A shoulder is packed with muscles and tendons, holding the top of the arm in place. These muscles and tendons are small yet vital, facilitating the range of motion in your shoulder. Over time, they may endure strains or tears after rigorous sports, athletics, and fitness. As a result, shoulder injuries are common.
Your Shoulder Injury Recovery
As uncomfortable as a shoulder injury might be, the recovery process shouldn’t be rushed. Listen to your chiropractor and follow all the recommendations. Even if you’re not in any significant pain, you may still be in recovery. It won’t help anyone if you speed through recovery and reinjure yourself because you thought you were fully healed. In reality, you probably still needed a few weeks or months for rehabilitation.
If you are sitting at home in recovery, there may be a few extra activities you can do to help move forward in your healing. Here is how to speed up your shoulder injury recovery safely.
Preparation can be difficult when an injury occurs out of the blue. However, try to take precautionary measures if you do lots of exercising, athletic activities, or manual labor. No matter how careful you might be, accidents and injuries occur when you least expect them. If you engage in lots of movement in your everyday routine, prepare for the possibility that you might injure your shoulder at some point.
Your shoulder will prevent you from reaching up high and doing a lot of movement for a bit. With this in mind, make common items in your home more accessible. Be aware of what foods you’re buying and don’t purchase anything overly complicated to make. Ensure you have easy-to-put-on, adaptable clothing. Be ready to give that shoulder the time it needs.
Your shoulder is going to naturally heal itself. However, it needs the right tools. If you eat right and get lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in your diet, you’re going to be rebuilding your shoulder quickly and efficiently. Nutrition is vital to our body’s ability to heal.
When our diet is compromised, it’s not that your shoulder won’t heal. It absolutely will. It just might do so far less quickly. For anyone serious about speeding up shoulder injury recovery, optimize your diet. Not only will eating healthy foods speed up the recovery process, but your overall health will improve as well.
Wear Your Sling
Immobilize the shoulder early on. If a doctor recommended a shoulder immobilizer or sling, accept it. Although some people find the sling to be inconvenient, you should still wear it as much as possible. The point of it is to restrict arm movement to allow your shoulder to rebuild and recover naturally.
The length of time you wear a sling is likely to be 4-6 weeks, but this is dependent on the depth of the injury you are dealing with. The bottom line here is not to avoid wearing the sling if it’s doctor-recommended. It will only elongate your recovery time.
Use Cold Compresses
Cold is extremely helpful to injury recovery. Ice packs and cold compresses can reduce pain and swelling, especially after surgery if your shoulder injury is to that extent. Applying cold also reduces bruising and has been shown to shorten recovery time. This can be anything from the ice inside a plastic bag to a proper cold compress sling. If you’re looking to go the extra mile in speeding up injury healing, use cold compresses.
Physical Therapy and Rest
Physical therapy is essential to regaining strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Your physical therapist will work with you on specific exercises depending on where you are at in recovery to reactivate the power of your shoulder. These exercises further minimize healing time and can eliminate long-term discomfort quicker.
Also, don’t overdo it. More physical therapy isn’t always good. Your shoulder needs rest just like it needs to be worked on. Be sure to rest and not overtrain. Consult with your physical therapist about the best schedule beforehand. Working together, you can come up with a decent amount of physical therapy that balances your recovery and rest.
Do Not Push Through Pain
This is where pain medications can be dangerous with shoulder injury recovery. Pain is a signal something might be wrong with your body. Contrary to popular opinion, this sensation isn’t akin to feeling the burn. Instead, it is your brain telling you to stop what you’re doing.
Pain medications stop those signals from being sent. If you’re doing any fitness activity or physical therapy and you’re feeling pain, stop immediately. Cease what you’re doing as soon as you feel pain in your shoulder. Pain is an indicator that perhaps things need to be slowed or altered in some way. Pushing through could significantly worsen your injury.
Do Not Put Weight On Your Shoulder
During rest time, do not put any weight on your shoulder. Be careful on the couch or when lying down. Avoid lying flat on your back or directly on your affected side. Do not lift any objects. Do not use your shoulder to help you get up from the couch.
Move slowly and be conscious of everything you could be putting on your shoulder. You really want to give it as much rest as possible outside of designated physical therapy. When you aren’t straining your shoulder in any capacity, it will help to keep your recovery on track.
Avoid Certain Arm Movements
After an injury, there are certain arm positions that you will want to avoid entirely for a few weeks. Avoid activities like reaching behind your body, raising your arm over your head, or even lifting your arm to the side. These motions can work against your progress in physical therapy and set back healing.
The shoulder can get very sensitive post-injury. You may not think these movements to be overly damaging. However, immobilization and then a careful reintroduction to fitness will build strength and shorten recovery time.