Physical Therapy For Shoulder Surgery


We have been working with Tony for the past 3 months after he underwent surgery for a left rotator cuff tear. Tony has had a great decrease in pain and he has been able to start olympic lifting at CrossFit again. He still has a few ranges of motion that are painful to get through, so we are finding the areas of tissue tension that are creating his shoulder pain and training him to use his shoulder around and through these positions. He has rapidly gained range of motion and strength in the shoulder despite how long shoulder surgery typically takes to recover from. We have been able to improve his mobility using PAILs and RAILs and at the same time Tony has been learning to control his end ranges of motion. Even once he fully returns to lifting we will need to manage the sticking points of his shoulder and train him to control 100% of his range of motion to keep him safe.

We use the same principles that are used in Major League Baseball, if an athlete cannot control his/her range of motion this will eventually lead to an injury and future problems. Especially after surgery it is critical to find areas that a joint cannot safely go and correct them. Regardless of the injury it is necessary to restore the muscle to its proper state. Rest is only a band-aid in most situations. If a muscle is damaged it will stay damaged even with rest, then when the athlete or office worker returns to activity the pain will return. We strive to restore the function of muscle so that the muscle can tolerate the forces put on it.

Most injuries are the result of a stressor/load exceeding the capacity of the muscle that load is placed on. Whether you try to deadlift 500 pounds when your muscles can only handle 300, or type on the computer for 60 hours a week when your wrists can only handle 40 hours the result is the same. As injuries accumulate the capacity of your body to handle those injuries will diminish. Over time, the same things you used to be able to do without pain can become painful simply because your body has lessened in its ability to tolerate said stresses. This is why we spend our days restoring muscles to their proper function. We increase the capacity of muscle to tolerate the forces that are placed on them.

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