Sitting with a fractured pelvis can be quite uncomfortable. The pelvic girdle is one of the essential body parts that supports our body weight at night and ensures that we achieve a good sleeping position.
Having a broken pelvis is painful, the good thing is that it will take less time to heal if you rest properly, get enough sleep and take the proper precautionary measures.
What happens when you have a pelvic fracture?
Our pelvis consists of interpaired bones called the pubis, ilium, and ischium. These are held in place by solid ligaments, wrapping them into a butterfly-like structure that supports our legs and spine. The 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 if you already have weaker bones. Treatment usually depends on the type of fracture you have. However, to ensure a speedy recovery, make sure you get enough sleep.
How to sleep comfortably with a fractured pelvis?
When a pelvic fracture heals, bed rest is necessary for a speedy recovery. The sitting or sleeping position should not put too much weight on the pelvis.
It’s important to have someone to watch over you at night, as getting up to fetch water or go to the bathroom will be difficult. In some cases, you won’t even be able to use the bathroom and will need a urinal.
Sleeping in the correct position will protect your organs from further damage and allow more blood to flow to the damaged area . It will ensure that you endure minimal pelvic pain and recover faster. Here’s how you can ensure you get a good night’s sleep with a fractured pelvis:
- Use pillows for support
Using pillows between your legs can prevent any twisting or turning in your pelvic area if you sleep on your side. A knee pillow would serve this purpose. Make sure the pillow is parallel to the knees of both legs and your back is completely straight.
Also, if you sleep on your back, you can use a wedge pillow under your knees to support your pelvis. These triangular shaped wedge pillows offer excellent support while sleeping with a pelvic fracture.
- Sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back is a good position for a fractured pelvis to heal faster. This position will not put much pressure on your fractured pelvis and internal organs resting on the pelvic floor. It will regulate gentle blood flow to the injury if the legs and head are slightly elevated on an elevated leg rest pillow.
Sleeping on your back will also allow you to maintain a stable position which will help the broken bones to heal properly.
- Sleeping in the middle of the bed
In case you have a habit of rolling around a lot in bed, it is better to sleep in the middle. Sleeping on the edges of the bed can cause a fall that could be fatal to the pelvis. You can use pillows or cushions to cover your sides as a precaution.
However, this position can also make it difficult for you to get out of bed in the morning. If that happens, you can get out of bed by putting your weight on your forearms and moving your bad leg with the help of a gait belt.
- 4. Use the medications that the doctor advises
The pelvic fracture is undoubtedly a painful experience. Depending on the amount of pain and pre-existing health conditions, the doctor will prescribe medication to help ease the pain.
In a minor pelvic injury, there will be nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. For some fracture pain, medicine like acetaminophen can work. If the pain does not subside, your doctor may prescribe a much stronger medication for the first few weeks.
Why is hip pain worse at night?
There are two explanations to explain why it hurts more at night. First of all, it may be because our mind’s attention was completely diverted to the injury.
Second, it may be due to inflammation caused by healing tissues causing cells to work in the injured area. This process can keep the pain up at night, resulting in a sleepless night. However, you may take a relaxant or sleeping pill on the advice of your doctor.
Frequently asked questions about sleeping with a broken hip
How to sit comfortably with a fractured pelvis?
With a fractured pelvis, you’re not supposed to put all your weight on your hips for the first few weeks. When trying to sit up, first put your hands behind you on the arms of the chair to take some weight off your body.
Try not to sit completely on your buttocks. Keep some of your weight on your arm by lifting it slightly off the seat. Do not sit on seats that are too full, low or soft. Keep your body and knees straight at a 90-degree angle while sitting. You can also learn some weight-bearing techniques from your physical therapist.
Can you walk with a fractured pelvis?
Depending on the type of fracture you have suffered, your doctor will suggest that you keep weight off your pelvis while walking. You will be provided with crutches, a wheelchair, or a cane to get around.
Although bed rest is crucial in the recovery process, remaining completely immobile will damage your fracture by creating blood clots and muscle weakness. Therefore, it is recommended to walk carefully.
Can a fractured pelvis heal on its own?
In the case of a minor injury, the pelvis will heal on its own in a few weeks. In fact, most people with pelvic fractures recover without surgery because the fracture occurs in a less dangerous area of the pelvis or the break occurs in interconnecting bones. But in case of a severe traumatic event, the pelvic fracture will need surgery to prevent any life-threatening conditions.
How long does it take to heal a fractured pelvis?
In the case of a fracture that does not require any surgical procedure, recovery will begin after 4 weeks. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may take pain relief medicine for 4 to 6 weeks.
You can resume physical activities after 12 weeks after the fracture, based on your doctor’s advice. Meanwhile, fractures that undergo surgery as external fixation may take 3 to 4 months to fully heal. Also, pelvic fractures in people with osteoporosis may take longer to heal than in healthy adults.
How long does it take to walk after a pelvic fracture?
It depends on your age, your health, and the type of fracture you had. For minor fractures, it will take about 6 to 12 weeks or a little longer to be able to move around without any support for minor tasks like cooking or cleaning. In the case of a more serious fracture, it may take a year before you can move freely.
Walking easily after a pelvic fracture also depends on whether or not the doctor’s instructions are followed. Regular physical therapy and a nutritious diet will also help you get back on your feet quickly.