How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis

Words by Leslie Lidot
July 10, 2021
Words by Leslie Lidot
July 10, 2021

Sleeping with a fractured pelvis requires special precautions and support equipment to speed up the healing process and reduce recovery time. Pelvic injuries can be painful and may result in restless sleep and poor sleep quality when lying in bed at night. A lot of people, especially the elderly, find it hard to sleep due to pain. Therefore, the fastest way to heal and start walking after pelvic fracture is to ensure you're getting enough sleep in the middle of the night.

The pelvic girdle is one of the essential parts of the body that carries our body weight at night and ensures that we obtain a suitable sleeping position. Your life can get better after pelvic fractures treatment if you acquire adequate bed rest, sleep properly, and take proper preventive measures.

What Happens If You Have A Fractured Pelvis?

Our pelvis comprises inter-paired bones named pubis, ilium, and ischium bones. These are held together in a place by solid ligaments, surrounding them into a butterfly-like formation that supports our legs and spinal column. Pelvis also takes care of our abdominal organs and reproductive parts.

If you have a pelvic fracture, that means you have multiple fractured bones due to severe trauma. It can also be generated by minor trauma in case you already have weaker bones. The treatment often depends on the type of fracture; however, to ensure high-speed recovery, make sure you get enough sleep.

How to Sleep with a Fractured Pelvis?

Investing in specialized pillows and positioning them well to support your pelvic area is one of the best ways you can quickly recover from a pelvis injury. Try to sleep on your back and make sure not to sleep on the edge of your bed. If you find it hard to fall asleep with pain, here are some tried and tested tips you can use to sleep better after a broken pelvis treatment.

1. Use a specialized pillow for support

Placing pillows in between your legs helps avoid twists or turns in your pelvic area while sleeping on your side. Thanks to its contoured and ergonomic design, a specialized pillow, like the ComfyCentre Orthopedic Knee Pillow, is the ideal solution for this. This knee pillow serves its purpose by allowing your legs to parallel your knees and keeping your back straight and aligned with your natural spinal curve. This pillow slightly separates the legs, reduces the bottom leg's pressure, and offers excellent support while you sleep with a pelvic fracture.

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If you toss and turn around your bed at night, avoid sleeping near the corners where one wrong move or sudden movement causes you to fall over and intensify the injury—instead, try sleeping adjacent to the wall or in the middle of the bed. You could add pillows on your sides for additional safety.

You can test different knee pillows to find the suitable one with the right thickness to place between your legs comfortably.

You can check this in-depth guide for more information:

2. Change your sleeping position

Most combination sleepers tend to switch positions through the night. If you have an injury, you may want to alternate positions, as sleeping in the same position may lead to soreness over time. You have to learn to shift your body weight safely when switching your sleeping position to avoid worsening a fractured pelvis. Use your arms to hold your body and turn gradually to your new position. If your mattress is too firm, switch it to a lighter but supportive one, such as a memory foam design. Otherwise, you can invest in a mattress topper for a softer sleeping surface that will absorb your body weight to lessen the pressure exerted on your pelvis and hips. Also, avoid innerspring mattresses to decrease pressure points.

3. Sleep on your back

Sleeping on your back is an excellent sleeping position for a speed-up recovery on your fractured pelvis. Experts recommend this position to elevate your legs and improve blood circulation to the healing pelvis to speed up recovery.

This position doesn't put much pressure on your cracked pelvis and internal organs held by the pelvic floor. It will regulate stable blood flow towards the injury if you keep your legs slightly elevated using a specialized pillow.

Sleeping on your back also provides you a stable position, which helps fractured bones to attach accurately.

4. Leave the dim light on

A bedroom with a relaxing ambiance provides a comfortable environment that will help you sleep. Using dim lighting and aromatherapy essential oils create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. Turning off electronic devices and keeping the room dark also minimize disruptions.

Create a routine by sleeping and waking up at the same time daily. Try avoiding alcohol and stimulants that will interfere with your natural sleeping pattern and make you tired the next day.

5. Sleep by yourself

When you sleep alone, you avoid the person sleeping next to you from bumping into your fractured pelvis when they turn in bed. It also reduces interruptions when your partner gets out of bed. Sleeping alone also allows you plenty of space to try out the best sleep positions that prevent strain in the healing tissues.

6. Use medications advised by doctors.

Pelvic fracture is unquestionably an excruciating experience. Depending on the amount of pain and pre-existing health conditions, your health care provider will prescribe the proper medicine. Doctors most likely prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, and bed rest for fast pelvic fracture recovery. More severe injuries may require physiotherapy, crutches, or surgery.

Why Does Fractured Bone Get Worse At Night?

There are two reasons why injured bone gets worse at night:

Firstly, it can be due to our mind's full attention diverted to the injury.

Secondly, it can be due to the pain caused by healing tissues that carry the cells to work in the injured area. This procedure may keep you in pain at night, making you sleepless at night—however, relaxants or sleeping pills (should be advised by your doctor) can help lessen the pain.

When Does it Stop Hurting?

if surgery is not required, the recovery period generally takes 4 to 6 weeks but will also depend on the level of your injuries. Suppose you had surgical procedures for your pelvic fracture; this may prolong recovery time to a minimum of 3 months, with severe injuries up to a year before you can resume back to your routine. Some other factors that will influence the healing time are your age and any preexisting health conditions such as osteoporosis which deteriorates bone tissues. 


Can a fractured pelvis heal itself?

If the case is a minor injury, the pelvis will generally heal itself in a matter of a few weeks. Most people suffering from pelvis fractures recover without surgery due to the fracture occurring in a less dangerous part of the pelvis or within the tear in the interconnected bones. In a severely traumatic event, the pelvis fracture may require surgery to avoid any life-threatening condition.

Can you walk with a fractured pelvis?

Depending on the type of fracture, your doctor will recommend not exerting weight on your pelvis while walking. Using crutches, a wheelchair or a stick helps you move around.

Although bed rest is critical in the recovery process, staying completely immobile will impair your fracture by creating blood clots and muscle weakness. Thus, light walks help prevent these circumstances.  

How to sit comfortably with a fractured pelvis?

It would be best not to put your entire weight on the hips in the first few weeks if you have a fractured pelvis, as it can lead to severe hip pain. As you sit, put your hands backward on the arms of the seat to shift some weight off your body.

Try not to sit entirely on your buttocks and keep some weight on the arm by being lightly raised from the seat. Avoid sitting in overly filled, low, or soft chairs. Position your body and knees straight at a 90-degree angle while sitting. 

Final Thoughts

We have covered several methods on how to sleep with a fractured pelvis without pain. As long as you avoid putting pressure on the recovering tissues and you follow your doctor's advice, your recovery process will not be too soon.

Remember, rest is a crucial component for healing and recovery. If you find it hard to sleep at night, make sure to take in a few naps throughout the day in an elevated position.


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