Trust your gut instinct Pillow advice for sleep after shoulder surgery

Posted by ssbionicknee @ssbionicknee, Jan 12 3:17am

I had shoulder surgery to repair 3 torn tendons and the bicep muscle. I have posted in here several times about the pain that I was still feeling and have gotten some good advice, but the doctor insisted that I was fine. My surgery was in Oct. 2018. In December 2019, I finally got the doctor to send me for an MRI on my shoulder. They found that one of the tendons had torn again. I was told I needed surgery again and that the bicep muscle was fully healed and had nothing to do with the issue. I realized that I had lost all faith in this doctor, so I went to another surgeon, for a second opinion, one that had an excellent reputation and specialized in the issues I was having. He was wonderful. He very carefully went over all my MRI’s, worked with the shoulder to see where the pain was. I told him that my bicep mucle was still hurting and he looked at it and pressed on a spot that was extremely painful, He then told me that it was the bicep muscle that was hurting alnog with the re-torn rotator cuff. I just want to encourage some of you who find yourself in a position where the doctor is not listening to you and you know something is not right, it is time to get a second opinion. I am so glad I did!! While this doctor agrees that I need to have it repaired again and soon, he addressed all my issues and concerns that I had. He told me that My bicep muscle needed to be lowered because it had been stretched too far and that is why I had been is so much pain. So, I will be scheduling surgery on Monday. I am not looking forward to it because I know it will be painful and a slow healing process, but I feel that I can trust this doctor and that he will listen to any concerns I have. I do have one questionabout sleeping after the surgery. I know may people recommend sleeping in a recliner, however, I was not comfortable I was wondering if there was a body pillow or something you had used to help you sleep at night. Any tips wold be appreciated And trust your instincts, you know your body better than anyone.

@ssbionicknee I don't really know anything about shoulders but I want to wish you well with your upcoming surgery.
Also, I agree with how important it is to find a doctor who you have confidence in and trust. Let's face it, all doctors are not created equal, some are better than others. I am really glad that you found one in whom you have confidence. I will be looking forward to hearing how the surgery goes.
JK

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Hi! I don't recall how I slept when I had my shoulder surgery. I do recall my broken ribs 15 years before that! If you can sleep on the side of your good arm, with your bad arm secured across your chest, it could work, assuming the arm is not too heavy to be in that position. You might need a few assorted pillows for support, and just see what works. You would also want to get out of bed on the side of the good arm. I have found that finding "comfort" is rather elusive the first few days, and just not being uncomfortable is about as good as it gets. Unless you have problems with opiods, use the pain meds, at least before going to bed. Glad you found a better doctor – best of luck in the procedure!

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@ssbionicknee I am sorry you were not listened to but happy you have found a good doctor that will. In terms of sleeping, I know many recommend getting a wedge pillow so they can still sleep in their bed. I had cervical spine surgery on Dec 19th and have been sleeping in a recliner ever since (and even before). My right shoulder has a torn rotator cuff that needs surgery but I needed to address the neck first, as it has caused issues with my left shoulder/arm and I will need it when my right shoulder is in the sling. I am praying my cervical spine related issues resolve soon and that it truly was causing my left shoulder issues. I have several tears in that shoulder but they are partial and two physical therapists, the shoulder doc and the spine surgeon all said it the shoulder was not the source of my issues and that nothing needs to be done about them. I trusted these specialists and went ahead with an ACDF C4-C6, yet I still have issues. Having said that, I'm still very early in recovery process so I am praying as time goes by the issues go away. I really need right shoulder surgery so the sooner I recover the better. I am getting another MR Arthrogram on the left shoulder though for peace of mind. My shoulder doc wouldn't authorize it and is making me come back in the middle of next month first. I have a great relationship with my primary care doc and was able to get him to authorize it and I am having it done in a few weeks. 😁 Hoping it shows what the one in the summer did. It's being done at a different facility with a different machine. If it shows a full tear I will be crushed, as that will mean both shoulders will need surgery. Anyway, I ordered a wedge pillow online after it was recommended in a Facebook group for rotator cuff issues. I haven't used it yet and just sleep in the recliner, as I need to figure out how I want to adjust it with my pillows. You'll still need one for your head and some put one under their post-op shoulder as well. It keeps you elevated but not as much as the recliner and you are in your own bed. I am so tired of the recliner. Oh and some put a pillow under their knees when using the wedge pillow to help support the lower back. This is the one that I have. There is a smaller piece that can be removed to lower it slightly if the angle is too high. Hope this helps some! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GL2CPYT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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I have a question what is an ACDR procedure done on your cervical discs? What type of cervical surgery did you have? And why?
I'm asking because I myself have issues with pain & all sorts of nerve damage as a result of degenerative disc disease, multiple d I SC herniations with pinched nerves thru my entire spine. It has started to affect my elbows, wrists, hands & fingers & yes my shoulders too. So when I read this post I was interested in finding out what type of surgery you had gotten. We are all different & yet soo alike. But there are too many differences to list as to which nerve does what? So I'm curious what type of surgery u had. & also hope u feel btr sooner.

