Did you just have surgery and are looking for an orthopedic wedge pillow? Keep reading to learn which wedge pillows are helpful after some of the most common surgeries.
After any type of back surgery, an orthopedic wedge pillow or pillow(s) are a must. Positioning your back optimally while you sleep will help your body heal correctly and help you recover faster. Which one you need depends on whether you sleep on your back or on your side.
Back sleepers will need a knee wedge pillow. Elevating your legs on knee wedge pillow takes away the arch in your lower back that happens when you lie flat. Eliminating this arch allows the muscles in your back to rest and keeps your spine in a neutral position. This position allows for optimal spinal healing and restoration.
For side sleepers, a side sleeper system is best. A side sleeper system consists of a leg separator pillow, a side sleeper wedge, and a supportive neck wedge pillow. Sleeping with these three pillows maintains a straight spine and balances your muscle tension. This way, your muscles are not rotating your spine while you sleep.
After knee surgery, the best orthopedic wedge pillow is a contoured leg wedge pillow. The initial goals after any knee surgery are to
- Decrease the swelling in your leg
- Achieve full range of motion in your knee
- Re-gain full strength in your leg
An orthopedic wedge pillow can help you achieve these goals. Elevating your legs 15-20 minutes, several times a day, can help reduce swelling. The faster the swelling is eliminated, the faster you regain your range of motion and progress to strength training. This helps maximize your rehabilitation potential.
The contours in a leg wedge cradle your entire leg to avoid any pressure points or sore spots. The gradual incline helps restore your ability to straighten your knee all the way. Initially, if you are unable to straighten your knee completely, you can place a small rolled up towel under your knee until you are able to straighten your knee completely on the wedge.
After shoulder surgery, you won’t be able to sleep flat on your back. The pressure on your shoulder when lying flat makes flat-back sleeping unbearable for a time. The best way to get sleep after shoulder surgery is by sleeping on a 12-inch orthopedic wedge pillow. Sleeping on this amount of incline decreases pressure on your shoulder and helps make sleeping easier.
After any sort of chest surgery, open heart surgery for example, an orthopedic wedge pillow is a great sleep aid. For one, sleeping at an incline will help you get into and out of bed. It also helps improve circulation which promotes healing and recovery.
Hip surgery is similar to knee surgery in that the goals immediately after surgery are to decrease swelling and gain mobility. The best way to do this is by sleeping on a knee wedge pillow. Resting your legs on a triangular shaped knee wedge decreases tension on your hip flexors, places your back and hips in a neutral position, and promotes circulation.
An orthopedic wedge pillow is an important tool to have after any surgery to ensure you have a speedy recovery!
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy