Q: Grandma, I just had my second rotator cuff surgery -I’m on my fourth week. I have not taken any thing for pain. I prefer some natural solutions than taking pain killers to alleviate the pain. Can you suggest some remedies, please?
A: Dear S, The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and related muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint and allow you to raise and rotate your arm. When this group of tissues becomes severely injured, a rotator cuff surgery may be performed to repair the damaged tendons. Some degree of pain and discomfort is very common after rotator cuff surgery. There are several reasons you’re still experiencing shoulder pain days or weeks after the operation. For one, your shoulder is still on the process of recovering from the surgery itself; or two, your shoulder has gotten stiff due to lack of movement.
Fortunately, there are available remedies for shoulder pain that you can try at home. If pain remains a major issue even after several weeks post-operation, have a shot at the following suggestions.
HOME REMEDIES FOR SHOULDER PAIN
1. Ice packs – Ice can be helpful to anyone with chronic pain condition. First, ice can partially numb a painful area by interrupting the pain signals the nerve cells transmit to the brain. Second, it causes the blood vessels to constrict or tighten, which decreases blood flow to the area. Due to these effects, ice can decrease swelling and control pain. 
2. Avoiding strenuous activities – If you’re still experiencing shoulder pain days after the operation, you should refrain from lifting heavy objects or using the affected arm to support their own weight. Many activities should not begin until the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder heal, which can take around three to six weeks. 
3. Stretching – The first few months after rotator cuff surgery, the goal is mainly to regain motion in the shoulder. Stiffness in the shoulder can be the source of pain months after the operation, so it is crucial that stiffness be addressed even several months after the surgery. According to experts, stretching daily is important to keep the muscles loosened. Gentle stretching exercises should be performed 2- 3 times daily or as directed by the doctor. As much as possible, these exercise sessions should be performed after a hot shower, bath, or aerobic exercise. 
4. Strengthening Exercises – One example of strengthening exercise system that is widely used in the rehabilitation of injuries is Pilates. It is a popular exercise that is used by physical therapists to improve the flexibility, balance as well as to improve the overall strength of the body. One good thing about Pilates is how one learns to be conscious of one’s self and how wrong postures can cause injuries and pain.
5. Painkillers – Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Naprosyn, Alleve, Bextra, and Celebrex can help alleviate the pain brought about by rotator cuff surgery. Remember though that long-term use of NSAIDs is not recommended because of increased risk of ulcer and kidney problems. If you have been using NSAIDs for quite a while, be sure to inform your doctor for possible change in medication.
6. Mint leaves – If pharmaceutical agents fail to relieve your shoulder pain, try going herbal by applying crushed mint leaves to the affected area. Mint leaves act as a coolant and is believed to be effective in reducing pain sensation.