Shoulder injuries can result in rotator cuff surgery, or surgery in the shoulder areas. The rotator cuff is part of the shoulder that helps with movement and rotation. When surgery is complete, patients wear a sling to restrict shoulder movement and avoid further injury to the soft tissue. Moving and driving become challenging because of the sling and the injury.
Avoid Driving While Taking Medication
After the surgery, patients are given medication to relieve the pain while the injury heals. The pain medication can cause drowsiness, dizziness and other side effects that make driving dangerous. Patients should not drive a vehicle of any kind until they have finished taking pain medication.
Flex Hands and Wrists
After the surgery, while the patient is not allowed to drive because of the medication, the patient should work on moving the hands and wrist. This improves mobility to prepare for driving after the injuries have healed enough to drive. Once the medication is not necessary, the movement beforehand results in better movement for driving afterward.
Give Right Arm More Time
The right hand changes gears and sets the car in drive, park or reverse while driving. If the hand is in a sling, the changing of gears is difficult or impossible, depending on the extent of healing and ease of movement. The left hand takes around three to four weeks before driving is possible, but the right hand should have around five or six weeks for easier movement before driving.
Before driving, talk to a doctor. The doctor is the best judge of when the arm is healed enough for driving. Doctors will have different opinions, and each patient heals at a different rate, so allow the doctor to determine the best timing. Doctors might suggest waiting until the sling is removed or might suggest wearing the sling while driving but waiting until the hand can move easily.