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How To Sleep After Wrist Surgery

by Lyndon Langley
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How To Sleep After Wrist Surgery

How To Sleep After Wrist Surgery

Wrist surgery can be very uncomfortable. It’s also nerve-wracking because there are so many things that could go wrong during the procedure. One thing that can complicate matters is sleep apnea – a condition where breathing stops for brief periods while we sleep. If you have sleep apnea, you’re already at risk of postoperative complications such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, respiratory depression (a dangerous drop in blood oxygen levels) and excessive bleeding. But if you also happen to have scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine – you’re even more vulnerable to these problems. Scoliosis puts pressure on the lungs and airways, making them smaller than normal. This makes breathing more difficult and increases the chances of developing sleep apnea.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take before, during and after surgery to help reduce the likelihood of sleep apnea. Here are three tips to follow:
1. Take pain medication properly
One common problem associated with sleep apnea is overmedication. The result is sedation, which leaves you drowsy but not completely unconscious. You’ll feel groggy when you wake up, and you won’t remember most of what happened during the night. Pain medication should only be used short term to relieve discomfort caused by surgery, infection or inflammation. Don’t rely on pain medications alone for relief; they may actually make conditions worse.
2. Use a water pillow
If you suffer from sleep apnea, then your doctor will probably recommend using a water pillow, which uses water instead of air. Water doesn’t compress like air does, so it relieves pressure on your face and head. In addition, the weightlessness of water means less stress on your neck. A water pillow is best because it’s better for your overall health. Your body needs to absorb enough fluids throughout the night, and a water pillow helps to do just that.
3. Keep your mouth closed
Sleep apnea often occurs when someone has their tongue blocking their airway. That’s why it’s important to maintain a straight mouth during sleep. Avoid drinking anything other than water through the night. Alcohol and coffee can relax the muscles around your throat, creating a blockage. Smoking can also cause phlegm build-up that can obstruct your airways. And don’t forget about food! Anything hot or cold will burn your nasal membranes and inflame tissues. Try eating small meals rather than one big meal, and avoid gum or mints. These items can trigger coughing fits.
Another potential complication of sleep apnea is snoring. Snoring happens when you breathe through your nose and mouth at the same time. When you inhale, the air travels down the trachea into your windpipe, then out through your nostrils and mouth. As the air moves through your windpipe, it vibrates the soft palate. This causes the tissue between your uvula and your septum to rub together, causing vibrations that create sound. Snoring isn’t necessarily bad — it’s part of how our bodies regulate our internal temperature and keeps us awake. However, if you find yourself waking repeatedly every night, talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to treat it medically.
Some people who develop sleep apnea due to scoliosis are unable to wear traditional braces. Instead, they must wear custom-fitted hard plastic splints that fit under their clothes and rest against their backsides.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis refers to any type of spinal deformity that affects the natural alignment of the spine. There are several types of scoliosis, but the most common form is idiopathic scoliosis, which means that it develops without any known underlying cause.
Idiopathic Scoliosis Overview
In children, adolescent patients and adults alike, idiopathic scoliosis usually begins between ages 10 and 14 years old. Girls tend to get scoliosis earlier than boys, but both sexes experience different rates of progression. Idiopathic scoliosis is mostly found in the thoracic region of the spine. While it typically starts in the lower back area, it can gradually progress upward.
Risk Factors Associated With Scoliosis
There are certain factors that increase your chance of getting scoliosis, including:
Age: Children and adolescents are much more susceptible to scoliosis than adults.
Gender: Women seem to be more prone to having scoliosis than men.
Genetics: Some studies indicate that genetics may play a role in determining susceptibility to the disease.
Weight: Being overweight or obese is linked to an increased rate of scoliosis.
Backpack usage: Teenagers who carry heavy loads on their backs have been shown to have higher instances of scoliosis.
Family history: Having a family member diagnosed with scoliosis can raise your risk of having the disorder.
Treatment Options For Scoliosis
Depending on the severity of your scoliosis, treatment options range from wearing special orthopedic devices to undergoing surgical correction procedures. Typically, scoliometers, x-rays and physical therapy are used to diagnose the condition. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, your physician will work with you to determine the appropriate course of action. Treatment options include:
Bracing: Braces were once considered the standard treatment for preventing the onset of scoliosis. They now come in two forms: soft and hard. Soft bracing involves wearing a corset-like garment made of elastic fabric. Hard bracers are similar to regular braces except that they’re made of hard plastic and metal. Both styles offer support in the areas needed to prevent further growth of scoliosis.
Surgery: If you suspect that you have scoliosis, then you may want to consider surgery. Depending on the severity of your case, you may require implants, rods, screws, hooks or wires. Regardless of what type of implant(s) you choose, all surgeries involve general anesthesia. Postoperative care includes a period of recovery followed by specialized rehabilitation.
Complications Of Scoliosis
As mentioned previously, complications of scoliosis can occur due to various reasons. One such reason is sleep apnea. Since a person suffering from sleep apnea experiences interrupted breathing patterns, he/she is at greater risk of having postoperative complications.
Sleeping Positions And How To Sleep After Wrist Surgery
Most surgeons advise patients to place their upper extremities above the elbows for comfort sake. This prevents the wrists from becoming bent too far forward. Using this technique, however, can lead to sleeping positions that leave the patient feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
To ensure that you find a comfortable sleeping position, try sleeping on your side. Placing a rolled towel underneath your elbow allows your arm to remain relaxed and flat. Sleeping on your side can also allow for easier movement during nighttime bathroom breaks.
During the day, make sure to move around as much as possible. Sitting at a desk all day for instance, can cause tightness in the muscles surrounding the torso. By moving around, you can stretch those muscles and alleviate the tension.
It’s also important to drink plenty of liquids after surgery. Not only does this keep you hydrated, but it can also help to decrease swelling and bruising. Drinking caffeinated beverages such as soda can also promote sweating, which promotes healing and removes toxins from the skin.
If you’re going to be spending the night in bed, put a water pillow between your legs. Although it sounds counterintuitive, this method allows for maximum airflow beneath your knees. Also, since water is heavier than air, it creates a sense of stability and security.
Finally, make sure that you have a blanket handy. Blankets provide additional warmth and cover up exposed skin that would normally become chilled and sore.
Tips On How To Sleep After Wrist Surgery
Here are three quick tips to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer:
Try counting backwards slowly from 100. Counting backwards helps stimulate the brain, which triggers relaxation. Simply count backward from 100 until you reach zero. Then repeat the process again.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine right before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body, leaving you tired and thirsty.
Make sure that you’re well rested before you undergo any medical procedure. Getting adequate sleep beforehand can give you the energy required to recover quickly.
Conclusion
Unfortunately, sleep apnea is something that everyone suffers from at least occasionally. Thankfully, there are ways to combat it. Before undergoing surgery, make sure that you contact your doctor regarding any existing issues. He or she can then refer you to a specialist who specializes in treating sleep disorders.
Once you’ve undergone surgery, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. Most importantly, use ice packs to minimize swelling. Drink lots of fluids and wear loose clothing to help speed up your recovery. Make sure to consult with your physician regularly to check for signs of infection. Finally, make sure that you follow his or her recommendations for proper nutrition and exercise. All of these measures will help improve your quality of life.

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