How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis: Easy Steps to Comfortable Recovery

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Last updatedLast updated: April 30, 2021
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If you have been worrying about the best way to sleep with a fractured pelvis, then you have come to the right place. A pelvis consists of a group of bones interconnected in a butterfly shape. They include the pubis, ischium and ilium joined with ligaments to support the intestines, rectum, bladder, spine and legs. The pelvis also protects our reproductive and abdominal organs. Due to weak bones, people with osteoporosis may be predisposed to minor injuries from sudden movement, athletic activities and minor falls. However, majority of pelvic fractures are a result of impact at high speed. This is why most cases occur from falling from a height or from a car accident. Bearing in mind that the pelvic girdle supports our body weight in bed, learning the best way to sleep with a fractured pelvis will alleviate pressure to speed up recovery and help you sleep comfortably.

Why does it cause so much pain at night?

How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis: Easy Steps to Comfortable RecoveryPelvis fracture ranges from mild injuries to severe trauma that breaks more than one bone. The pain is worse at night mainly because there are no daytime activities to distract you, so your mind focuses on the injury. The pain also results from inflammation as the tissues heal. Taking a recommended sleeping pill or relaxant would help with this.

How to sleep with a fractured pelvis

One of the best ways you can quickly recover from a pelvis injury and avoid further damage to your organs is by getting plenty of bed rest. This means sleeping in a position that does not place too much pressure on the pelvis. It also means limiting your movements so you don’t have to constantly get out of bed to go to the toilet. The following are some of the ways you can enjoy restful sleep when you have a fractured pelvis:

Don’t forget to take your medicine

Your health provider will likely prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicine and bed rest which you should take religiously for fast recovery. More serious injuries may necessitate physiotherapy, crutches or surgery.

You can speed up healing by avoiding activities that strain your pelvis and the surrounding muscles and by restful sleep provided by supportive pillows and a slightly firm but comfortable mattress. Consult with your health provider on proper pain management, physiotherapy and a healthy diet.

Try sleeping on your back

How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis: Easy Steps to Comfortable RecoveryExperts recommend sleeping on your back to elevate your legs and improve blood circulation to the healing pelvis for quick recovery.

Back sleepers can take pressure off the pelvis by placing a pillow under the knees to keep your back flat. This helps by reducing weight on the lower back and hips. You will also need to sleep with a pillow to support your neck.

Other ways you can reduce the strain on your hips and pelvis is by using your forearms to get out of bed or a seat. Avoid soft, heavily-stuffed seats and chairs with a low seating surface because they require more effort to stand up. Consider a tilting chair that allows you slide out easily, or one with adjustable height and angle for the armrests. The latter will help you use your forearms to support your upper body while sitting. To get into a seat, support your weight by placing your hands backwards on the armrest and lower yourself gently into the seat. While sitting, make sure your knees are at a right angle to your body.

Change your sleeping position carefully

Most people are combination sleepers who switch positions through the night. You may also want to alternate positions when you have an injury because sleeping in the same position may lead to soreness over time. This is why you need to learn how to shift your body weight safely when changing your sleeping position to avoid worsening a fractured pelvis. Use your arms to support your body and turn gradually to your new position. If your mattress is too firm, change it to a softer but supportive one such as a memory foam model. Alternatively, you can invest in a mattress topper for a softer sleeping surface that will absorb your body weight to reduce the pressure exerted on your pelvis and hips. Also avoid innerspring mattresses to reduce pressure points.

Get a knee pillow or a wedge pillow

You need minimal movement, and one method to achieve this is by wedging a pillow between your knees and ankles when sleeping on your side and by keeping your back straight and aligned with your natural spinal curve. The pillow should be positioned parallel to your knees. This slightly separates the legs and reduces the pressure on the bottom leg. You can test out different pillows to find the one with the right thickness to comfortably place between your legs.

If you sleep on your side, make sure you minimize twist and turns in your pelvis area. A specialized pillow, like the Calming Comfort Cooling Knee Pillow is the ideal solution for this thanks to its contoured design.How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis: Easy Steps to Comfortable Recovery

If you toss and turn around the bed at night, avoid sleeping near the edges where one wrong move could make you fall over and aggravate the injury. Sleep next to the wall or in the middle of the bed. You could add pillows on your sides for additional safety.

Use a bedpan

To avoid frequent trips to the toilet at night, keep a bedpan close by. The best bedpans for someone with a fractured pelvis are smaller and tapered so they can slide under you from the front without you having to turn your body to use them.  They also feature convenient handles.

Leave a dim light on

A bedroom with good ambience provides a restful environment that will help you sleep. You can do this by using dim lighting and aromatherapy essential oils that create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. You can also minimize disruptions by turning off electronic devices and keeping the room dark.

Create a rhythm by sleeping and waking up at the same time daily. To successfully achieve this, avoid alcohol and stimulants that will disrupt your natural sleeping pattern and make you groggy the next day.

Other tips for rejuvenating sleep are reading a book or taking warm showers before bed.

Sleep alone

This is recommended to avoid a sleeping partner bumping into your injured pelvis when they turn in bed. It also limits interruptions caused by a partner getting out of bed. Another advantage of sleeping alone is that you have plenty of space to try out the best positions that will not strain the healing tissues.

When will it stop hurting?

The recovery period will depend on the degree of your injuries, but the process generally takes 4 to 6 weeks if surgery is not required. If you have had surgical procedures for your pelvic fracture, this may extend recovery time to a minimum of 3 months, with severe injuries taking even a year before you can resume your normal routine.  Other factors that will affect the time it takes you to heal are your age and any preexisting health conditions such as osteoporosis which degrades bone tissues. CNN reports that advanced age increases the risk of fractures due to frailty and dementia.

Final thoughts

We have covered different methods of how you can sleep with a fractured pelvis without discomfort. As long as you avoid exerting pressure on the recovering tissues and you follow your doctor’s advice, you should soon be on your way to recovery.

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