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a design targeting the radiology of a humerus fracture

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How to sleep with a fractured shoulder?

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Sleep plays a crucial role in allowing the body to rest, relax, and process all information learned throughout the day.

It also helps to promote healing at a cellular level, regulates key hormones, and leaves a person to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated to tackle the day.

A broken bone can impact many areas of a person’s life, including sleep. Polysleep, your Canadian mattress company, is here to help you better understand how to sleep with a broken humerus.

What is a humerus fracture?

The humerus is the largest upper extremity bone in the body. It serves as an attachment point for 13 muscles and provides movement of the upper limb through hand and elbow movement.

Though the humerus bone is very strong, no one is immune to a break. A fractured humerus occurs when the humerus bone experiences excess force, causing the bone to break in one or more places.

A humerus fracture is often the direct result of a traumatic injury like a car accident or fall.

Treatment varies depending on the type of break, the severity of the injury, and if surgery is required.

While a fractured shoulder accounts for less than 10 percent of all broken bones, it is a serious injury that can take several months to heal.

Causes and symptoms of a broken humerus

The humerus bone is one of the strongest bones in the human body and requires extreme force to fracture or break it.

A fractured humerus is almost always the direct result of a traumatic injury from a car accident, a fall from extreme heights, or an injury from contact sports like football.

Women and adults over 40 years of age are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a serious condition that often shows little or no symptoms.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition resulting in weakening bones that are more susceptible to sudden or unexpected fractures and are often not diagnosed until a fractured bone occurs.

Symptoms of a fractured humerus include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Being unable to move the limb as usual
  • A deformity or abnormal bump
  • A feeling of the bones grinding with movement
Radiology doctor looking at x-rays of senior woman in private clinic or hospital.

An x-ray is required to diagnose a humerus fracture. This diagnostic test allows your doctor to visualize the injury, determine if the injury is proximal or distal, assess the alignment of your shoulder and humerus bone, and determine the direction of the break.

If you have a broken humerus, there is a high probability of damage to the surrounding tissue, nerves, muscles, and blood supply.

A treatment plan is formulated based on the results of diagnostic tests and if the surrounding tissue is involved.

How to sleep with a broken humerus?

A fractured shoulder impacts many areas of a person’s life, especially when it comes to finding a comfortable sleeping position.

People often worry about worsening the injury throughout the night or simply cannot sleep due to the pain. The experts at Polysleep have a few tips to help you sleep better with a broken humerus.

Adjust your sleeping position

After a traumatic injury, pain, and swelling are to be expected. Though swelling is normal with most injuries, it can increase the amount of pain felt and slow the healing process.

Doctors recommend elevating the injury throughout the night to reduce swelling and limit the amount of blood pooling at the break.

The best position to sleep with a fractured shoulder is sleeping upright with adequate support to the affected extremity.

This can be achieved by sleeping in a recliner or by propping yourself up in bed with extra pillows. Many people place pillows on both sides of them to limit movement throughout the night and utilize a memory foam pillow beneath the fractured humerus to ensure adequate support and cushion.

Manage pain

Pain is inevitable following a traumatic event or injury like a humerus fracture.

Regardless of the type of fracture, whether it be an open or closed fracture, if it requires surgery to correct placement or the involvement of surrounding nerves and tissues, pain medication is often prescribed by your doctor to alleviate pain.

Some people try to wait as long as possible before taking medication. However, the pain medication should be taken as directed during the first few weeks following the injury.

If you do not follow the prescribed medication schedule, it can take longer for the drug to take effect leaving you in pain longer.

Once the break has healed a bit, you can switch to over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Create a peaceful sleeping environment

Healthy sleep is hard to get in an unhealthy sleep space. Life with a fractured humerus makes it difficult to get out and run errands, go to work, or do other normal activities, leaving a person more likely to lounge around and watch television or play games on a cell phone or tablet.

Though this is fine during the day, the blue light being emitted from the screen stimulates brain activity and affects the brain’s ability to produce enough melatonin, allowing you to fall asleep.

It is recommended to cut screen time 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime for optimal sleep.

Other helpful tips include:

  • Sleep comfortably in loose, breathable clothing to avoid overheating. Wear clothing that is easily put on and taken off, like a button-down shirt
  • Maintain your normal bedtime and bedtime routine as best as possible
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature

Sleeping with a spouse while you are recovering from a fractured shoulder can make it nearly impossible to sleep soundly. From worrying that your partner will worsen the injury or that their movements may make it harder for you to get comfortable, it might be better to sleep alone for the first few weeks.

Takeaway

Learning how to sleep with a broken humerus can seem difficult but supporting the injured limb should remain a priority.

A memory foam mattress with a supported frame can provide adequate support to the fractured humerus while also keeping you comfortable throughout the night.

While a mattress seems like a luxury purchase, your overall health starts with healthy sleep. A body that does not get adequate rest cannot promote healing and restore the body to prepare for the next day.

Nurse with hand resting on a patient's shoulder in hospital

At Polysleep, we have curated the perfect mattresses that allow for sound, healthy sleep night after night.

Our products are made with high-quality antimicrobial foam material designed to reduce allergens, provide exceptional support, and prevent premature mattress sagging when cared for appropriately.

Sleeping with a fractured humerus may seem difficult, but it is not impossible. With our high-quality mattress options and a 100-night trial period, you can test the mattress worry-free to decide if it is right for you.

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