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@msstoppainnagginme

I have a question what is an ACDR procedure done on your cervical discs? What type of cervical surgery did you have? And why?
I'm asking because I myself have issues with pain & all sorts of nerve damage as a result of degenerative disc disease, multiple d I SC herniations with pinched nerves thru my entire spine. It has started to affect my elbows, wrists, hands & fingers & yes my shoulders too. So when I read this post I was interested in finding out what type of surgery you had gotten. We are all different & yet soo alike. But there are too many differences to list as to which nerve does what? So I'm curious what type of surgery u had. & also hope u feel btr sooner.

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@msstoppainnagginme I had surgery to put a spacer at my C4-C5 and C5-C6 and then a titanium plate was used as part of the fusion. Over time the spacers will fill in with bone and be fused, so to speak.They went in through the front of the neck versus the back, which is safer in terms of the spinal cord being avoided. I had bone on bone at the C5-C6 and two herniations C4-C5/C5-C6. Also had two bone spurs removed and a little stenosis causing narrowing of the foramen. My symptoms were primarily on the left side with left shoulder issues, a painful spot in the upper left shoulder blade, left hand and fingers would sometimes tingle. Occasionally the right hand would do so as well. This developed about four years ago and I had several opinions on it. An orthopedic doc wanted to operate on it and my lower lumbar, as it had issues too. I then went to a neurosurgeon and he said no way to the lower lumbar but that he might entertain the idea of the cervical spine if my arm started to have issues functioning. I did some PT which only minimally helped. Eventually, symptoms went away. For whatever reason, they returned this past summer and were worse. Went to another neurosurgeon and he recommended the ACDF. I had already tried two months of prescription anti-inflammatories, an oral steroid pack, two epidural injections and three sessions of traction. He felt surgery was the only option. Oh and my neck did not have it's natural curve. It was more straight with one vertebra shifting almost the other way. He fixed that during surgery and said the way it had been was setting myself up for more herniations. I don't know if you are on Facebook or not but there is a great group of people with cervical spine issues that are very helpful. The Mayo Clinic Connect is also great but if you want additional insight, request to join this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CervicalDiscACDFSURGERY/

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@amywood20

@msstoppainnagginme I had surgery to put a spacer at my C4-C5 and C5-C6 and then a titanium plate was used as part of the fusion. Over time the spacers will fill in with bone and be fused, so to speak.They went in through the front of the neck versus the back, which is safer in terms of the spinal cord being avoided. I had bone on bone at the C5-C6 and two herniations C4-C5/C5-C6. Also had two bone spurs removed and a little stenosis causing narrowing of the foramen. My symptoms were primarily on the left side with left shoulder issues, a painful spot in the upper left shoulder blade, left hand and fingers would sometimes tingle. Occasionally the right hand would do so as well. This developed about four years ago and I had several opinions on it. An orthopedic doc wanted to operate on it and my lower lumbar, as it had issues too. I then went to a neurosurgeon and he said no way to the lower lumbar but that he might entertain the idea of the cervical spine if my arm started to have issues functioning. I did some PT which only minimally helped. Eventually, symptoms went away. For whatever reason, they returned this past summer and were worse. Went to another neurosurgeon and he recommended the ACDF. I had already tried two months of prescription anti-inflammatories, an oral steroid pack, two epidural injections and three sessions of traction. He felt surgery was the only option. Oh and my neck did not have it's natural curve. It was more straight with one vertebra shifting almost the other way. He fixed that during surgery and said the way it had been was setting myself up for more herniations. I don't know if you are on Facebook or not but there is a great group of people with cervical spine issues that are very helpful. The Mayo Clinic Connect is also great but if you want additional insight, request to join this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CervicalDiscACDFSURGERY/

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@ssibonicknee

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@ssbionicknee : scanned some replies.. had 2 shoulder repair surgeries ( right shoulder bone spurs, torn rotator cuff, bicep tendon frayed beyond repair and cut, other shoulder only bone spur, rotator cuff tear). From day one I was able to sleep in a bed with lots of strategic, little, built up pillow areas around the shoulder. For me it was much better to sleep in a bed on a level surface and to support the shoulder, as opposed to “sleep” in a recliner. BTW, we bought one just for me, just for the post surgery. Never ever used it, not even for just sitting there. Grandkids love the swivel motion, though.

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