Let’s face it, after surgery you are usually tired, groggy, in pain and just want to curl up into the fetal position to rest. The affected shoulder is drawn forward, your elbow is bent, and your hand is held close to your body. You often spend several hours in this curled up position as you recover from surgery. Depending on the type of procedure, your doctor may not allow you to sit upright. However if you have no restrictions, then try these three simple post-surgical moves to help prevent adverse complications.
Step 1: Sit in a chair or at the side of your bed with your feet on the floor. Lift your shoulders and rib cage up toward the ceiling which will lengthen your spine and draw your chest forward.
Step 2: Next straighten your arms at your side with palms facing forward and GENTLY draw your shoulders back by slightly squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Step 3: In this upright posture, take 3-5 deep breaths by focusing on filling your lower lungs with air so that you feel your lower rib cage move up & out as your lower abdomen expands forward. Imagine your lungs are expanding with air like a balloon as you breathe inward.
Once you finish breathing deeply, try to maintain sitting in this position until you become fatigued. Repeating these three steps several times throughout a day, and being more mindful of your posture will help to minimize several side effects including:
● limited shoulder and elbow mobility
● tightness of chest muscles
● swelling of chest/axilla/arm
● rounded shoulder posture and pain