Getting meniscus surgery could result in pain, discomfort, and worry during sleep. Should you sleep with your leg raised? What if you fall asleep and bend it? Whatever your concerns are, it is possible to have a comfortable and restful sleep after Meniscus surgery.
After Meniscus surgery, the best way to sleep is on your back with your knee elevated but not bent. You could also sleep on the non-operated side using a pillow between your knees for cushioning.
The meniscus cartilage is located in your knee and works as a shock absorber. A physician or doctor recommends surgery when there is a visible tear. Healing time lasts a month, with total removal taking less time than a meniscus cartilage repair surgery. However, full recovery after meniscus surgery could last six months.
This article reveals what to expect after meniscus surgery and tips on how to sleep after the surgery;
What To Expect After Meniscus Surgery
The road to recovery after meniscus surgery is accompanied by pain, swelling, and knee stiffness. In addition, it is difficult to straighten your leg since it feels hard. Some patients also experience leg numbness around the incisions or cuts on the knee. All these make it difficult for the patient to get comfortable sleeping post-surgery.
Doctors advise more bedrest or general rest to help with the pain, numbness, and reduced mobility.
How Does Meniscus Surgery Affect Sleep?
Trying to fall asleep with a painful knee and an uncomfortable sleeping position is difficult. In addition, you might frequently wake up at night, decreasing your sleep quality. Sleep deprivation could heighten your stress levels, lower your concentration, and promote mood shifts.
In the long term, such sleep deprivation could further affect your health. For instance, you could get heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. These might make sleeping harder since you keep stressing, leading even further to sleep deprivation. It is why knowing how to sleep well after meniscus surgery is vital.
How To Sleep After Meniscus Surgery
Most patients experience postoperative anxiety when leaving their hospital beds despite being advised on how to sleep post-op, reality kicks in when you struggle to sleep. Yet, rest is essential in the healing process after meniscus surgery.
So, how do you sleep? Here are sleeping positions and tips to improve your sleep quality and lead to better rest post-op;
Sleep On Your Back With Your Leg Slightly Elevated
The healthiest sleeping position after meniscus surgery is sleeping on your back with your leg slightly elevated but unbent. It promotes your natural spine alignment and blood circulation, reducing swelling and knee pain.
Also, lying on your back with your knee elevated but unbent lowers possible knee movements and tension. It reduces the chances of accidental bleeding and infection, leading to a faster healing process.
We recommend using a firm but comfortable pillow underneath your knee to elevate the operated leg. Alternatively, elevate both legs using a pillow, a folded blanket or towels, or an old mattress. Place these under your ankles or calves for support, elevation, and comfort.
Side-Sleep On The Non-Operated Side
Try sleeping on the non-operated side if back-sleeping is not ideal in your case. Place a pillow or a folded blanket between your legs to cushion the operated leg. Such also stabilizes the surface and prevents the operated leg from crashing onto the mattress, resulting in further pain.
Avoid bending your knee in this position since it could worsen the pain and reduce blood circulation. If you think maintaining this would be difficult, prop your leg by placing a soft blanket between your legs.
Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach
Doctors and physicians discourage stomach sleeping after meniscus surgery since it puts excessive pressure on the operated knee. Such pressure could increase the pain level and reduce blood flow in the area, leading to injury and swelling. It could also force the incisions to rupture, re-injuring the knee.
We, therefore, advise all stomach sleepers to adopt back sleeping or side sleeping during recovery time.
Sleep On An Adjustable Bed Or A Reclining Chair
Meniscus surgery makes your affected leg immobile. It makes it hard for you to get in and out of your standard bed. However, sleeping on an adjustable bed or a recliner reduces your chances of straining, which could injure your knee.
Also, most adjustable beds and some reclining chairs have a zero-gravity mode feature that enhances blood circulation in your sleep. Such fastens pain and tension relief, improving comfort, restful sleep, and better sleep quality, resulting in quicker healing.
Use A Mattress With The Proper Firmness Levels
Different sleeping styles require different mattresses for ideal comfort and restfulness. Patients sleeping on their backs require medium to medium-firm mattresses to support and mold their natural curves. Contrarily, side-sleepers need a softer mattress. However, a mattress that is too soft may fail to offer the proper support and contouring for comfortable sleep.
We recommend getting memory foam, latex, or hybrid with memory foam mattresses since they offer contouring support, comfort, and breathability. They also alleviate pressure and have minimal motion transfer, reducing sleep disturbances and promoting restful sleep.
Use Clean And Dry Bandages
Check and regularly change the dressing around the affected area and keep it clean and dry before bed. Keeping your operated knee clean and free from moisture reduces re-infection chances. This last check before bed promotes comfort, leading to better sleep.
Cold Therapy Using Ice Packs
Cold therapy works by relieving pain, swelling, inflammation, and tenderness. The reduction in pain and inflammation allows you to fall asleep faster and leads to a restful night's sleep.
To apply cold therapy on the affected knee, wrap a pack of ice in a clean towel. Gently massage it on the affected area until you feel relief.
Please note that doctors and physicians discourage using ice packs or a frozen cold compress directly on the affected area. Doing so could damage your skin and tissues.
Practice Relaxation Techniques Before Bed
Incorporating relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine relieves stress and improves your ability to have a restful sleep. Start by having breathing exercises where you take deep breaths at least thirty minutes before sleep. Inhale via your nose and exhale via your mouth ten times to reduce anxiety, improve blood circulation, and reduce pain.
Another form of relaxation is taking a warm shower at least thirty minutes before bed. Such reduces stress and relieves pain, leading to improved sleep. Other forms of relaxation include practicing meditation and reading a book before bed.
Build A Proper Sleep Schedule
It is common for most patients to sleep a lot after experiencing tiredness and drowsiness after anesthesia. However, taking several long naps during the day could disrupt your natural sleep and wake cycles. Such promotes sleep deprivation during nighttime. It is why you should schedule sleep time after meniscus surgery.
We advise taking naps during the first half of the day. Indulge yourself in brain-engaging activities in the afternoon to avoid taking naps. Also, being around people in the afternoon and evening reduces your chance of sleeping. Other tips include exposure to sunlight during the daytime and limited screen time and noise in the evening.
Take Pain Medication As Prescribed By Your Doctor
Doctors inform meniscus surgery patients to expect pain as part of healing. Thankfully, they prescribe pain medications for pain relief during the healing process. However, do not stop taking your prescription pain medication because you are out of pain.
Also, check with your doctor to see the suitability of the medication before introducing a new one. Combining some medicines could lead to health implications.
Getting quality and restful sleep after meniscus surgery can be difficult. However, finding ideal sleep positions, investing in adjustable beds and proper mattresses, and incorporating pain relief hacks help.
Feruza is a mom and a blogger. She had a neck pain for 15 years, which made her interested in everything about pillows.
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