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We have an affiliate relationship with and receive compensation from companies whose products we review on this site. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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When Can I Sleep on My Shoulder After Surgery?

Shoulder surgery is a common procedure performed to treat various conditions such as rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocations, and shoulder impingement syndrome. After undergoing surgery, patients often wonder when they can resume their normal activities, including sleeping on their shoulder. In this article, we will discuss when it is safe to sleep on your shoulder after surgery and answer some common questions related to this topic.

Recovery time after shoulder surgery can vary depending on the specific procedure performed and individual factors. However, it is generally recommended to avoid sleeping on the operated shoulder for at least six weeks after surgery. This is to allow the tissues to heal and prevent any unintentional stress or strain on the surgical site.

Now let’s address some common questions related to sleeping on your shoulder after surgery:

1. Why is it important to avoid sleeping on the operated shoulder?
Sleeping on the operated shoulder can put pressure on the surgical site, leading to discomfort, pain, and potential damage to the healing tissues. It is crucial to allow the shoulder to heal properly before applying any stress or strain.

2. How can I sleep comfortably during the recovery period?
During the initial recovery period, it is recommended to sleep on your back or the opposite side of the operated shoulder. Placing a pillow or cushion under your arm may provide additional support and comfort.

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3. When is it safe to start sleeping on my shoulder again?
Most patients can start sleeping on their shoulder after six weeks post-surgery. However, it is essential to listen to your surgeon’s specific instructions as individual recovery times may vary.

4. Can I use a shoulder brace while sleeping?
A shoulder brace may be prescribed by your surgeon to provide additional support and stability during the recovery period. It is crucial to follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding the use of a brace while sleeping.

5. What if I accidentally sleep on my operated shoulder?
While it is best to avoid sleeping on the operated shoulder, accidental movements during sleep can happen. If this occurs, it is essential to reposition yourself as soon as you become aware of it. However, if you experience persistent pain, discomfort, or any unusual symptoms, it is advisable to consult your surgeon.

6. Will I experience any pain or discomfort while sleeping on my shoulder after surgery?
It is normal to experience some pain or discomfort during the initial recovery period. However, as the healing progresses, these symptoms should gradually diminish. If you experience severe or worsening pain, it is important to consult your surgeon.

7. Can I resume all sleeping positions after the recovery period?
Once the recovery period is over and you have received clearance from your surgeon, you can generally resume all sleeping positions. However, it is essential to listen to your body and avoid any positions that cause discomfort or pain.

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In conclusion, it is crucial to allow ample time for the shoulder to heal before sleeping on the operated shoulder after surgery. Following your surgeon’s specific instructions and being mindful of your recovery timeline will contribute to a successful and comfortable recovery. If you have any concerns or questions regarding sleeping on your shoulder after surgery, it is always best to consult your surgeon for personalized guidance and advice.
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