I was getting ready for my shoulder surgery?

The COVID-19 virus has really thrown us all for a loop. As a Physical Therapist, we are trying to do what we can for our patients, while staying safe ourselves.

What if you were scheduled for surgery during this time and now it is cancelled? You were looking forward to the day you returned back to a pain free life, but now your surgery date is unknown! While you are waiting, here are some tips to try to alleviate the pain in preparation for surgery.

Range of Motion

Keep your range of motion as best as you can:

  1. Lie on your back and use a golf club, broom handle, or a cane and lift it overhead. Use your good arm to help your bad arm. Extend upward ONLY as far as your pain will allow and lower back down (Try 10 reps and 2-3 sets)
  2. Next, use the cane and rotate your arm to the side and back to stretch the front of your shoulder (Try 10 reps and 2-3 sets)
  3. Lastly and this one is slightly; use your good arm and attempt to help the arm that hurts by reaching up behind your back. Proceed slowly and go ONLY as far as you can, go to the point of pain, and back down (Try 3 sets of 10 reps)

Strength

  1. You need to work on keeping your scapular muscles strong and your posture straight/good (as straight as you can)
  2. While sitting or standing squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then relax (Try this 10 times and 3 sets)
  3. Isometrics on the wall: most patients having surgery experience pain with any movement, so getting stronger may be challenging. Gentle isometrics can be the answer. Gently pushing into/against the wall can be helpful. Push very gently forward, into the wall and hold for 3-4 seconds and repeat 8 times. You can do this in multiple directions as well. Pushing out to the side and pushing in as well

Pain

Pain is more than likely the main reason for having surgery. Here are a few movements that you can try while you are waiting for your procedure:

  1. Heat or Ice: Either may work. If you don’t have access to ice, use frozen peas or corn, either can be an excellent substitute. If you don’t have access to heat, taking a warm shower which can help
  2. Take some pressure off your joint by holding your elbow up a bit while it is at your side. Placing/putting your elbow on the table may help and if your shoulder does not like this, it may like distractions. You may have to pull down on your elbow and increase space within your shoulder to take some pressure off

We hope these suggestions help. If you need clarification regarding any of the suggestions or movements please send us an email at clinic@proptgroup.com; you don’t need to be a current patient to ask questions or for help.

Stay healthy and take care,

Dave Nissenbaum MPT, MA, LAT, OCS

PRO Physical Therapy

Cross Plains: (608) 413.0550 | Middleton: (608) 841.1290

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Dave Playing Pickleball

I know this isn’t a basketball image, but it’s a picture of me as a practicing “aging athlete” so I thought it’d do!

As an aging athlete, I know what it is like to have aches and pains. I exercise regularly so I’m used to some daily discomfort. But this time was different. Here’s what happens when the PT gets injured.

I was playing basketball with some friends and our kids recently while we were out of town. I saw a 7-foot tall hoop, and knew I had to try to dunk the ball. I took off on 2 feet, touched the rim, and then felt the worst thing I have ever felt in my life… my quad rip. After I landed, I knew exactly what I had done. Immediately, I felt for my quad tendon, because if it was torn I’d have to have surgery.

This scenario is a common thing that happens to us as we age. People get injured all the time. What I want to talk about is how I managed this. After an injury, getting into Physical Therapy RIGHT AWAY is one of the most important things you can do. I was out of town when this happened, but needed to be treated right away. Since this was a musculoskeletal injury, it was right up my alley to treat. I didn’t think there was any need to go a doctor. That being said, you may often feel the need to go to a doctor for an overexertion injury like this. That’s ok too! This hurt more than anything I’d ever done before. This time, however, I decided that I could manage it myself.

First, I used ice (right away) for 20 min on, 20 min off. I did this three different times that first night. Icing with my leg bent could keep it from scarring too much. The next thing I needed was some compression. I went to the pharmacy to find an ace bandage and crutches. They did not have an ace bandage so instead I bought some Coban Wrap. Compression can help keep the bleeding to a minimum. I used a sock and wrapped my leg with Coban Wrap.

Two days later, I returned home and started to work on it. I did a lot of soft tissue work, kept using ice, taped it, used pulsed ultrasound, and I even dry needled myself (please don’t try that at home)!

I’m about two weeks out and doing better. I’m not there yet. I can walk and bend my knee but still can’t go up or down steps very well. However, the daily treatment has helped immensely. I know that this injury may take 8 weeks to fully heal, but if not for early intervention I would be in trouble.

So, what is the morale of this story? Get in to see a Physical Therapist RIGHT AWAY after an injury. We have been through this, and we are here to help!

David NissenbaumStay well and happy healing,
Dave