Conservative Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis
Extreme pain and stiffness are the main symptoms of a joint that needs to be repaired or replaced. When everyday activities become too difficult because of pain, your primary or orthopedic doctor may recommend replacement surgery. Before that point, other non-surgical options may be explored. In the video below, Arnot Health Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jared Smith talks about shoulder arthritis and non-surgical treatment options.
Shoulder Replacment: Is it right for you?
In this brief video, Arnot Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jared Smith discusses shoulder replacement surgery options for pain control and return of function.
Slap Tear Shoulder Injuries
In this brief video, Arnot Health Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jared Smith talks about "Slap Tear" injuries to the shoulder and how they can be surgically repaired.
Frequently Asked Questions After Shoulder Surgery
Is it normal to have swelling in my hand after my shoulder replacement surgery?
Yes. Gravity pulls swelling from your shoulder into the hand and fingers. Come out of the sling multiple times a day for gentle range of motion of the elbow and wrist. A small stress ball or sock can be used to squeeze the muscles and help pump the swelling back up the arm and to you heart.
How long should I stay in the sling?
Depending on the style of total shoulder you had you will usually be in the sling for about 6 weeks. Your doctor and therapist will teach you exercises to do post op as well as motions to avoid. When in a controlled environment, you may unstrap the sling to relieve the pressure on your neck. Some people will use a washcloth or towel under the neck strap to offload some of the pressure on your neck.
Will I set off a metal detector?
Previously, surgeons would issue cards stating that patients had a total joint replacement. In today's computer age, there is no way to verify these cards are official, so as a result, we no longer routinely hand them out. If you do set off a metal detector, just inform the guard / TSA agent of your total joint location and they might ask to see your surgical scar and use the hand wand.
How long is recovery from my shoulder replacement surgery?
With total joints you can expect to improve up to about one year post operatively. Most people are doing most of what they want to do at 3 months post op – however everyone recovers at different rates.
Do I need to worry about taking pain medications?
Absolutely. There are multiple side effects of narcotic pain medication. These medications are prescribed for immediate post-surgical pain and are utilized for brief periods of time. Although we try to minimize the length of time you are on these medications, there still is the risk of addiction. For this reason, we ask that you only take the medications when the other over-the-counter medications are not effective enough in managing your pain. We work with you to wean you off of the narcotics as soon as possible post operatively. These drugs can also cause constipation and nausea. We highly recommend adding a stool softener like Colace two times a day while you are on the narcotics, drinking lots of water, and eating a high fiber diet. It is also important to store these medications in a secure location to avoid the risk of anyone else gaining access to them.
Is it normal to have pain after the surgery?
Yes. Joint replacement is a major procedure, and post operative pain is to be expected. We utilize a "multi-modal" pain control approach for helping to keep you as comfortable as possible post operatively. Our goal is to make your pain tolerable, but there is no way to make it a pain-free experience. Most people can expect pain to be a "5" on a 1-10 pain scale. You can expect the surgical pain to rapidly improve over the first 2-4 weeks, and for many, it is far less severe than the pain caused by the deteriorating joint that was replaced.
Is it normal to have shortness of breath or chest pain after surgery?
No! If you develop either of these symptoms, call the office immediately at (607) 734-4110. If this shortness of breath or chest pain occurs during non-office hours, call 911 or go to the emergency room.