Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ream and run: rehabilitation tips from the super stars #10, 11 and 12

We've invited some of the folks who have done a great job of their rehabilitation after a ream and run to share their tips.


I think the most important part of my recovery has been my frame of mind. I thought very hard about getting this surgery, and I knew one thing was for sure. The recovery is going to take me 2 years. The first thing you said to me after surgery was “I am sorry.” You explained that my shoulder was in such a deteriorated state that you had to make the “joint” extremely tight. That told me that I could expect possibly a longer recovery than many of the patients I have read about.

Ok---so, that’s it----I have 24 to 26 months of recovery time. I keep that in my head at all times. It’s important to understand where you are and where you are going. If I were to lie to myself, and expect a full recovery in 1 year or 16 months I would be setting myself up for disappointment. Knowing my timeframe has allowed me to be at peace with the negative effects of that---I will lose a lot of weight, I will lose muscle mass, my cardio will suffer, etc. But, all of that will come back, focus on why we are here---focus on getting the shoulder better. That has been my psyche.

Milestones I have reached during year 1:

1) Ran a 10k 7 months after surgery. That may not sound like much, since that has nothing to do with my shoulder. On the contrary---until months 4-5 I could not jog, I could not go up/down stairs without the pounding hurting my shoulder. I was not able to pump my arm as much as I should, but, I ran the entire race with zero pain.

2) Played tennis 6 months after surgery. I will not say it was all that pretty, but, it was legitimate. I was hitting the ball mostly with a two handed grip, but, often used a single hand grip effectively

3) Played in annual Turkey bowl 9 months after surgery. No doubt the guys took it easy on me! I was very timid when it came to extending my arms straight out to do any kind of blocking, but, I was able to make many catches, with extended arms. Again---not all that pretty, but, since I had to sit out of last year’s game because the pain prior to surgery was too much, I am happy.

4) Push-ups—Ok, these go on the good and bad list. I am able to do 30 push ups-with my knees down. That is on the good list, because as of 3 months ago, I was only able to 3.

5) Just finished round one (5 weeks) of a cardio/plyo program called T25. A lot of jumping, and moving of the arm. It’s not pretty, but, I am able to do the majority of the moves-including some very slow and controlled straight arm burpees .

Things I did not expect:

1) The pain/tightness in my bicep area is sometimes more limiting and painful than the shoulder. That has been much better lately.

2) Pushup’s/ planks---I was not expecting the pain to still be around at year one. There is still a burning sensation while doing these moves, but, that is also improving. Example---I just did a 2.5minute plank followed by 30 pushups. Sitting in the plank did not hurt the shoulder, but, when I release from the position it hurts.

3) Mornings! Ugh---mornings stink for me. I like to exercise in the am, but, right now, the arm is so sore, and fairly useless first thing in the morning. Once I shower and stretch it loosens up

4) Beware the handshake—a powerful handshake could still bring you to your knees

Goals for year 2:

1) Legitimate push ups

2) Legitimate throwing of a ball. I am able to throw now, but, it’s not pretty!

3) Adding in a weight training program

4) Continued ROM improvement

If I can give any advice to prospective patients:

Rehab stinks, both physically, and mentally----be stronger and overcome any negativity---it has no place in this arena

Famous words from the surgeon---“it’s about reps, not weight”. If you can only do 5lbs db presses, stick with that for as long as you need---what are you gaining from struggling with 10lbs? That is what got us in trouble in the first place---we start to overcompensate, form suffers, and for what? You are not gonna get jacked, buy pressing 10lbs anyway----relax, and take your time----you have 2 years!!

Use your arm---do not shy away from doing everyday things with it. I suffered from this for many months. I have found the NYC subway to be a great place to stretch---Getting dressed, brushing hair, teeth, showering, putting things back in refrigerator, etc. I sit on a train for 4 hours a day----and if I do not move the arm during that time it will freeze up----my mantra (ABS----Always Be Stretching)---I do many stretches at work---I have a band attached to my office door and use it throughout the day----Use the arm! That is why we went with Ream and Run and not the replacement….

I am not a success story yet! But, I will be.


# 11
I believe motivation and an ongoing commitment to physical therapy were key elements to my speedy recovery. As for my motivation: My goal was to return to playing senior softball, within 6 months following my surgery. I accomplished that goal. How? From the day of my surgery to the present time, I do my shoulder exercises every day. One very helpful aspect of my recovery was having someone available, from day one, to help me lift and stretch my arm into the position over my head. In the first several days following surgery, it’s quite difficult to do this stretching on your own, and therefore could be ignored. Because of this help, I was able to increase my range of motion much more quickly. After a couple of weeks, of physical therapy, I learned many more exercises and continue to perform them daily.

Thank you so much for helping me regain my strength and range of motion. My softball buddies thank you too!


I am so pleased with the procedure words cannot describe. I had asked you and your team to fix my shoulder so that I could return to a somewhat normal life. I have surpassed that by miles. I am totally pain free and have 95% of my flexibility. The 5% being the high middle of my back ( I bought a back scratcher).

The best advice I have for anyone that does the Ream and Run is to treat therapy and exercise like a good paying job. Stay on it relentlessly everyday and collect the rewards. I was told that if it hurts don’t do it. Unlike when I was in high school “no pain no gain” was the mantra. I did my exercises everyday as I was told and I could feel and see the results just as often. I am now playing catch with my son, playing hockey, riding snow mobiles, shoveling snow, raking the leaves and I even split over a cord of wood by hand from trees I cut down in our yard for our fireplace.

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