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Message to Ron

Hi Ron. I believe that I read that you had both of your shoulders replaced. I having my non dominant done next week. Any tips or suggestions for me? I tried to private message you but it said the form was outdated.
Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    The actual surgery went by pretty quickly and without any complications. I was in the hospital for 3 days, they started me on physical therapy day #1. That was hard, because my arm/shoulder just didnt want to move at all!. I was on Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) all the time which made the stay comfortable.

    Then the fun begins!

    I need to be brutally honest here, the therapy and recovery period for a total shoulder replacement with implants is hard. Very hard work. Several times a day, I would have to sit in a chair and my wife would move up my arm (by the elbow) and move it upward and in to my body as high as I could tolerate the pain. That lasted for about 40 minutes. Many times, I would just scream out and had to stop. This went on for 3 weeks at least 3 times a day. I hated every session.

    After that, I started in with Physical therapy, which was much easier than the home therapy. That lasted for 12 weeks.. Consisted a lot of stretching, arm behind by back, using colored rubber bands for strengthening. Then I graduated to Aqua therapy, which lasted about 3 weeks. All in all, about a month at home therapy, then about 4 weeks at a rehab center.

    After the rehab PT, I still did the home stretching at least twice a day, plus the exercises that gave me to come home with. I would say that I feel better after about 5 months, started to feel my shoulder doing ok about 12 months and at about 18 months things seem to go back into order.

    Hint #1: Find a pulley system that you could use over your door. I found it much easier than the home wife/arm/up torture. I used that for my second shoulder replacement and found I could use it 5 to 6 times a day, yes hurting, but in my mind more controllable.

    Now, for the rest of recovery:

    Eating/Drinking Since its your non-dominant shoulder, you should be fine

    Showering is real hard, first you need to be properly water proofed bandage. And you really can not wash yourself[/u], and you have to [u]have help washing your hair.

    Dressing is a nightmare. Again you need help putting almost everything on. From under garments to outer clothing.

    Personal Hygiene Brushing teeth, hair, ok, by using the toilet and wiping... No way. There are many arthritis sites that have a device called the bottom buddy. I STRONGLY suggest you purchase one of those, you can not do without it.

    I was amazed at just how much we all depend on our shoulders to do simple things. So, it was sort of an eye opening to me in terms of what I needed help with and what I just couldn't do I could have never done this myself. You need someone, not around the clock, but at the different times during the day.

    Prior to surgery, I had about 50% mobility and range of motion in my shoulder(s). I was told that after surgery, expect to reach around 75-80%. That was because of my age (back then 60) and because of all my previous spinal surgery. I worked hard, very
    hard during my recovery, more so than I diid with any other surgery. It paid off, I now have about 95% range of motion in my shoulders. My therapists are quite surprised and my doctor wants to use me as a poster shoulder child!

    Good luck. And always feel free to ask questions about this. The Private message facility should be back working again, but if
    you have problems, you can always reach me at rdilauro@veritashealth.com
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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