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Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Rehab Exercise Video Playlist

We've created a video playlist with tips on living with your sling and demonstrations to guide you through your rehab exercises. We hope it makes your recovery easier!

To open and browse the entire playlist of videos, click on the icon in the upper right corner of the video screen.

Shoulder Surgery Pain Control Tips

We believe early and aggressive pain management after your shoulder surgery will improve your recovery, restore function of your shoulder and help you get home faster.

Multimodal Pain Control Protocol

Multimodal pain control protocol means that you will receive different pain medications that act in different ways and work together to help with your pain control. That way, you will be more comfortable and there will be less chance of developing side effects of individual medication (such as feeling sleepy and groggy, nausea, vomiting, itching, constipation, and urine retention).

Your medication may include a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), gabapentin, and oral narcotics.

Nerve Blocks

In addition to the pain medications, we use regional anesthesia, also called nerve blocks. The nerve block is a routine part of the pain management protocol for shoulder surgery. Nerves that provide sensation to the shoulder come down from the neck, above the collarbone (the brachial plexus). Prior to surgery, your anesthesiologist will use an ultrasound to see where these nerves are and will put numbing medicine (local anesthetic) next to the nerves that supply the shoulder area.

Local anesthetics are medications that numb a targeted site. Because they don’t affect the entire body, there is less risk of unpleasant side effects. Local anesthetics have been used for years for different types of surgeries and dental procedures. Based on the type of surgery you are having, we can use this block as a one time injection or we can place a small catheter tube (looks like a fishing wire) next to these nerves to provide a longer period of pain relief.

Pain Pump

In some cases, your surgeon or anesthesiologist may determine that a longer period of pain relief is needed. We can then place a catheter next to the nerves supplying the arm and shoulder. One end of this catheter is placed next to the nerve and the other end is hooked up to a "pain pump" that will deliver the numbing medicine at a set rate around the nerve. As long as the catheter is in the right place and the numbing medicine is delivered around the nerves, the nerve block will provide you with better pain relief.

The pain pump is completely portable and may be clipped to your clothing or placed in a small carrying case. If you experience increasing pain you will have the option to push a button to give yourself an extra dose (bolus) of the numbing medication ONLY if you need it. You do not have to worry about giving yourself too much because the pump will be programmed to give you a set amount that will not be exceeded. You may be sent home with your pain pump in place and be given instructions on how to care for it.

This pain protocol is designed to provide:

  • More comfortable recovery after surgery
  • Better pain relief without the side effects of narcotics
  • Quicker return to normal
  • Earlier release from the hospital

In This Section


Get the answers to frequently asked questions about recovery and rehabilitation after shoulder surgery.

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