Paul B. Roache, MD - Orthopaedic Specialist
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Home/ Patient Education/ Shoulder Rehabilitation


In this section:

Arthritis

Arthroscopy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder Rehibilitation

Tennis Elbow

Rotator Cuff

Cast Care

Healing with R.I.C.E.

Sprains

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What is Shoulder Rehabilitation?

Shoulder rehabilitation is the science of restoring function to a dysfunctional shoulder. It is a combined hands on and instructional process whereby the therapist educates the patient in the performance of activities designed at increasing motion, strength, endurance, and enhancing function.

Who Makes Up the Rehabilitation Team?

The orthopaedic surgeon, therapist, and patient work together through open lines of communication to direct and guide the patient to higher levels of functioning as he/she progresses through his/her individual protocol. The therapist may either be a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Many therapists have developed additional training and expertise in the rehabilitation of the shoulder. Adjunct members of the team include physical and occupational therapy aids and assistants, and athletic trainers.

What Makes Up the Shoulder Rehabilitation Protocol?

Specific instruction, education and exercises in conjunction with the use of certain modalities and machinery are designed based on the patient's specific shoulder pathology and his/ her specific needs for daily functioning at home, at work, and during athletic activities.

What Are Some of the More Specialized Techniques Used in Rehabilitation of the Shoulder?

  • Superficial and deep heating modalities
  • Range of motion and stretching exercises
  • Isometric and isokinetic strengthening
  • Endurance training
  • Water therapy
  • Sports specific functional rehab
  • Work hardening

Specialized machinery and electronic equipment may be used for diagnosis, evaluation, monitoring and advancement throughout these various levels of rehabilitation.

What are the Stages of a Shoulder Rehabilitation Program?

Rehabilitation of the shoulder may be used as a primary treatment modality, as preparation for a surgical procedure or following a surgical reconstructive procedure to restore function.

What Type of Shoulder Problems May be Treated with a Rehabilitation Protocol?

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Rotator Cuff Impingement and tears
  • Acromioclavicular joint disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve and muscle disorders

No Pain, No Gain?

Although satisfactory rehabilitation of the shoulder frequently requires significant effort and occasionally some degree of discomfort on the part of the patient, it should not be a painful process. Pain is an important defense mechanism which frequently signifies a degree of effort beyond acceptable physiologic boundaries. If your rehabilitation program is consistently associated with pain, you should consult your therapist and/or physician.

How Do I Get Enrolled in a Shoulder Rehabilitation Program?

If you have a shoulder problem, the first step is to be evaluated by a knowledgeable physician well versed in shoulder problems who can assess your problem and refer you for enrollment in an appropriate protocol

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