Debunking the Myth: Sleeping in a Recliner After Shoulder Surgery
Addressing a Common Post-Surgery Question
Patients frequently ask about the necessity of sleeping in a recliner after shoulder surgery. The straightforward answer is: you never have to, unless you choose to. There’s no medical evidence or literature supporting the idea that sleeping in a recliner is necessary after such surgery. This notion seems to have become a tradition without a solid basis.
Personal Experience and Professional Advice
As a surgeon who has undergone shoulder surgery twice, I can share both a personal and professional perspective. I once tried sleeping in a recliner post-surgery, only to find it uncomfortable and potentially risky, as I almost fell onto my operated shoulder. From this experience, I recommend a different approach.
The Recommended Sleeping Method
- Sleep in Your Bed: There’s a comfort and familiarity in sleeping in your own bed that aids in recovery.
- Use Pillows Strategically: Place several pillows behind your back to create a 20-30° incline, somewhat like a “lazy beach chair” position.
- Prop Up Your Operative Shoulder: Stack pillows under your operated shoulder for support. This position is not as upright as a recliner but allows for comfortable elevation.
The Importance of Comfortable Sleep
Good sleep is crucial for recovery, and many undergo shoulder surgery precisely because their shoulder pain disrupts their sleep. Telling patients they must sleep in a recliner for weeks can be discouraging and counterproductive.
A Systematic Approach to Sleeping with Shoulder Pain
On our website, we’ve detailed articles and videos on how to sleep with shoulder pain, both pre- and post-surgery. This systematic approach helps patients navigate through the night comfortably, whether they’ve had surgery or are dealing with shoulder pain.
Conclusion: Personal Choice and Comfort
Ultimately, the choice of where and how to sleep after shoulder surgery is up to the patient. While a recliner is an option, it’s not a necessity. The method of sleeping in your bed with the support of pillows often proves to be the most effective and comfortable, making the recovery process less painful and more manageable.