How To Sleep After Elbow Surgery

by | Dec 30, 2023

Getting a peaceful sleep after an elbow can be challenging. We are used to doing everything with the help of our elbow, and why not? It’s the largest joint of our body. Sleeping without touching your fresh wound or putting pressure on it can be hard but not impossible. You can greatly benefit from the following tips:

How Long Does Pain Last After Elbow Surgery?

We all have clumsily hit our elbow on the table while talking or with the door frame while walking through it. And let’s admit, it stings really bad. Imagine getting an incision on it; you can expect discomfort but need to bear it. Just follow the care guidelines of your surgeon and trust the process.
Painkillers are your best friends throughout the recovery period. The pain usually subsides in 2 weeks. However, complete recovery takes 6 weeks, and you can experience improvement with every passing day.

Elbow Surgery Tips to Sleep at Night

  1. Religiously follow your prescribed medication plan. You can reduce the dose with a reduction in pain. For instance, you can go from 2 tablets to 1 upon witnessing an improvement in pain.
  2. Consider putting an alarm clock beside you before you sleep. This will help you take your required dose after the required interval. So, you can wake up the next morning without feeling any pain due to the worn-off effects of your painkillers.
  3. For the first 3 days after surgery, you can apply an ice pack on the surgical site. But remember not to wet the dressing on your wound. You must prevent undressing the wound by directly putting the ice on the skin as your surgical site is sterile. Let it be till your next visit to your medical professional.
  4. An operated hand, elbow, or forearm is vulnerable to fluid buildup. Don’t panic if your hands and fingers are sore. They can also become purple due to blood collected in your soft tissues. To prevent this, keep your elbow elevated with the help of a pillow or cushion while sleeping. Ensure that you rest it higher than your heart so the blood flowing from it doesn’t reach your elbow fast and accumulate there.
  5. You can also wear a sling given to you by your surgeon. You can wear it all the time initially, then wear it less often or upon need.
  6. Ensure you sleep in a comfortable, easy chair or recliner with your hand elevated.
  7. You can also try moving your fingers whenever you wake up at night; this will help reduce the swelling.

Key Takeaway

Going through surgery requires courage, while the healing process requires patience. One needs to have both to make it through their recovery successfully. Push your healthcare provider to give you every single recovery tip to ease the duration of your recovery.
You can consult Dr. Randy Luo at Randy Y. Luo, M.D. He is part of The American Society for Surgery of the Hand and The American Association for Hand Surgery. Call us at (713) 794-3307 to book an appointment.

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