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Recovery & Support for Severe Shoulder Sprains

NYU Langone doctors and rehabilitation specialists offer postsurgical care and physical and occupational therapy to help you recover from surgery for a severe shoulder sprain.

Postsurgical Care

After surgery, you typically need to wear a sling for four to six weeks to immobilize the shoulder, helping it to rest and heal.

Doctors may prescribe pain medication for the first week or two so you can heal comfortably. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can also help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Icing the shoulder for a few days after surgery can also reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor may recommend applying ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day.

About a week after your procedure, your doctor checks to make sure your incisions are healing properly and to remove any sutures. Your doctor also assesses the range of motion in your shoulder and works with our rehabilitation specialists to create a physical or occupational therapy program to help you heal.

Postsurgery Physical or Occupational Therapy

If you’ve had surgery for a severe shoulder sprain, rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process.  At NYU Langone, a physical or occupational therapist teaches you movements to help relieve pain, prevent further injury, and allow you to return to your everyday routine.

As you heal during the first few weeks after surgery, a therapist can show you exercises that help increase flexibility and build strength in the shoulders, arms, and back. The muscles in these areas support the shoulder joint and provide it with stability and range of motion. Strengthening and stretching these muscles also helps to prevent another injury.

A rehabilitation program may be required for several months before the shoulder is fully healed. Making the exercises a regular part of your routine at home or in a gym will help this process along.

Sports Performance Evaluation

After physical or occupational therapy, your doctor may recommend that you visit NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center. Our physiologists and sports nutritionists evaluate your strength, flexibility, and diet to personalize a fitness program that suits your needs. They offer programs for tennis and other sports that require the use of your shoulder

Mind–Body Wellness

NYU Langone offers a variety of wellness programs that may help ease your recovery. They include acupuncture and acupressure, which can reduce pain, decrease inflammation, and strengthen the immune system by enhancing blood flow. In acupuncture, practitioners insert very thin needles into the skin, stimulating specific points on the body to alter “energy flow” and improve health. In acupressure, a type of therapeutic massage, practitioners apply pressure to specific areas on the body.

Our Research and Education in Shoulder Sprains and Strains

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.