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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Meahl

Tips for Pre-Op and Post-Op Shoulder Surgery

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Before Surgery:

  1. Line up a spouse, adult child, friend, or nurse to help you for the first week or so--washing, eating, and keeping track of medications you will need. You can't do it alone.

  2. Consider purchasing the following items BEFORE surgery: travel neck pillow, wedge pillow, oversize tee shirts, slip-on sneakers, bed jacket

  3. I would buy or rent a recliner. The reason? You will need to sleep sitting up. A recliner might have helped me especially in the first two weeks.

  4. Make yourself some of your favorite foods before your surgery, espcially soups and stews. Freeze them in single serving containers.

  5. Print out a medication chart like this one: It is hard to keep track, especially if you already take a few daily meds anyway.


  1. Accept help from family and friends

  2. Take your narcotic pain medications, they will help you heal. STAY AHEAD of the pain. If you're not in pain, and don't need narcotics, then consider yourself lucky!

  3. Use a chart to track medications; you and your caregiver will forget.

  4. Take Colace, Miralax, Metamucil, anything to help keep your digestive system regular. If those products don't work, then Phillips Milk of Magnesia should do the trick.

  5. Drink tons of water and other fluids. No alcohol...ok, maybe just a beer.

  6. Walk every day. Stay active. Use a stationary bike.

  7. Regularly use shoulder ice packs for the pain, right up to before bedtime.

  8. Clarify, with your surgeon's office, what types of early at-home exercises you should do for your arm. And, how you should do them.

  9. Be patient; the healing is going to take time.

UPDATE: I am almost five weeks post-op and am going in for a Cortisone injection to try and pry open my arm. Although I have made progress going to PT 2x per week, my shoulder will not open past 150 degrees. At least I am sleeping fine with no pain.

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