General Information

Shoulder manipulation under anaesthetic is a technique performed by a surgeon, most commonly for treatment of frozen shoulder. The surgeon will stretch your shoulder joint through its full range while you are under general anaesthetic.

The aim for this technique is to increase the range of motion of the shoulder.

What can I do?

  • It is very important to get your shoulder moving immediately following surgery. Aim to use your arm as normally as possible in the early days, to gain the most from your surgery.
  • You should aim to perform shoulder exercises at least 4 times per day starting immediately after the procedure, stretching your arm in each direction as far as you can. It is normal for this to cause some pain and discomfort, but if the pain is too intense or lasts for too long after stretching then decrease the stretch.
  • A physiotherapist can help show you what exercises to do and can help to guide what pain levels are acceptable following the procedure.
  • It is important to take your pain medication as prescribed to allow for more comfortable and increased movement, which will help you get the most out of this procedure.
  • You can help to control swelling and pain in the early days by using a cold pack on your operated shoulder. Apply the cold pack for 20 minutes, 3-4 times a day, for the first 3 days after surgery. Always place a damp cloth between the cold pack and your skin to protect yourself from ice burn. After 3 days, it will be more beneficial to use hot packs to help alleviate discomfort, especially prior to doing your exercises.
  • A balance between movement and relaxation is important. When resting, you may find it comfortable to prop your affected arm up on a pillow. Avoid rolling onto your shoulder at night – putting a pillow under your knees may help to keep you lying on your back.
  • Avoid heavy unnecessary lifting with your operated arm while it is painful.
  • You should not drive until you are out of your sling, your pain has subsided, and you feel confident in your own ability.
  • Be aware of your posture. Ensure that you sit/stand up straight with your chin tucked in and your shoulders relaxed down and back.
  • When dressing – place your operated arm in first, then dress the rest of your upper body and when undressing take your operated arm out last. Wear your sling over your clothes.
  • Return to work as guided by your surgeon (this will depend on the type of tasks you need to do). Return to sports and hobbies should be possible when your shoulder feels comfortable, and again will be guided by your surgeon.