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Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery

Dr. McClung’s tips for sleeping after shoulder surgery

The most common objective of shoulder surgery is to relieve pain. In order to facilitate quick and correct healing, as well as to avoid future pain, here are some suggestions for sleeping after shoulder surgery. Improper posture or poor positioning can increase recovery time or cause damage to the affected area.

  • I suggest sleeping in a reclined position. This can be achieved by sleeping in a recliner for the first couple weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid sleeping flat on your back. Bolstering yourself up in your bed with several pillows or with a 45 degree wedge that you can purchase at a medical supply store will help you rest. Often, patients have to sleep with an incline for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Wear your sling. Wearing your sling while you sleep keeps tension off the repair that was done in your shoulder. It also helps patients to avoid putting their shoulders in painful positions while they are sleeping.
  • Purchase an Iceman. Though it is a large out of pocket purchase, using a cryocuff or “iceman” will significantly decrease your pain. You can use this as often as you would like for as long as you would like. The water must be changed every 40-60 minutes but, many patients find it’s easier to fall asleep with the cuff on their shoulder.
  • Time your medications. Planning our when you take your medications can be an important part of sleeping after shoulder surgery. This is especially true if you find yourself in a lot of pain. Time your pain medication to be taken 30 minutes prior to when you are planning to go to sleep.

Hopefully these suggestions for sleeping after shoulder surgery are useful to you. If you have any questions about recovery times or other activities after surgery, please call Beacon Orthopaedics at (513) 354-3700.