I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning that two years ago I was just recovering from my first shoulder operation. I must say that I am VERY pleased with the range of movement I now have. Although I do still have some discomfort in that shoulder, I put that down to having a second operation four weeks later after I managed to tear the rotor cuff tendon.
If anyone is having doubts about a replacement shoulder then just ask yourself – how much longer you can carry on without the surgery? Yes it’s a long road to recovery but it’s so worth it when you can finally do those basic things again.
Doug Petersen said:
Just found your blog and Im ordering your book. I’m about to have shoulder replacement #1 (Jan 29th) in Detroit Michigan. My left non-dominant shoulder is getting bad as well so I might have to have that one done as well down the road. I look forward to reading your posts as I have a significant amount of fear of the unknown ahead. I’m a very fit 52 year old man who destroyed my shoulders from exercise overuse not necessarily a single even injury. Thanks again for your guidance.
Hi Doug I understand exactly how you feel, i felt exactly the same two years ago before my first replacement. I looked online for insight as to what to expect but found nothing, which I why I started my blog in the first place. I’m amazed and very proud of how many people have found it useful.
If you have any questions at anytime before or after your surgery I’m only to happy to email. Good luck with your surgery ☺
I do have a few questions….
1. Im very fit otherwise and still do 90 min hot yoga daily, albeit struggling with anything shoulder related. How long really should I anticipate going back to any even slightly aggressive for that shoulder if im very diligent with my therapy?
2. I’ve read that people are given a nerve block option prior to surgery if being fully anesthetized, is it the best choice to ask for the nerve block?
3. What were the three most difficult tasks the 2-3 weeks post surgery?
4. Did you sleep in a bed or in a recliner?
5. How much help did you need week one post surgery?
6. How long after surgery could you drive?
7. How constipated were you post surgery?
8. And finally im having surgery 4 hours away from my home, and my fiancé’ is planning to drive me home 24-36 hours post surgery, is that practical?
9. Oh, and one more question, did you have any concern that your shoulders were so bad that the surgeon may decide to do a reverse? and if so did you discuss it prior?
Thanks you so much for your time responding here.
1. Everyone is different, but I guess the fitter you are before the op then the quicker the recovery would be – take guidance from your physiotherapist. However PLEASE BE CAREFUL, after 4 weeks my shoulder felt so good I forgot I’d had surgery, flicked the duvet cover and tore the rotor-cuff tendon – meaning I had to start my recovery all over again (see blog post).
2. I suppose this depends on how your surgeon operates. Personally, I only had a nerve block and stayed conscious for both replacements as this was my choice. However, tearing the rotor-cuff tendon after 4 weeks meant an emergency operation which I had to have under general anaesthetic – I found it took me longer to become fully awake after that operation and pain seemed to be worse. I suppose if you have both then it may be more beneficial – its your choice, but discuss with your surgeon.
3. Going to the loo, pulling up pants, wiping etc – Getting dressed – Getting in and out of bed
4. Personally, I slept in a bed as I had no other option available, however I know that other people have found a recliner more comfortable. I put a pillow under my operated side and slept on my back, but I guess it depends on the recliner which is more comfortable for you.
5. I needed quite a lot of help first week, washing, dressing and getting meals
6. As I have never been able to drive I have asked a few people who have had the surgery and it seems to be between three and six weeks, although all of the replies came from ladies who drive automatic cars. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for advice.
7. Not at all as far as I can remember
8. I did a journey of the same length on Christmas Day – the day after surgery to repair a torn rotor-cuff tendon – (see blog post). Everyone is different however you should not have the seat beat over your operated shoulder, so you may need to sit in the back of the car, put a pillow under your elbow when travelling for extra stability.
9. I didn’t have this concern however any concerns you have personally should be discussed with your surgeon prior to your surgery.
Marlene Helen Flores said:
Great blog. Thank you for this. Who was your Dr? Was it the one with the rod put into your arm? I’m afraid of that one. You are brave to have been awake. Crazy! How do l get your book and the name of it. Plz email me or text me at 626 4822547
Hello, thank you for your kind words. I live in the UK – where are you? The part which was replaced looks a bit like a mushroom – some have longer stems but they try to avoid these if they can as they are more tricky to replace, you can see the xrays on the Gallery page. My book is available to buy online from Amazon in both print and Kindle format. If you click on the tab “First The Blog and Now to Print” then you can click on the book title and this will take you to the Amazon site.
Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any further help – do you have surgery pending?
I had my right shoulder replacement (total) done on 11-20-17. I’ve gone through PT every week since week two. I’m diligent about doing my exercises every single day. I’m still in pain but better when I don’t do rough positions. I can get it above my head to 123 degrees. It helps to use a stick pushed over my head on a bed. I can’t just lift my arm to get it higher as it hurts my lower back. I’ve had many lower back surgeries. Also is painful going across my body like to the other arm pit. Will this ever not be stiff? I never feel like they are being honest and telling me how much I will really be able to lift it. I’m trying so hard. It’s discouraging. The left shoulder needs a total replacement too. The surgeon said I couldn’t for one year.
