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How to Sleep After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is commonly performed to treat various shoulder conditions such as rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, and shoulder impingement. Recovering from this surgery requires proper care and attention, including understanding how to sleep comfortably to aid in the healing process. Here are some tips on how to sleep after arthroscopic shoulder surgery:

1. Find a comfortable sleeping position: Sleeping on your back with a few pillows to support your injured shoulder can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Avoid sleeping on the side or stomach, as this can put unnecessary strain on the shoulder joint.

2. Use pillows for support: Place pillows under your arm and behind your back to provide additional support and keep your shoulder in a comfortable position. This can help relieve pressure on the surgical site and prevent any accidental movements during sleep.

3. Avoid sleeping with your arm elevated: While it may seem logical to keep your arm elevated to reduce swelling, this position can strain the muscles and lead to discomfort. It is best to keep your arm relaxed and supported by pillows rather than propped up.

4. Ice therapy before bed: Applying an ice pack to your shoulder before going to bed can help reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth to avoid direct contact with your skin.

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5. Take pain medication as prescribed: If your doctor has prescribed pain medication, take it as directed before going to bed. This can help manage any discomfort and allow for a more restful sleep.

6. Follow your surgeon’s guidelines: Every individual’s recovery process may vary, so it is essential to follow your surgeon’s specific instructions. They may recommend using a sling or brace while sleeping for added support.

7. Gradually transition to a regular sleeping position: As you progress in your recovery, you can gradually transition from sleeping on your back to your preferred sleeping position. However, ensure that your shoulder is adequately supported and comfortable to avoid any strain or discomfort.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. How long should I sleep on my back after arthroscopic shoulder surgery?
It is recommended to sleep on your back for at least the first few weeks after surgery or until your surgeon advises otherwise.

2. Can I use a heating pad to relieve shoulder pain while sleeping?
It is generally not recommended to use a heating pad immediately after surgery, as it can increase swelling and inflammation. Consult your surgeon before using any heat therapy.

3. Is it normal to experience difficulty sleeping after arthroscopic shoulder surgery?
Yes, it is common to experience difficulty sleeping due to pain, discomfort, or the required sleeping position. Following the tips mentioned above can help improve your sleep quality.

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4. How long does it take to recover from arthroscopic shoulder surgery?
Recovery times vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. It may take several weeks to months to regain full shoulder function.

5. Can I sleep on the side opposite to my operated shoulder?
Sleeping on the side opposite to your operated shoulder is generally safe, but ensure that you are comfortable and not putting any strain on your shoulder.

6. When can I stop using a sling or brace while sleeping?
Your surgeon will provide specific guidelines on when to stop using a sling or brace while sleeping. It is usually recommended to use them for the first few weeks after surgery.

7. Should I avoid sleeping on a pillow?
No, using a pillow is essential to support your shoulder and maintain a comfortable position while sleeping. Ensure that the pillow is adequately cushioned to provide the necessary support.
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