One of the significant benefits of the ancient art of Tai Chi is its versatility. A great example is the use of this practice to benefit several forms of injury or surgery recovery. There are several specific ways this can be done, and one of the most common situations we have seen lately is following a shoulder replacement surgery procedure.
At Just Breathe Tai Chi, we’re happy to bring a wide range of Tai Chi and Qigong courses to students, including in-person and online live classes, on-demand video classes, and more. We’ve brought the art of Tai Chi to numerous different age groups and need ranges, including those who have recently had certain surgeries and are looking for simple, healthy ways to stay active and also promote recovery in the process. Here’s a rundown on what happens during shoulder replacement surgery, plus some of the ways Tai Chi may benefit recovery periods.
Basics of Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure meant to remove damaged areas of the shoulder joint and replace them with an artificial joint. This is also sometimes called shoulder arthroplasty. It’s usually done when other treatments, such as physical therapy, haven’t worked to manage the pain or improve function in the shoulder.
The type of shoulder replacement surgery you have will depend on how much damage there is to your shoulder, plus the condition being operated for. These include osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tear issues, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
Shoulder replacement surgery will typically leave the patient with a few common symptoms, including everything from standard pain and swelling in the shoulder area to numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arm or hand. It’s important to have a solid understanding of what to expect before having this type of surgery so that you can be as prepared as possible for recovery.
Now let’s look at some ways Tai Chi may help with this process.
The Benefits of Tai Chi Following Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Tai chi may benefit those recovering from shoulder replacement surgery in several ways:
- Limiting pain: The gentle, harmonic movements of Tai Chi may help to release endorphins in the brain, which can act as a natural painkiller.
- Improving range of motion: Tai Chi movements are slow and focused, which can help to improve range of motion following surgery—when done correctly and under the supervision of a quality instructor.
- Building strength: As you progress in your Tai Chi journey, you may find that you gradually build strength in the muscles and tendons around the shoulder area.
- Better sleep: One of the common side effects of pain medications is difficulty sleeping, but Tai Chi has been shown to improve sleep quality when practiced regularly.
Of course, it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you’ve recently had surgery. Once you have the all-clear, however, Tai Chi may be a great way to help with your shoulder replacement surgery recovery.
How Does Tai Chi Help?
The slow, deliberate movements of Tai Chi can help improve focus and concentration, while the low-impact nature of the workout makes it a good option for people who may not be able to participate in more high-impact activities. One of the best things about Tai Chi is that it is completely adaptable to any physical capabilities and goals you may have at any age!
Tai Chi is a journey. It is your journey and adapts to your changing needs and abilities. Our students have found that when you practice Tai Chi as intended, Tai Chi will help your joints not hurt them. Again, it is advised to work with a good instructor that will help you modify the movements.
Do Just Breathe Tai Chi students have shoulder-replacement experience?
We have students preparing for and recovering from shoulder replacement surgery, knee, and hip replacements, you name it. Our students have reported that their doctors and physical therapists make comments about how unusually rapid their recovery period is.
Explore Tai Chi for Yourself
Here are some resources to get you started.