I hate having a shoulder brace on when I sleep. But, I’ve discovered there’s more than one good reason to wear it every night.
Originally, Morgan had taught me how to wrap my shoulder so I could workout without causing more pain in my left shoulder. It sort of hurts more than I let on – there’s always a low level, dull ache in it. I only worry about it when I do something that makes it hurt worse (like stupid stuff when I work out, or a graceless landing while jumping on the trampoline with Morgan and Michal’s kids). I’m fairly stoic about the whole thing. I’ve had surgery on it before, but managed to tear it up again six months after the surgery, so I don’t plan on having it worked on again (until cartilage regrowth comes to the US. Then, I’ll reconsider it. And, along with the torn cartilage, I’ve also had some arthritis in that joint since I was in my 20’s, caused by the same damage.)
After a while of using the shoulder wrap technique, I decided to invest in two things: a compression shirt, and a shoulder brace. The brace was Morgan’s idea – it wouldn’t be possible to work out with it on, but I could use it when I’m sleeping, or at my desk. The compression shirt was my idea, and it was for when I was working out.
I haven’t worked out in 10 days, unfortunately (today was the last day of my antibiotics for a completely different issue), so I can’t say much about the long term effectiveness of it, but it worked out fairly well before that.
The real winner, with an unexpected side effect, is the shoulder brace every night. It’s uncomfortable as hell, and it makes it really hard to get to sleep – I’m usually laying there an hour or two before I finally fall asleep. But, the next day, the dull ache will be gone almost all day. I can still do things that cause it to hurt (see example in the second paragraph about trampolines) so it’s not a cure all.
The big win, though, is all about sleep. I’ve had problems waking up in the morning for a long time now. I snooze the alarm over and over, or I just sleep through it. Morgan took to hiding an alarm clock in my room, because I slept through easily through my other alarms.
I don’t do that anymore. I don’t sleep through the alarm, I don’t even bother hitting snooze – for the last two weeks (except once), I’ve just went ahead and got up; I was fully rested. (That “once”, by the way, was the night I forgot to put my shoulder brace on before going to sleep.)
I’m going to take a wild guess that the pain I was experiencing in my sleep (I’d wake up with my shoulder hurting beyond the dull ache more and more often) was affecting the quality of my sleep. It’s ugly, it’s constricting, it’s uncomfortable, it’s hard to get to sleep with it on, but at this point I don’t think I’ll try and sleep without it again anytime soon. I’m really liking the good night’s sleep I get 🙂