Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I had some shoulder surgery three weeks ago. I am doing my exercises faithfully, but there’s still quite a bit of pain. Is this normal?


Pain is a normal sign at certain points in the recovery process. This is most common during the early phase after an operation. Drugs to control pain and inflammation are used from one to three weeks after surgery. At the same time, physical therapy to stretch and move the tissue is begun. The therapist will include exercises to retrain the muscles, restore normal posture, and begin motion. The program is progressed from three to six weeks postop. Throughout this time, it’s best to complete the exercises without pain. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Either the exercise is being done too soon or improperly. It’s better to do a little often than doing a lot occasionally. Keep at it with the help of your therapist. Quality is more important than quantity. Good muscle control comes first before the ability to do many repetitions. Stop when the muscle gets tired. You’ll know you’ve reached this point when the muscle starts to shake or you can’t go through the same motion as during the first few repetitions. Benjamin D. Rubin, MD, and W. Ben Kibler, MD. Fundamental Principles of Shoulder Rehabilitation: Conservative to Postoperative Management. In Arthroscopy. November/December 2002. Vol. 18. No. 9. Pp. 29-39.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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