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Shoulder PainSleeping is crucial after surgery because it helps the body heal. Unfortunately, many people who have just undergone shoulder surgery struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep due to increased nighttime pain. It will take weeks to months for your shoulder to fully recover after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. You may experience swelling and pain for several weeks, but do not worry because pain is a natural part of the healing process.

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery?

Shoulder arthroscopy surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to identify and treat shoulder injuries that have not improved with nonsurgical treatments. Some examples of nonsurgical treatments for shoulder pain include medication, injections, physical therapy and adequate rest.
Compared to traditional surgery, minimally invasive procedures involve smaller incisions. The size of each cut is comparable to a keyhole. Your surgeon inserts a miniature camera called an arthroscope through that tiny skin incision. This camera beams images of your shoulder joint onto a video screen. Your provider will examine these photos to determine the cause of your injury. If you require a shoulder repair, the surgeon will use tiny surgical tools to restore the mobility of your shoulder.
Arthroscopy shoulder surgery can remove inflamed tissue and can treat the following shoulder injuries:

  • Bone spurs
  • Biceps tendon injuries
  • Injuries to the tissue surrounding your shoulder socket, such as labrum tears
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Shoulder instability, which occurs when the shoulder joint becomes dislocated or loose
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome

Tips to Sleep Better After Shoulder Surgery

There are various reasons why patients have difficulties sleeping after shoulder surgery: when we sleep, we may curl one or both hands underneath our pillow, lie on one side or instinctively go to the fetal position. Your shoulders are put under a lot of pressure in these positions. Additionally, the pain can worsen if you sleep on a mattress that does not provide your body with the support it needs.
The following tips will help you sleep after arthroscopic shoulder surgery:

  • Sleep on an Incline for 4-6 weeks after surgery
  • Avoid sleeping on your back
  • Put some pillows behind you, so you do not turn around at night
  • Purchase a 45-degree wedge from a medical supply store
  • Place a pillow between your torso and healing shoulder
  • Sleep on your uninjured side
  • Wear your sling at night for the first week to protect your shoulder from movement and keep it properly positioned while you sleep
  • Plan your medication schedule, so you take your pain medication about 30 minutes before bedtime. This will help you sleep pain-free.
  • Ice your shoulder before going to sleep to numb the nerves and reduce inflammation. First, wrap the ice pack in a towel and hold it on your shoulder for up to 30 minutes.
  • Try a cold therapy unit, a sleeve that wraps the injured shoulder in a continuous cold – ice-free.

Regain Control of Your Sleep Schedule

You need sufficient rest after surgery so your body can heal effectively. The tips mentioned above can help reduce shoulder pain and improve your sleep. However, if you still have difficulties falling asleep two weeks after surgery, Dr. Jonathan Glashow can help you. He can assess your recovery and create a treatment plan to help you get the rest your body needs. Please contact us today to book an appointment or visit his clinic on the Upper East Side in New York City.

Posted on behalf of Jonathan Glashow, MD

737 Park Ave, #1A
New York, NY 10021

Phone: (212) 794-5096


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