Anyone else have experience getting off these drugs?? Tylenol works fine during the day. I don’t know what happens at night that causes sudden deep pain to start up. Thanks to all and take care over the holiday.
 

Jaycey

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I don’t know what happens at night that causes sudden deep pain to start up.
A bit too much activity maybe? Please don't stress about weaning off medication. When you start forgetting doses it is a sign you can drop the level. This is usually the midday dose.
 

djklaugh

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@Ms. Osteo With both of my shoulder surgeries I stayed o the heavy meds during the day for 3-4 weeks and then went to just using it at night time for another month or so. And as Jaycey said when I was forgetting doses it was easy to stop using them all together. If you still need them because of pain -- use them!
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Today marks 5 weeks since TSR. This week I broke down and bought a cold water circulating machine with shoulder attachment. Notes: a “bag of peas” as advised by my surgeon really isn’t adequate. Also, seems nothing for shoulders accounts for some of us being small! My machine has a two part pad; one for shoulder and one that goes around bicep. It is great for the sudden appearance of bicep pain. BUT the shoulder part could fit an NFL linebacker. I end up iced from chest to mid-back. I stick a washcloth between pad and my chest. On another point, I was given a pulley at one week to passively raise my operated arm. Using it seems to help the pain rather than cause it. I am already at full range that I can reach with the good hand pulling down. Anyway, I pull the arm up until I feel resistance, then back off a bit and take three breaths. Go up again a little higher, breathe, let down. Rinse, repeat. The pulley is jerky if used while sitting in a chair. So I reset it to stand close to the door and it is nice and smooth. The jerking was unsettling at first.
Has anyone else had a mild increase in pain after a few weeks? I am hoping nothing has gone wrong…
 

Jaycey

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@Ms. Osteo Sounds like you are doing really well with this recovery. I think I remember @Jamie mentioning the use of a pulley. Increasing your range of motion too quickly might be what is causing the pain. I've tagged Jamie to see if she has any input for you.
 

Jamie

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Hi, @Ms. Osteo. I'm glad to hear you're moving along with your recovery. Remember any joint replacement recovery involves a series of steps forward and backwards to get to the goal. It's never a straight line.

I did have a pulley that I started using while still in the hospital and continued throughout my recovery. Like you, I found it helpful not only for range of motion, but the gentle movement helped with pain. I was given Hydrocodone and used them day and night on a schedule for several weeks. Then I was able to switch to Tramadol and Tylenol for a few weeks and finally just Tylenol to sleep. I used large gel packs to ice and continued it for probably about a month.

Were you given a special sling to wear that has a pad at the waist to keep your arm in a neutral position? This was a critical part of my surgeon's recovery plan as he wanted me to do pretty much nothing with that arm for 6 weeks. It was especially comfortable to wear when I slept as it kept my arm in a good position all night long.

1639870368822.png

After a couple of weeks, my surgeon allowed me to be out of the sling during the day, if I promised to always support the arm on the arm of the couch, a pillow, or on my chair when at the computer. That lightening of the immobilization requirement was HUGE for me and it allowed me to retain my sanity. I live by myself and sometimes you need that second hand to do things even if you aren't really using your shoulder actively.
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Is it normal to be sailing along and suddenly have a couple days (nights, really) where no position is pain free enough to allow sleep? I am 9 weeks out and have been doing rehab and stretching (passive) and pulley daily since 6 weeks and nose pain is kicking up. My two go-to positions fit sleep work only a few minutes; not enough time to fall asleep. On only Tylenol and cold machine once a day. Has something gone wrong or is this the normal up/down ?? Thanks and stay safe every one. This shoulder recovery is plenty challenging without a pandemic paying a return visit!
 

Jaycey

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@Ms. Osteo Sounds like the normal up and down of joint replacement. Unfortunately recovery doesn't occur in a straight line. Has your activity level increased lately?

Here's a good illustration of recovery:
Recovery chart drawn.jpg


You will notice that I merged your newest post with your original recovery thread. For several reasons, we prefer that you only have one recovery thread:
  • That way, we have all your information in one place. This makes it easier to go back and review your history before providing advice.
  • If you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts and advice others have left for you in the old threads, and some information may be unnecessarily repeated
  • Having only one thread will act as a diary of your progress that you can look back on.
Please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here. If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we will get it changed for you.

If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.

Many members bookmark their thread in their computer browser, so they can find it when they log on.
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Great cartoon! Thanks. Seems about right. Yes, I started walking the other day and stopped taking ibuprofen at Christmas due to side effects. Feel like I should save the tramadol for when I really need a few more hours of sleep due to responsibilities next day. It helps find a sleep position. Thanks and sorry about the new thread. Still learning.
 

Jaycey

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stopped taking ibuprofen at Christmas due to side effects
I hear you on the side effects of ibuprofen. They can be nasty. You might want to ask your PCP if there is an alternative medication.

No worries on the thread. We just like to have all your info in one place if we advise you.
 
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Ms. Osteo

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Last night, at 10 weeks post-surgery, I reached out (both hands) and yanked my window open. Have done this every night for several weeks. This time, I felt a sharp, deep pain - kind of the gasp-inducing type. Got through the night back on heavy meds and on shoulder immobilizer and sitting up. This morning it feels like it did 6 weeks ago; aches even at rest and won’t tolerate even small movements that have seemed routine.
Anyone else experience this? Am I back to “square 4 weeks” in the healing process? Thanks for any thoughts or ideas.
 

Jaycey

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Yikes, this doesn't sound good. I would go back to square one and baby that shoulder for now. You have obviously done something to make it complain so loudly.

Let me tag my colleague @djklaugh who has first hand shoulder experience.
 

djklaugh

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@Ms. Osteo OUCH! I am so sorry to hear this happened to you. I agree with Jaycey - rest the shoulder for a few days - apply ice too. If it does not get feeling better then check in with your surgeon and/or PT folks.

Did the "ouch" place feel like it was actually in the shoulder or was it more in muscle area? Front, back or down the arm? You might have strained a muscle.
 

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