Why You Must Exercise Before Shoulder Surgery

Exercise alone is a common source of treatment used for any shoulder pathology and is frequently prescribed by any specialist. The rationale behind exercise is that it is used to restore shoulder stability and mobility and improve shoulder/scapula ROM and muscular function. Commonly prescribed exercises focus on the entire kinetic chain from rotator cuff, scapular control and function, to thoracic movement and lower limb strength. These treatment modalities depend on the severity of one’s pathology and are associated with or a combination of land and water based exercises, which utilise flexibility, strengthening and self-management exercises.
Pre-operative management also has a role in decreasing patient anxiety from the beginning of the process to its conclusion. However exercise alone is not the answer. Due to the cautious approach required by patients post surgery, and with a pre-operative program, a patient can become more educated on the care of their shoulder and its contraindicated movements, thus resulting in a quicker, safer and successful recovery.
Exercise training before undergoing a shoulder operation has been linked to faster recovery times and also require less inpatient rehabilitation when compared to exercising alone post surgery. A recent study highlighted the positive effects of pre-operative treatment. Patients whom underwent an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair provided a faster recovery early in the postoperative period when completing a supervised pre-operative program. 1.5 hours of passive ROM and scapular muscle strengthening exercises and strengthening exercises with bands were completed. Once the supervised rehabilitation was completed a self-management program 15 minutes per day was completed until surgery (1).
They concluded that post surgery; patient ROM and strength of the rotator cuff are important factors when determining a successful outcome. They believe that any patient with pre-operative ROM restriction should not be operated on, prior to a good pre-operative rehabilitation program being completed (1).
At Movewell Physiotherapy we utilize up to date treatment methods, giving patients the best pre-operative care available. All patients would undertake a thorough assessment using our functional movement screening and video analysis, all of which can be delivered to you for your convenience. We also offer supervised exercise programs, hydrotherapy and up to date treatment modalities to further enhance the patient’s care

(1) Seyahi A, et al. The effect of preoperative rehabilitation on the outcomes of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Paper #38. Presented at the 8th Biennial ISAKOS 2011 Congress. May 15-19. Rio de Janeiro.