It can be very discouraging when progress is so slow but eventually you WILL get better, you just need to carry on with the exercises and try not to push yourself too hard. Each procedure is unique so factors such as how bad it was in the first place, age, how the procedure was performed etc, will all impact on the rate of recovery. If you are worried do speak to your consultant I’m sure they will be happy to explain things too you. If you are in pain then it may be helpful tp take some pain relief half an hour before you do your exercises. Best wishes
I had a right shoulder replacement 2/22/18 I drove in 2 weeks, week 7 i did 3 nursing assessments. this week I am set back in more pain, will see the doc tomorrow. I am in good physical shape for an older gal, getting depressed, on week 8. Now I have pain in b even just did umbilical stem cells. there is nothing more i can do, pain in both shoulders, sciatic pain for almost 4 months. I hope I did not damage my shoulder but see the surgeon tomorrow. The physical therapist who did my eval before surgery said, it was a long, boring, depressing recovery!!!!!!!!!!
Hi Leila, I do hope you haven’t damaged your shoulder and that you receive positive news from your surgeon. I’m not at all impressed with the attitude of your physical therapist though, they should be encouraging you in your recovery instead of making unhelpful negative comments. I only hope you don’t need further surgery, however if you do then you must take things more slowly next time – I learnt this the hard way and ended up having a torn rotor cuff tendon repaired on Christmas Eve.
Let me know how you get on. Good luck
I had only seen that pysical therpist once. Because of him I got netflix for my tV. That was good. My surgeon said I did not do anything to hurt my shoulder. That my rotator cuff was slow to “wake up” will have that electrical thing or ultrasound done at PT to help it heal from the surgery. , meanwhile slow it down. My surgeon had the same surgery. He sid, he felt that he did not think he would ever get better. He felt the same way, but he got better and so will I. He eliminated one exercise.
Hi, I really appreciate the fact that you shared your story. I have been very athletic all my life and I am terrified of getting shoulder replacement surgery. I am 56 and I am in a lot of pain, I’m very frustrated I do yoga exercise have taken every vitamin or anything that’s in thing to to do with an anti-inflammatory effect but yet my condition gets worse. If you could share more details about your experience I would appreciate that I’m also a psychiatric nurse not that that really means anything except for I’m really trying to wrap my head around this and this is the one thing that I can’t wrap my head around
Hi Barry I understand how you feel, I was 51 when I had my first replacement and at that time didn’t even know they did such a thing! Yes I was terrified but it got to the point where I could stand the pain no longer. I’d searched the internet for insight but found nothing, so I started my blog at the beginning, before I even had the surgery, diarising my thoughts and feelings each day during my recovery. I then converted it into a book which I found really useful when I had my second shoulder replaced a year later.
The fact you have always been fit should help in your recovery, as long as you don’t rush it. I sustained a rotor cuff tendon tear four weeks after my first op by simply flicking the duvet cover. Hopefully you will find all your answers in my blog but if you have anything you wish to ask me please feel free to contact me. Do you have a date for surgery?
I can understand any fear of surgery. I did not wait til I was in a lot of pain. i knew if I waited to ose more strength etc I’d take longer healing. I will be better once the rotator cuff starts to heal from what the surgeon did to it. it’s one day at a time. The block was great. I had no pain for 24 hours or longer, some people 3 days!! My doc has a pretty inclusive pain regamin to follow. Lots of home care. since it’s a slow to get better type surgery I get depressed here and there. start week 9 Friday. I’ll be a lot better by summer, that was my plan. Other than that I have had stem cells to help 3 other joints repair themselves..
would you mind explaining the procedure for the stems cells and how it is helping your other joints. Also where the procedure was done if you dont mind sharing.Maybe Im biased but of out of all the joint replacement surgery it seems the shoulder replacement is the least effective. I have recently found some research where they are using artificial cartlilage on toe joints.Small step but in the right direction
Barry, I had the stem cells done in Portsmouth nH, 1 CC injected in left shoulder, both knees and 1 cc IV. Have they helped, I don’t know. Must be doing something????????
It’s July!!!!!!!!!!! Finally. It took 4 months to feel normal with my shoulders. The left shoulder started to act up and cause pain because I had to use it so much after the right shoulder surgery 2/22/18. I had to stop my exercises for a while cause I had cataract surgery. My right shoulder is great, when I do more stretching or strength exercises, it’ll be sore but I feel normal. Left shoulder is better getting a break from thinking it is the only shoulder😀 Just have to get used to the aging process and do my best. My PT was Manual integrative therapy. I like that.
Cyndi Heavener said:
I am 3 weeks. I do my exercise and let my arm out of sling to strech but I feel like I was over confident and did extra movement, well, only what my arm would allow. But now I have a dole ache. I am hoping if I keep it in the cage it will get back to a better comfort. Question. Am I still going to feel pain? Loke in the armpit area and top muscles?
Hi Cyndi, please be careful it’s so easy to be over confident at this stage. You can expect to have some pain and aching for some time yet but take things easy and only do what you have been advised to do and I’m sure you will imp improve soon. Good luck 😊
Hi Leila ,
I just want to first thank you for this blog and your book. I just had a shoulder replacement (right) about 2 weeks ago. I will have to have my left shoulder replaced soon afterwards. I was a body builder and a retired police sergeant. I NEVER thought I would be faced with this . I just turned 58. I get very depressed but keep it to myself . How long about does it take that your shoulder feels “normal” or does it ever? Will I ever be able to return to the gym? How long did you have to wait to get your second shoulder replace surgery? Also how do you feel your arms look where the bicep is cut? Thanks for the hope you have given me!