Subacromial Decompression: A Physical Therapy Guide

How to Recover From Subacromial Decompression Through Physical Therapy


Post-surgical physical therapy is an important treatment plan to help patients recover from a wide range of surgical procedures, including subacromial decompression. It can be beneficial in helping to restore range of motion, reduce pain, and improve overall functioning. By understanding the goals, phases, techniques used, role of the therapist, and patient’s involvement in post-surgical physical therapy, you can gain a better understanding of this important rehabilitation practice. Let’s take a look!

The Importance of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

Post-surgical physical therapy is important for helping patients recover from joint and muscle surgery. It can help improve overall functioning, reduce pain, and restore range of motion. Physical therapists work with patients on a one-on-one basis using techniques such as stretching, strengthening exercises, and postural alignment to help them regain the ability to move comfortably and confidently in their daily activities.

Goals of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

The primary goal of post-surgical physical therapy is to help patients restore function and reduce pain. Other goals may include increasing strength, improving range of motion, restoring balance, and improving the overall quality of life. Depending on the type of surgery performed, specific goals may be set for each individual patient.

Phases of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

Post-surgical physical therapy typically consists of three phases: prehabilitation, rehabilitation, and post-rehabilitation. During the prehab phase, physical therapists may work with patients to prepare for surgery by providing education on proper body mechanics and mobility exercises. The rehabilitation phase focuses on restoring strength, range of motion, and coordination through exercises and manual therapy techniques. In the post-rehab phase, physical therapists help patients return to their daily activities by providing education on safety precautions and gradually increasing the intensity of exercise as needed.

Techniques Used in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

Physical therapists use a variety of techniques in post-surgical physical therapy, such as stretching, strengthening exercises, neuromuscular re-education, balance training, and postural alignment. For example, in the case of subacromial decompression surgery, physical therapists may focus on shoulder flexion and extension exercises to restore range of motion.

Role of a Physical Therapist in Post-Surgical Recovery

Physical therapists play an important role in post-surgical recovery by providing expert guidance on proper body mechanics and helping patients understand the healing process. They also provide education on how to manage pain, as well as information on when it is safe to return to physical activity and work.

Patient’s Role in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

In order for post-surgical physical therapy to be successful, patients must be actively involved in their own recovery. This includes following the physical therapist’s instructions, participating in exercises and activities as prescribed, and reporting any changes or issues to their physical therapist. Consistent follow-up with the physical therapist is essential for progress.

Potential Challenges and Solutions in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy

Post-surgical physical therapy can present a few challenges, such as pain or swelling at the surgical site. Other potential issues may include decreased range of motion, weakened muscles, and difficulty with balance. To address these concerns, physical therapists offer strategies to reduce pain and improve mobility, strength, and coordination.


Post-surgical physical therapy is an important part of recovery from any type of surgery. It helps patients regain strength and mobility, while also aiding in pain management and providing education on proper body mechanics. With a commitment to rehabilitation from both the patient and physical therapist, post-surgical physical therapy can lead to successful outcomes.

Post-surgical physical therapy is an important part of recovery for anyone who has undergone surgery. Following the recommended protocols for post-surgical physical therapy and working with a skilled physical therapist can help ensure successful outcomes following a procedure like subacromial decompression. With the guidance of their physical therapist, patients can make positive progress in their rehabilitation journey.