Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ream and run: rehabilitation tips from the super stars #15

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.

Here's #15:

For months 0-3, I did the exercises you gave me religiously. I would do the shoulder stretch using a table and then the rope and pulley stretches 6 times a day. Sleeping was a little rough but not bad. There were times where I would wake up with pain and just go do my stretches. Please warn future patients that each time you do your stretches it feels like you have never done them before. It can seem like your shoulder will never get better and that the painful stretches you just went through 2-3 hours earlier had no benefit. But day by day, things slowly get better. One thing that really helped me was doing exercises in the pool. The water gives you both support and resistance. I was able to do things in the pool with my shoulder that I could not do outside the pool. It served both to steadily strengthen my shoulder in many different planes of movement and to provide encouragement in knowing that one day I would have the same functionality outside the pool. At one month, I was finally seeing significant improvement. On the exact 3 month anniversary of my shoulder surgery, I was able to lift my arm completely vertical over my head for the first time.

Months 3-6 were also pretty difficult but I think I was pushing too hard. My goal was to be back to 90% by 6 months but since my range of motion had been so limited for so long, I think I should have been more patient. As a result, I had a couple of set-backs with rotator cuff muscle strains but the joint has never had an issue. At that point I had a couple of appointments with different physical therapist down here in So CA. I learned from both of them to be more patient with my progress. The soft tissue in my shoulder had atrophied significantly over the past 15 years and even though some of the stronger muscles of the shoulder were ready to go, I really had to focus on doing the rotator cuff muscles exercises (doing the colored rubber band stuff) and rotator cuff stretches.

I also would like you to re-enforce to prospective patients that they have to commit 100% to rehab. You actually have to like it and must be persistent! Interesting that many of your survey questions ask about depression since I can see going through rehab does have its ups and down, but if you keep a long term focus, the progress you make can definitely put a bounce in your step. Rehab can actually give one a purpose and a break from life’s sometime same old routine. I think it is helpful to set goals (3 month, 6 month, 12 month goals) and have a final picture in your mind of how you want things to be. Also, try to measure your progress through a journal or even a video journal.

The key is to be both patient and persistent! And “YES” it was well worth it for me. One of the best decisions in my life.


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