If you had a shoulder replacement a year ago it is normal to feel some pain for a year or two after the surgery. This is especially true while you lift your arm or use it in an awkward way. If you are having this problem, there are things you can do to help you manage the pain, two of which are listed below.
Visit a Pain Clinic
Talk to your doctor about sending you to a pain clinic. They have a variety of doctors that specialize in treating pain in various areas of the body. The doctors can prescribe pain medication if it is needed while you are having therapy.
There are physical therapists at these pain clinics that can help strengthen the muscles in your shoulder. They will also loosen the muscles as over time they can become tight, which results in pain.
The doctor may use a nerve block to help with pain. During the procedure the doctor injects an anti-inflammatory to the affected nerves. This anti-inflammatory then numbs the nerves that send pain to your shoulder. How long this nerve block injection lasts are different for everyone. It may be a few months and it may be a couple of years.
The pain clinic may have a massage therapist. This person will massage your shoulder area to help increase blood flow. If the massage causes you pain, however, the therapist will stop.
The pain clinic will talk with you and tailor a treatment plan that is specifically for your shoulder pain.
Stretch at Home
When you had your surgery, your physical therapist should have given you a list of exercises that you need to do at home on an ongoing basis. If you have lost this list, ask your therapist if they can give you another one.
One type of stretch the therapist may have you do is to lie on your back and lift your arm up and over your head as far as you can. Use your other hand to force the arm up, if needed. You will feel some pain, and this is completely normal.
Another type of stretch is placing your arm behind your back. This may also cause pain, but it focuses on a certain group of muscles.
There are large rubber bands that can be used to stretch your shoulder muscles. Your physical therapist can give these to you and show you how to use the bands.
If you are in severe pain, make an appointment with your orthopedic doctor immediately.