Tips for Coping with a Shoulder Sling

Tips for Coping with a Shoulder Sling

Coping with a Shoulder Sling

One may be asked to wear a shoulder sling for various reasons. Basically, a shoulder sling will help support your arm after an injury or surgery. While some people may be asked to wear it only for a short duration, some others may be asked to wear it for several weeks.

No matter how you ended up wearing a shoulder sling, living with it is not easy at all. In the following article, let’s learn some tips to cope up with a shoulder sling here:

Follow Your Physician’s Instructions:

Your physician will provide you with specific instructions about wearing a shoulder sling. If you had a surgery, you are more likely to wear the sling until the follow-up appointment. From there, you will slowly reduce the sling use.[1]

While you are healing from an injury or surgery, you may only require it while you are awake, at nights, or as needed.

shoulder sling

General Hints of Having a Shoulder Sling:

While having a shoulder sling on, it’s recommended that you move your fingers and wrist many times a day in order to avoid stiffness.[2]

If you had a surgery, you may be asked to wear a shoulder sling for nearly 4 – 6 weeks post surgery. During this period, you must dress the operated arm first. While undressing, it’s the reverse, you must undress it last.

For safety purposes, it’s better to avoid stepping into or standing in a bath while having your sling on. If you do, using a non-slip mat is recommended. However, your healthcare provider will provide you with the bathing instructions.

Wear the Sling Properly:

It’s important that you wear the shoulder sling properly in order to avoid blood and/or fluid buildup in the hand or wrist. It should be used properly in order to prevent worsening of the injury.

To make sure you wear the sling properly, you must have the sling’s strap to go from the elbow of the affected arm, across the back to the shoulder of the opposite arm, and across the chest to the wrist of the affected arm.

While putting it on, make sure that the hand is at or above the elbow level.

For further confirmation, you can have your doctor review your sling instructions with you.[3]

Wear Suitable Clothing:

When it comes to dresses, you are recommended to use loose clothing that buttons down at the front side or those tank tops with larger sleeves. While using a shoulder sling, try to avoid those clothing with tiny buttons, hooks, or zips. For women, wearing a bra may be uncomfortable. They may use a strapless one or the one with the front fastening. For the bottom, it will be better if you use track pants or those pants with elastic waists.

Get help getting dressed:

For the first few weeks, try to get help from your near and dear ones for getting dressed. However, being able to get dressed on your own will depend on the severity of your injury. If you had a mild injury, you will not have any problem with getting dressed on your own. If you had injured your dominant arm, fasteners can be a problem. You may need help with this.

Dressing without help:

If you are dressing without help, you must always start from your operated arm. By sitting on the edge of a chair with the arm tucked into the waist, slide the operated arm into the clothing. Once it’s fully in, bring the clothing around the back and then, put the other arm in.

Don’t reach back with the operated arm.

The fasteners should be fastened only with the un-operated arm. After dressing the upper body, keep your arm in the sling again.

Alter the way you sleep:

It can be hard to get comfortable sleeping with a sling. To avoid discomfort, try propping the arm with pillows or propping the entire upper body. You can also try sleeping on your back or in a reclining chair.

If nothing works for you, speak to your doctor to confirm if it’s really important for you to sleep with a sling.









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