My Own Experience of Shoulder Surgery - from a Physio that has been there and done that.
My story begins back in high school while playing rugby union. My initial injury occurred during a tackle where I dislocated my shoulder. Over the next week of the rugby tour, I dislocated my shoulder a further four times even with taping on. At this point in time, I neglected to do anything about it.
That following year I started Physiotherapy at Uni and was still having issues with my shoulder… I couldn’t lay on it… it got tired easily… and just generally ached all the time. I went and sought some Physio input to be told, I just need to keep strengthening my shoulder. By this stage, if you shook my hand hard enough during a handshake, you could dislocate my shoulder.
Finally, after enough complaining I was r
eferred to Dr John Maguire (Orthopaedic Surgeon). Prior to this appointment I had a scan on my shoulder. The scan showed that I had sustained a significant amount of damage to the labrum and capsule, an integral structure of the shoulder that aids stability of the joint. As a result of this I had a surgical stabilisation of my shoulder.
I finished my first year of Physio and had my shoulder surgery. I thought I was pretty sweet to look after myself, being a physio student and all. I could only describe my rehab as good; I attended semi-regular sessions with my physio working on improving my movement and strength. I thought to myself, oh yeah this rehab business is pretty easy, a few exercises here and there. At about 6 months post op, following my review with Dr Maguire who was happy with my progress, I stopped putting in effort into my rehab. I had full movement, pretty good strength and I could do everything that was required of me working and for Uni. Sport at that stage was the least of my concern, so why should I bother trying I thought?
If I had my time again, I would have put in more effort into my rehab like I try to get my patients to do. A few years on now I still have issues with my shoulder. I’m still working on getting my shoulder back to what it was all those years ago and back into sport. Rehab isn’t always as easy as it felt for me; it most certainly can be hard. A lot of time, diligence and effort is required, and as you can tell I didn’t have much.
If you take anything out of this snapshot it’s that, give your rehab 110%. Put in the effort and try your hardest to get back to your goals. Don’t become complacent with yourself; aim to get back to your pre injury function. We as physios will be there to encourage and guide you through it. It’s your job, just as much as it is ours, to get you back in action. You might not like us sometimes after a hard/challenging session but you’ll thank us in the long run. It just goes to show, that the rehab is vitally important in recovering from surgery and returning to your everyday life.