Last Friday night I slipped on some ice, fell straight backwards, put my left arm back to catch myself and broke my humerus just below the shoulder, also spraining my wrist. I was prescribed oxycoton for pain, but now that’s run out, and there is NO comfortable position for sleeping. I am seriously considering whacking myself in the head with a crowbar to knock myself out. Anyone have any tips for pain management/ sleeping with a broken arm?
Did they at least try to restore the arm to a somewhat “normal” position before sending you out?
Last year, I twisted and broke my humerus, and I ended up at interned at the hospital. No amount of drugs that they gave would stop the burning/prickling sensation. By the time they got around to putting my arm in a somewhat normal position, bandaging it, and securing it to my body, I’d had… a lot of drugs to be left to my own devices (I live alone).
I’m sorry to say, though, I couldn’t sleep at all that night, even though the arm felt better.
Hope you feel better and you get your arm bandaged and/or surgerized properly soon!
No suggestions (well, one) but I hope you get some more meds soon. Ibuprophen probably better than nothing.
Sounds awful. Good luck!
Ouch :(. As KarlGrenze asked, did they at least set the arm? I have to assume they did but just in case… if the arm is that painful, it might be worth checking with the doctor to see if it should still be this hurty all the time.
More immediately: Pillows are your friend. Use them to prop yourself on your side (good arm down of course) and keep you from rolling around too much. Use them to prop the bad arm in a less-painful position.
Ibuprofen and/or Tylenol can be helpful; you can even take both (this was advised when my kids were spiking high fevers as toddlers) though I don’t know if that will give better pain relief.
Have you called your doctor and asked for more pills or another prescription?
I broke my right radius a few years ago, and can recommend packing pillows around you to prop your arm into such a position that it feels better. You might also feel better if you’re able to wear a sling, adjusted so that it holds your arm in a position that’s better.
Aleve (naproxen sodium) is also a nice OTC pain med. I used it after throwing up the Vicodin I was prescribed.
But seriously, check with your doctor. My initial sets of x-rays (two different hospitals - ER and the orthopedist) were misleading as to the nature of the break. A follow-up X-ray a few weeks later had the orthopedist walk into the exam room and tell - not ask - me, “You’re still in pain.” I said yes, and he showed me the new x-ray, which clearly showed the break under the wrist-end of the bone actually went diagonally up and out the end of that bone, such that the wrist bones were rubbing on the broken ends of the radius whenever I moved my fingers.
This was the first time I’d broken anything major, so I’d just sucked up the pain and dulled it with Aleve. It’s quite possible it is normal for your break to still be hurting, but the doctor should be able to advise you on pain relief and/or write you a new prescription.
You should be able to get more oxy without too much difficulty.
Ask for more drugs if OTC doesn’t help - obviously broken bones is not drug seeking behavior - adequate pain control is the bugaboo of the DEA. Doctors don’t want to be seen as being a Dr Feelgood, which leads to inadequate pain control.
When I broke a collarbone and some ribs, I felt like I would never be comfortable again. I ended up in some hypermess of pillows propping everything up. Only reason I was happy that my roomie of the time Pam had a thing for those heaps of throw pillows that you have to take off the bed to make enough room to sleep.
Of course, you could do the floatation tank thing, but after 8 hours in hypersaline you would either be really pruny or a mummy …
Ouch. Sounds like a similar break to my sister’s a few years ago. She slipped on the ice, too. They never casted her, and she ended up not needing surgery although if the bone ends had shifted farther than they did before knitting, that was a possibility.
She ended up sleeping in a La-z-boy for a couple of weeks. Stretched out, it cradles you better than a flat bed, and you won’t roll over and wake yourself up. And they gave her Percocet which knocked her out, after the first painkiller they gave her didn’t really work for her. If you’ve been given painkillers and they aren’t working, don’t be shy about asking for something different.
Oooh, I feel your pain. (As I sit here with my Orthofix bone growth stimulator 5.5 months after I broke my humerus.)
Sleep–propped up on pillows is your best bet, as others have said. I used a rolled sleeping bag at the base, then a couple pillows and a quilt to get good support. Covered it all with a sheet that I could wash easily.
When I was feeling slightly better, I still slept propped up but rolled onto my side, with an extra pillow in front of me to rest my bad arm on.
The first week-10 days was extra rough. Put on music (earphones are probably going to be tricky), doze to the TV, whatever you can to at least nap in bits.
I gave up on the prescriptions after a few days because I wasn’t a fan of the concomitant constipation. I do love the gelcap ibuprofen though.
Good luck and ask if you need any more “tips.” (ex: dry shampoo or cornstarch can be your friend for clean hair shortcuts).
Ya know, I’m going with “surgery wasn’t so bad then”, although the first two weeks between fracture, hospital, surgery, and getting the soft bandage off, and the next two of “relearning how to use my arm” were not the best. I couldn’t imagine NOT being able to use my arm, even for simple things, longer than what I did.
That said, if you’re in pain, go get checked/get a better prescription. FWIW, I was advised to limit my daily NSAID intake if I was taking my Vicodin. No more than 800mg, IIRC, but a pharmacist or doctor could give you better guidelines.
So you are saying you want to lose your sense of humerus?
Too early??? Hey, we’re 11 posts in.
There’s nothing funny about a broken humerus.
Why is it whenever you want to make a pun, you eagerly read the thread getting more excited with each post that hasn’t made the joke yet, and then the very last post uses the pun!
I always find that… funny… as well. (I may just explode trying to hold that one in).
I feel for you, I broke my radius and ulna, didn’t know about it and tried to sleep.
I remember well the burning dull ache that broke me out in sweats and made me want to toss and turn but then kindly reminded me I couldn’t.
I took some mild painkillers and that had bugger-all effect.
I then remembered some strong codeine left over from an abcess.
ooooooooooo! lovely, lovely codeine! a pink glow enveloped me and I slept like a baby. The pain was still there but it was almost like it was locked in a painproofed box. Wierd.
It was then that I realised that I’d probably broken my arm.
I feel your pain. A year ago I snapped off the top of my wristbone. I had a cast for 79 days and after decades of sleeping on my stomach with my arms on my side, quickly earned to sleep on my side, fetal position, with my casted arm above my head.
My doctor suggested taking Aleve becauswe it reduces swelling. Also, combining different types of pain relievers (like asprinis & Tylenol) increases the pain killing effect, along with washing them down with caffeine.
Good luck to you.
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