I had shoulder replacement surgery in September 2008 (severe osteoarthritis). I seemed to do quite well right after surgery (allowing for normal post operative pain and stiffness). I was in my immobilizer for six weeks after surgery and had all the normal post operative PT appointments (in addition to the ones I had prior to surgery).
Over the past month or so, the pain in my shoulder has been increasing to the point where it is waking me up several times a night again like it was before surgery. I also have to have a pillow behind my shoulder when I sleep in order to get any kind of sleep at all. The pain is also pretty constant during the day, so it's not just a positional thing at night. I have not done any major lifting with the affected arm, nor have I injured it again (to my knowledge anyway). I also have notice some diminishing of range of motion, although not as bad yet as it was before surgery.
I was wondering how common this is and what the possible causes might be. I'm hoping to be able to avoid a second surgery.
Pain will only relieve with physiotherapy and if it does not decrease over a period of time of 3 months after surgery you should go near your operating surgeon to know the reason of the pain. I do not think you would need any surgery, even with nerve irritation or some inflammation with a tendon it might occur. Good to diagnose your problem and then go for cure. Take care!
Shoulder replacement surgery affects many muscles and nerves, however, after 3 months, surgical pain should be much better. This is what your doctor is treating.
Your doctor may have explained that once surgery is healed, you will need some extensive rehabilitation via physical therapy to adapt to your new shoulder. Inflammation must be worked out of soft tissue, muscles must regain tone and elasticity. While this exercise will cause some discomfort, it should not require opioid pain medications, and the anti-inflammatory effect of an NSAID like aspirin will help reduce some of that inflammation.
When you say a "whole lot of aspirin" remember to stay within recommended daily doses, and always take aspirin with food to protect your stomach.
Ice and heat pack applications, hot baths, and self massage of the muscles of the chest, shoulder, and back will promote healing and reduce pain.
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