HSS Logo

Your Home Exercise Program


Cryotherapy, the use of cold to treat your shoulder surgery, helps decrease pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Ice is very important for your recovery. You should ice several times each day or as directed by your surgeon. Make sure there is a thin piece of material (sheet or towel) between the ice and your skin.

  • The more you ice during the first few weeks after surgery, the less pain, swelling, and inflammation you will experience.
  • Place the ice on top of your shoulder or where you feel soreness.
  • If you opted for one of the commercially available ice machines, you should use LOW or NO compression during the first 5 days. After that, you may increase the compression setting as tolerated. If the compression is bothering you then do not use compression.
  • Ice with your sling on for maximal comfort or as directed.
  • You should use pain as a guide. Too much pain = Too much activity.
  • If you have a known diagnosis of RSD or CRPS please discuss with your surgeon before using ice.

Home Exercise Program

Without question, your speed of recovery to your normal, desired range of motion and shoulder strength will depend upon how faithfully you follow your assigned exercise program. For each individual shoulder surgical procedure, there will be several phases related to: immobilization to initiate healing and prevent damaging of your shoulder, restoring range of motion, developing shoulder/arm strength, and performing functional activities.

Each phase will be initiated at the proper time, on an individual basis, by your physician or therapist. The most common post-operative exercises are illustrated here. Remember to perform only those exercises that have been checked off for you.

Note: Your exercises should not cause progressive, increasing pain. If this occurs, discuss it with your therapist and alter your exercise program accordingly.