Re: 17 months post op update.
Mathias, Ed makes the best point about staying active. I am about 2-1/2 years out of surgery now and still get pretty wrecked from a day on the couch. The NCAA tourney is KILLING me!
But seriously, stay active and do things every day like stretching and lifting your arms over your head and, if you have access to an arm bike, it really makes a huge difference. The soup can idea is OK but kind of a pain to mimic the same motion effectively. I was lucky to have some incredible people at my PT place and they let me come use the arm bike after my insurance visits expired (provided it was not in use. Sometimes I would have to wait up to an hour, but so worth it). Also, working on my core has helped a ton. Crunches and planks and side planks done properly will really suck at first, but they do for everyone. After you get into it and start to build up some stamina, the extra core strength relieves a lot of the strain on your back. Your abs hold you up as much as your back muscles, after all.
Good luck and let us know how you're doing.
Age 41, M, MA, USA
T2-L1 11/7/11 & 2/9/12