Sleeping with a broken pelvis requires special precautions and support equipment to speed up the healing process and reduce recovery time. Pelvic injuries can be painful and result in restless sleep when lying in bed at night. A lot of people especially elderly canâ€™t sleep due to pain and the fastest way to heal and start walking after pelvic fracture is to make sure that you get enough bed rest and sleep well at night.
The pelvic girdle is one of the essential parts of the body that bears our body weight at night and ensures that we achieve a harmonious sleeping position. Your life after pelvic fracture treatment can get better if you get adequate rest, sleep properly and take proper precautionary measures.
What Happens When You Have A Fractured Pelvis?
Our pelvis consists of inter-paired bones named pubis, ilium and ischium bones. These are clenched together in place by solid ligaments, enveloping them into a butterfly-like structure that supports our legs and spinal column. Pelvis also takes care of our abdominal organs and reproductive parts.
Having a pelvic fracture means that more than one bone has been broken due to severe trauma. It can also be caused by minor trauma in case you have already weaker bones. The treatment often depends on the type of fracture you have. However, in order to ensure a speedy recovery, make sure you get enough sleep.
How to Sleep Comfortably with a Fractured Pelvis?
Invest in specialized pillows and position them properly to support your pelvic area. Try to sleep on your back and make sure that you are not sleeping on the edge of your bed. If you canâ€™t sleep due to pain, here are some tried and tested tips you can use to comfortably sleep after a broken pelvis treatment.
1. Use pillows for support
Use pillows in between your legs to avoid any twists or turns in your pelvic area if you are sleeping on the side. A knee pillow would serve the purpose. Make sure the pillow is parallel to the knees of both legs and your back is completely straight.
Additionally, if you are sleeping on your back, you can use a wedge leg pillow beneath the knees to support your pelvis. These triangular shaped wedge pillows offer excellent support while you sleep with a pelvic fracture.
2. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back is a good sleeping position to let your fractured pelvis heal faster. This position will not put much pressure on your cracked pelvis and internal organs supported by the pelvic floor. It will regulate smooth blood flow towards the injury if you keep your legs slightly elevated using an elevating leg rest pillow.
Sleeping on your back will also allow you to stay in a stable position which will help fractured bones to join properly.
3. Sleep in the middle of the bed
In case you have a habit of rolling a lot in bed, itâ€™s better to sleep in the middle. Sleeping on the edges of the bed can cause a fall which could be fatal for the pelvis. You can use pillows or cushions to cover your sides as a precautionary measure.
However, this position can also make it hard for you to roll out of bed in the morning. If that happens, you can slip out of the bed by putting your weight on the forearms and moving your bad leg with the help of a gait belt.
4. Use painkillers as advised by your doctor
Pelvic fracture is undoubtedly an agonizing experience. Depending on the amount of pain and pre-existing health conditions, your doctor will prescribe the proper medicine.
In a minor pelvic injury, there will be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. For some fracture pains, medicine like Acetaminophen can work. If the pain doesnâ€™t subside, your doctor might prescribe you a much stronger medication for initial weeks.
Why Is Broken Bone Pain Worse At Night?
There are two explanations for worse bone pain at night. Firstly, it can be due to our mindâ€™s complete attention diverted to the injury.
Secondly, it can be due to the inflammation caused by healing tissues that bring the cells to work in the injured area. This process may keep you in pain at night resulting in a sleepless night. However, you can take a relaxant or sleeping pill on the advice of your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to sit comfortably with a fractured pelvis?
With a fractured pelvis, you are not supposed to put your entire weight on the hips in the first few weeks as it can lead to severe hip pain. When trying to sit, first put your hands backward on the arms of the chair to shift some weight off your body.
Try not to sit completely on your buttocks. Keep some of your weight on the arm by being slightly raised from the seat. Do not sit on overly stuffed, low or soft seats. Keep your body and knees straight at a 90-degree angle while sitting. You can also learn some load-bearing techniques from your physiotherapist.
Can you walk with a fractured pelvis?
Depending on the type of fracture you have had, your doctor will suggest you to not put weight on your pelvis while walking. You will be given crutches, a wheelchair or a stick to move around.
Although bed rest is crucial in the recovery process, staying completely immobile will harm your fracture by creating blood clots and muscle weakness. So it is recommended to walk around lightly.
Can a fractured pelvis heal itself?
In case of a minor injury, the pelvis will generally heal itself in the matter of a few weeks. In fact, most people suffering from pelvis fractures recover without any surgery because either the fracture occurs in a less dangerous area of the pelvis or the break is in the bones that are interconnected. But in case of a severely traumatic event, the pelvis fracture will need surgery to avoid any life-threatening condition.
How long does it take to heal a fractured pelvis?
In case of a fracture that doesnâ€™t require any surgical procedure, the recovery will start after 4 weeks. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may be on pain-relieving medication for 4 to 6 weeks.
You may resume your physical activities after 12 weeks post-fracture, after your doctorâ€™s advice. Meanwhile, the fractures that undergo surgery like external fixation may take around 3 to 4 months to heal completely. Also, Pelvis fractures in people with osteoporosis may take longer to heal than healthy adults.
How long does it take to walk after a pelvic fracture?
It depends on your age, health condition and what type of fracture you have had. In case of minor fractures, it will take almost 6- 12 weeks or a little more to be able to move around without any support for minor tasks such as cooking or cleaning. In case of a more severe fracture, it may take a year before you are able to move around freely.
Walking easily after pelvic fracture also depends on whether you are adhering to your health providerâ€™s instructions or not. Regular physiotherapy and a nutritious diet will also help you get on your feet fast.