According to research, as many as 18% to 26% of adults suffer from shoulder pain. If you are one of these patients, or if you have an injured shoulder, your doctor may tell you to wear a sling. If this is your first time doing this, you might be thinking, "Can you sleep with the straps on?"
Yes, you can. In fact, even the National Health Service recommends sleeping with a shoulder strap. Your doctor will also give you directions for proper use, especially while you sleep.
How can you sleep with a shoulder strap on?
With your shoulder straps on, sleep on your back in a slightly reclined position. A stack of two to three pillows can provide adequate support for your upper back and injured shoulder. You can also use a small pillow placed on top of your torso to support the arms that restore your mid-shoulders.
Why should you sleep with a shoulder strap?
Medical experts say as many as 4 percent of adults have abnormal sleep movements and behaviors. However, it is more common in children, affecting 15 to 20 percent of minors.
Either way, these "nighttime" events can involve tossing and turning during sleep. All of these exercises can affect the quality of sleep in people with or without injury. For example, they can cause restless sleep and other sleep disturbances.
This means that such exercises can already affect otherwise healthy people. So, imagine what they can do to those who are hurt.
The thing is, fixation is a critical part of soft tissue recovery. For example, immobilizing a sprained or dislocated shoulder can help prevent re-injury. If you limit the movement of damaged tissues, you can reduce the risk of tearing them again.
For a dislocated shoulder, a sling can hold the injured joint in place. Suspension helps to "stick" the shoulders back to their natural position by limiting movement. This also helps prevent further dislocations from occurring.
So, if you toss and turn at night, you're at greater risk of re-injuring your shoulder. That's why you need to use a shoulder immobilizer sling while you sleep. Sleeping with a sling is also important, as the body heals wounds faster at night.
How else can sleeping in a sling help after shoulder surgery or injury?
Since the sling protects your injured shoulder, it can help speed up your recovery. In addition, scientists found that fixation affects healing at the cellular level. They found that exercise restriction changed the way stem cells worked.
Stem cells, in turn, are cells that can develop into many other types of cells. They also act as one of the body's repair systems. It is because of these therapeutic effects that stem cell therapy is gaining popularity.
Sleeping with a shoulder strap can also help relieve pain from involuntary movements. Also, arm slings for shoulder pain can reduce swelling. The researchers also said that sling exercises have the potential to reduce low back pain.
Once you can begin to gradually move your shoulders, the sling helps prevent excessive flexion. It is important to move your shoulder as soon as your doctor allows it, as this is the key to preventing stiffness.
This means you can use the shoulder straps for your workouts, provided it's adjustable. Otherwise, moving your shoulder on an ultra-tight sling could cause it to take more damage.
Slings that are too loose can also increase your risk of re-injury. Without adequate restraint, you may end up hyperstretching the tissues in your shoulder. Since your tissues are still recovering, they are more vulnerable to further damage.
Mobilization can help keep stiffness, but you'll need to get your doctor ok first. This means that you may need to wait one to three weeks after the injury before using your shoulder again.
How long should a sling be used while sleeping?
Immobilization is key during the first to third weeks of acute musculoskeletal injury. These "acute injuries" include minor shoulder sprains, strains and partial dislocations. Proper fixation helps prevent disruption of fibroblast formation.
Fibroblasts are cells that produce collagen. Collagen, in turn, is the main structural protein found in connective tissue. They are important rebuilders of injured tissue, such as a sprain or shoulder strain.
So with a minor shoulder injury, you may have to sleep in a sling for one to three weeks. For more serious sprains, strains, or dislocations, you may need to "sleep hanging" for four to six weeks.
However, if you fracture your shoulder, expect a recovery period of at least 12 weeks. More severe shoulder fractures can take up to 37 weeks or more, some researchers say.
In any case, your doctor will tell you exactly how long you need to wear the sling to fall asleep. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions to avoid re-injury.
How to sleep with a sling after shoulder surgery or injury?
Pillows and adjustable shoulder straps help limit your movement during sleep. However, when it comes to your sleeping position, you may need to change a few things.
You can use the following tips to help you sleep better with a shoulder injury.
ice compress before bed
Ice packs or cold therapy in the first few days after a shoulder injury can help reduce swelling. It can also reduce the pain you are likely to feel after a shoulder injury. Try to ice your shoulders and prepare for bed half an hour before putting on the sling.
keep your back tilted
Your shoulders are naturally higher than your heart. However, lying down puts your shoulders at the same level as your heart. If you sleep on an old mattress, your shoulders may even sink.
The reclined sleeping position helps ensure that the injured shoulder remains elevated. Elevation, in turn, is the practice of positioning the injured area of the body at or above the level of the heart. If you do this in the first few days after your shoulder injury, the swelling will subside faster.
Sleep on your back or on the uninjured side
The fetal position preferred by four in 10 is one of the most common sleeping positions. Foremost is the "log" position, another form of side sleeping, preferred by 15% of the population.
If you are a side sleeper, make sure you sleep on your side without the straps. Hopefully your preferred side is not where your shoulder hurts. Either way, sleeping on your uninjured side can further help elevate the injured side.
To help prevent movement during sleep, place several stacked pillows behind you. These can act as "walls" and help reduce your tossing and turning.
hold up your arms
If you're going to sleep on your back, you can raise your shoulders by placing a pillow over your chest. Slowly lower the injured shoulder to the arm on the mat. Your arms should be placed next to you as comfortably as possible.
To further limit sleep activity, place additional pillows on the side of the injured arm. Like the rear "wall," these extra pads also block abnormal arm movements at night.
Use a suitable sling
Dislocated shoulder rests are better for immobilizing more serious injuries than standard slings. They are better for restricting damaged joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. However, the best still provide comfort through soft and breathable materials.
Invest in adjustable shoulder straps
Adjustability is the key to the perfect strap fit. If you use the adjustable shoulder rest, you don't have to worry about the straps being too tight or too loose. You can avoid excessive compression or accidental excessive flexion of the shoulder tissues.
Also, the higher the flexibility, the more use of the shoulder straps. Remember: After a few days or weeks of rest, you will need to move the injured arm. However, you need to exercise while still wearing the suspenders.
If the sling lacks adjustability, then you may have to buy another sling that will allow you to move more. By buying the right one from the start, you can avoid having to spend more money later.
What should I avoid when sleeping with a shoulder strap?
Improper use of the shoulder straps can cause discomfort or lead to new injuries. These mistakes can also cause fluid and blood to build up in your hands or wrists.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand what these mistakes are so that you can avoid them at all costs. Here are some dos and don'ts when you need to sleep with a shoulder strap.
Over-tightening the sling
If the sling is too tight, it may end up restricting blood flow to and from the injured shoulder. At the very least, this hinders your recovery because the damaged tissue doesn't get enough nutrients. A shoulder brace that is too tight can also pierce your skin, irritating or injuring it.
To make matters worse, chronic lack of oxygen can cause serious damage to your tissues. You may experience numbness or "pins and needles" in the injured arm. If you experience any of these sensations, make sure to release the straps immediately.
If your straps are too loose, then it won't do the job of holding your shoulders in place. It doesn't immobilize your injured tissue, so it may cause more pain and injury.
Remember, new tissue damage is more fragile and more sensitive than fully functional tissue. Therefore, even the slightest movement can damage tissue that is still healing. If this happens, you may feel a tingling or tingling in your shoulder.
Over-reliance on shoulder straps
While shoulder straps are helpful, you shouldn't use them as your only source of healing. You'll still need to ice the swollen shoulder, then switch to heat when the inflammation goes away. You should also ask your doctor if massage is okay for a sprained or strained shoulder.
If your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. However, you should also always tell your doctor if you don't want to take strong pain relievers. It's important to stick to all the other things your healthcare provider tells you to do.
A few days after your injury, your doctor may ask you for a second exam. Be sure to see your doctor, as this is a good time to ask about shoulder exercises. If most of the swelling is gone, you can loosen the sling slightly so you can move your shoulder more.
It is best to mobilize your injury little by little as early as possible medically. This way, you can avoid the formation of excess scar tissue in the shoulder. Scar tissue is often the culprit behind stiffness and pain in the shoulder.
When it comes to mobilization, rely more on your uninjured arm for the first few days after the injury. With your doctor's permission, you can "reuse" your recovering arm for easier tasks.