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Avoid these 7 things At All Costs During Early Rehab Post SLAP Tear Surgery

Surgery was tough. You’re over the hump now, right?

Maybe not!

There’s still much to be done to gain back your full range of mobility. Can a SLAP tear heal with physical therapy? Definitely. But there’s one more thing to stay vigilant about because mistakes can hinder your recovery.

Achieving optimal health and fitness levels means undergoing specialised physiotherapy for SLAP tears. If you’re wondering how physical therapy helps a SLAP tear, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, we’ll outline seven critical mistakes to avoid during the initial phase of your SLAP tear rehab. Read on to learn what to steer clear of so your recovery goes smoothly and uninterrupted.

1.  Sleeping on the Affected Shoulder

One of the most common mistakes after SLAP lesion surgery is sleeping on the affected shoulder.

This position can severely disrupt your healing process. The weight of your body on the shoulder compresses the joint. If done incorrectly, this can prolong your recovery by exacerbating pain and inflammation.

Lying on the injured shoulder may also restrict blood flow, impairing tissue repair and healing.

How Physiotherapy Helps

Our physiotherapists play a vital role in your recovery by advising on optimal sleeping positions to prevent further injury. For example, we often recommend supportive pillows or positioning aids – on top of your sling – that help maintain your proper shoulder alignment during sleep.

Furthermore, we teach you specific exercises designed to lessen shoulder stiffness and enhance range of motion. These practices can help you adopt safer sleeping positions and reduce discomfort throughout the night.

2.  Neglecting Core Strength

Maintaining core strength is essential for general health and for stabilising the body post-shoulder injury. A weak core often leads to poor posture and can increase strain on the healing shoulder.

Additional stress slows the recovery process and heightens the risk of further damage.

How Physiotherapy Helps

To counter these risks, we create tailored core-strengthening physiotherapy for SLAP tear programs. Our physiotherapy treatment regimens focus on safely activating your abdominal and lower back muscles.

These exercises are designed to be gentle on your shoulder while fortifying the core. Strengthening the core improves posture. It also minimises compensatory movements that could put undue stress on the shoulder.

This foundational strength is crucial for supporting upper body activities and your swift recovery.

3.  Wearing Heavy Backpacks or Purses

Carrying heavy bags, especially on the shoulder that is still recovering from SLAP lesion surgery, is a huge no-no. The excessive pressure from the weight of bags causes pain and might even compromise the surgical repair.

Any extra load can lead to muscle imbalances and changes in your gait, prolonging the recovery process. Sometimes even using heavy trolleys that you push or pull can load your shoulder the wrong way.

How Physiotherapy Helps

Our physiotherapists guide how to carry belongings safely to avoid further strain on the shoulder and train you to carry appropriate loads easily after recovery.

We recommend using a backpack with both straps to distribute weight evenly.  A better idea is using a waist pack to eliminate shoulder strain.

Additionally, we work on strengthening your shoulder and its surrounding muscles. This allows the shoulder to handle daily activities more robustly. Gradually we increase its capacity to bear weight without causing strain or injury.

Patient testimonial for rehab at Clearcut Physiotherapy in London.

4.  Ignoring Scar Tissue Management

After surgery, the formation of scar tissue around the surgical site is a common occurrence. However, mismanaged scar tissue can lead to stiffness, restricted movement, and discomfort. Over time, this can result in long-term functional limitations and reduced shoulder mobility.

How Physiotherapy Helps

Physical therapy helps your SLAP tear in more than one way. Our experts are trained to employ various techniques to manage and mitigate the effects of scar tissue.

We use manual therapy, such as massage and specific movements to stretch and mobilise tissue. Sometimes, we introduce exercises that enhance flexibility and teach you self-massage practices to continue SLAP tear rehab at home.

Scar management is essential to maintain the flexibility of soft tissues and prevent adhesions.

5.  Using Handheld Devices Excessively

We get it, we’re all a little addicted to our smartphones! However, the prolonged use of handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets can contribute significantly to poor posture.

Often, this results in the head and shoulders being hunched forward. This can place additional stress on the shoulder which may aggravate pain.

It can even slow the healing process after SLAP tear surgery or lead to conditions like “tech neck” (although not a scientific term, it helps us describe the condition).

How Physiotherapy Helps

One of the ways we help heal SLAP tears with physical therapy is through ergonomic advice on how to use devices correctly. This includes:

  • Recommendations on optimal positioning of devices to prevent strain.
  • Teaching you to take frequent breaks to mitigate posture-related stress.
  • Offering exercises to strengthen postural muscles and improve shoulder alignment.

Education on maintaining proper posture during device use is crucial for minimising its negative impact on shoulder recovery.

6.  Rushing to Wear Tight-Fitting Bras or Clothes

Wearing tight-fitting clothing soon after surgery can irritate the shoulder and the incision site.  Bras with restrictive straps or tight shirts can cause discomfort and potentially delay the healing process.

Such garments can also restrict movement. This poses challenges in performing necessary SLAP tear rehab exercises effectively.

How Physiotherapy Helps

We guide patients in selecting appropriate clothing that doesn’t hinder the recovery process. We often recommend alternatives, such as bras with front closures or adjustable straps.

These are easier to put on and reduce pressure on the shoulder. One of our main goals is to help you gradually regain shoulder mobility and strength. That’s how you comfortably transition back to wearing your usual attire.

7.  Neglecting to Adjust Your Workspace

Poor posture and repetitive strain injuries are common issues when your workspace isn’t set up correctly.

Improper ergonomics or extended periods of sitting without adequate support can exert continuous stress on the shoulder and neck. This exacerbates pain and impedes the healing process.

How Physiotherapy Helps

We help you evaluate your workspace and recommend necessary ergonomic adjustments. This might include simple changes such as:

  • Setting the proper chair height.
  • Adjusting monitor placement.
  • Optimising keyboard positioning.

Additionally, we introduce posture-correcting exercises and stretches that alleviate tension during work hours. By ensuring your workspace is ergonomically tailored, PT minimises shoulder strain.

Your Next Steps

With so many do’s and don’ts to keep in mind, SLAP tear rehab can seem confusing.

To get the help you need to make the most out of your recovery,  consider visiting one of our clinics. We are based in Eltham, Battersea, and Norbury. 

Our expert physiotherapists can guide you through personalised rehabilitation plans, ergonomic assessments, and more.

Don’t let an improper recovery strategy hinder your progress. Reach out today and take that first step towards regaining your shoulder function and overall health.