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Lt Col Jerman
Rehabilitation is often a key part of the treatment plan for a shoulder injury. Captain Laydon, can you tell us more about the rehabilitation phase?

Capt Laydon
Sure, Dr. Jerman. This phase usually involves a physical therapist, who will be actively involved throughout rehabilitation. If surgery is required, a physical therapist will work with you before and after the surgery to guide you through a program designed to increase strength and regain range of motion.

Although not moving your shoulder is a natural reaction to pain, this can lead to a complete loss of shoulder mobility. A rehabilitation program will help decrease pain and swelling and prevent the development of chronic shoulder problems. Your physical therapist can provide numerous treatments to control pain and swelling.

At first, rehabilitation may involve active range of motion or controlled movements of your shoulder joint without resistance. Water exercises, such as arm circles or shoulder rolls, are sometimes used if other exercises are too painful.

Some motion exercises are designed to improve your awareness of the position, location, orientation, and movement of your shoulder. This awareness is referred to as proprioception. Proprioception training is important because it teaches your body to control the position of your injured shoulder.

Once you’re pain-free, other exercises may be added, such as agility and endurance-building activities. The goal is to increase strength and range of motion as your ligaments recover. The length of time you can expect to spend recovering depends upon the extent of the injury and the amount of surgery, if any, that was performed. Rehabilitation may take from weeks to months depending on the condition.