Best Way To Sleep After Rotator Cuff Surgery
When I was 23 years old, my doctor told me that I had full thickness tears in both shoulders, which meant that they were completely torn off their attachments on the bone. He said that there would be no way for them to heal without surgical intervention. My mother cried when she heard this news because she knew how much pain I was in from trying to play softball as an amateur. The thought of not being able to use my arms again terrified her. She also knew what a huge impact this injury would have on our family’s finances. It wasn’t easy for us at the time, but we made the decision to go ahead with the operation. We didn’t want to live in constant pain for the rest of our lives either. Unfortunately, doctors don’t always know better than parents, so we had to endure a long recovery period before I could start physical therapy. I spent about six weeks in a sling, and then another month or two in a brace where I used a stick to help move around.
Afterwards, I went through several months of physical therapy. At first, I couldn’t even do basic exercises like rolling over onto my stomach. But eventually, things got easier. In fact, some days I feel more sore than others. For example, if I’ve been doing yard work all day, I might wake up in the middle of the night feeling very stiff. However, if I’m sitting at home watching TV, I can usually sit comfortably through the entire show without any stiffness. This happens because muscle memory takes over during repetitive tasks. Over time, your body gets accustomed to performing certain motions over and over again. So even though I will still experience some stiffness, I won’t need to spend nearly as much time stretching afterward.
The best way to deal with stiffness is to stretch out right away, especially if you’re going to be sleeping later tonight. Most people recommend lying flat on your back with one arm above your head and the other across your chest. That’s fine for someone who has only mild shoulder stiffness, but if you suffer from severe stiffness, you should lie on your side instead. You’ll want to keep your hips elevated by placing a pillow between your legs and tucking one leg under your bottom half while keeping the top leg straight. Your top leg should be bent slightly at the knee, and your lower leg should touch the floor. When you’re sleeping on your side, make sure that your knees aren’t locked as well. They should remain somewhat flexible so that you can roll over easily.
If you’re experiencing extreme discomfort, you may want to try sleeping in a reclined position using a supportive pillow. Many people prefer to sleep in a recliner after having shoulder or rotator cuff surgery because it allows them to maintain maximum comfort throughout the night. A recliner provides plenty of support for your upper body while you sleep, and it helps prevent you from falling forward. Some people actually fall asleep while sitting upright but end up waking up after 10 minutes because they fell forward and woke themselves up. Sleeping in a recliner gives you enough room to turn over normally without worrying about hitting your head on the ground.
You should never place a hard object underneath your elbows while sleeping. Even if you place a soft foam wedge under each elbow, you shouldn’t leave anything firm underneath your forearms. You don’t want to aggravate your scar tissue by pressing against it repeatedly. Instead, use a soft pillow or towel to prop up your arms. There are many different positions that you can choose to sleep in while resting your arms in a reclining chair. You can put your hands behind your ears, cross your arms over your chest, or hold a small pillow between your palms. Or, you can let your arms hang freely from the sides of your torso. Whatever position feels most comfortable for you, remember to avoid sleeping on your back. Doing so puts too much pressure on your armpits and interferes with blood circulation.
Another important thing to consider is whether you need a special mattress. Mattresses designed specifically for orthopedic patients are available in many medical supply stores. These mattresses are thicker and contain extra padding to protect your joints. While these are excellent options, you should ask your physician if a regular mattress would suffice. Some people think that a thick mattress is uncomfortable, but this isn’t true. A standard mattress is often quite adequate. Just make sure that you buy one with high quality coils and a good foundation. Also, look for a mattress pad that has a gel layer. These pads provide additional cushioning and improve airflow, which reduces sweating.
Most importantly, you should take care of yourself immediately after your procedure. Drink lots of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and stay active. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs because they dehydrate your body and inhibit healing. Try to exercise regularly, even if you’re in pain. Stretching out doesn’t hurt, but resist the urge to pick up heavy objects until you see your surgeon. If you have trouble getting up out of a chair, ask someone else to help you stand up. Don’t strain yourself by attempting to lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. And finally, try to avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness such as NyQuil and Excedrin. All of these measures will help to reduce postoperative swelling and stiffness. With proper treatment, you’ll quickly return to normal life in no time!
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