A wooden bed filled with blue pillows

Recommended Sleeping Strategies After Rotator Cuff Surgery

A wooden bed filled with blue pillows

Are you concerned about sleeping comfortably after rotator cuff surgery? As the site heals, finding the right position can be difficult. This is especially true in the first few days after surgery, when you may still have some pain. Try these recommended sleep tips to help you get the rest you need during your recovery period and facilitate proper healing.

Sleep at an Angle

The best position for sleeping after shoulder surgery is on an incline, rather than flat on your back. For the first few days, you’ll probably be most comfortable upright on a recliner. Once you return to your bed, try using an angled wedge pillow to keep your upper body sloped at about 45 degrees, or stack a few pillows to create a similar effect. Place another pillow under the back of the affected arm to help keep it aligned correctly. Proper positioning for four to six weeks following rotator cuff repair helps keep the shoulder healthy as it heals.

Take Pain Medication as Prescribed

Following post-operative instructions carefully is an important factor in the healing process. Taking prescription pain relievers or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications as directed helps minimize discomfort after shoulder surgery. For best results, time a dose of the medication to be taken shortly before you go to sleep.

Wear Your Sling

The sling keeps the shoulder immobilized to help it heal properly and prevent further injury. Wearing the sling at night helps prevent you from rolling onto the affected area or into a position that damages the shoulder.

Use Cold Therapy

Applying an ice pack shortly before bedtime can control pain that may limit your sleep. This strategy often provides relief by reducing inflammation. Wrap the ice in a towel before placing the pack on the affected shoulder for about 15 minutes.

K. Mathew Warnock, MD is an orthopedic surgeon in Houston who helps area patients recover from injuries to the rotator cuff and other joints. If you’ve experienced an injury, contact our office at 281-807-4380 to schedule an appointment.

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