Wedge Pillow Articles

Knee Replacement Wedge Pillow: Prepare for TKA

Knee Replacement Wedge Pillow: Prepare for TKA

Before your TKA (total knee arthroplasty) surgery, you might begin to feel a little anxious about your recovery. Keep reading to learn why using a wedge pillow after knee replacement is key to your success.

Why use a wedge pillow for knee replacement?

A wedge pillow for knee surgery is one tool that will help aid your recovery. After the procedure, your entire leg will be swollen. Elevating your legs will aid your body in eliminating leg swelling. The quicker the swelling goes down, the quicker your recovery will be. Elevating your legs for 15-20 minutes, several times a day will aid your body in eliminating leg swelling.

Another way to utilize a wedge pillow after knee replacement is to perform simple exercises while you elevate. When you perform exercises on your wedge pillow (like ankle pumps and ankle circles) it helps the swelling go down even faster.

The knee replacement wedge pillow can also be moved down towards the foot of the bed and used as an ankle prop. Resting with your heel on the wedge and leg as straight as possible, though uncomfortable, is essential. This position will stretch the back of your knee so it will eventually be straight. As you advance, you can perform ankle pumps and ankle circles in this heel prop position.

A wedge pillow for knee replacement also helps to prevent back pain. For the first few weeks after surgery, you will be spending a more-than-normal amount of time in bed. Lying flat in bed can increase tension on your low back and hips. Resting the weight of your legs on a wedge pillow will immediately take pressure off your back. 

When sleeping at night, sleep with your non-surgical leg on the leg wedge pillow and your surgical knee extended on the bed. This will relieve your back and allows your surgical leg to be straight. Prop your surgical leg on the wedge pillow for 15-20 minutes when, or if, you need relief.

When elevating on a wedge pillow, elevate 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, and be sure to flex and extend your knee in between! After any knee surgery, especially a total knee replacement, it is very important to get your full range of motion back. You will want to avoid lying in bed with your knee bent for long periods of time. Moving your knee regularly is the fastest way to recover! 

Returning to side sleeping using after a knee replacement

Immediately after surgery it will be difficult to get into a side lying position. However, after a few weeks you might be wanting to return to sleeping on your side. You will not be able to sleep on your side without a between the knees wedge pillow. The pressure of one knee on top of another, without a pillow, is often unbearable.

You are going to want to have a leg separator pillow. Not just any leg separator pillow. Look for one that is long, running at least from your pubic bone to past your feet. It should support your top leg so that it is parallel with the bed. Your hip, knee, and ankle should be the same height. This ensures your back and hip muscles are completely at rest. It will also provide cushion for your knee.

Need help with knee extension?

A leg elevation pillow with contours can help if you find yourself struggling with knee extension. The contours cradle the natural shape of your legs while keeping your knee in an extended position. This position can also improve circulation and reduce swelling in your leg.

A knee replacement wedge pillow helps you recover from your knee surgery. Do everything you can to prepare by getting tools you need to guarantee your success!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

A Wedge Pillow for Hip Pain Can Help You Sleep

A Wedge Pillow for Hip Pain Can Help You Sleep

A wedge pillow for hip pain is a valuable tool to help you sleep comfortably no matter your hip diagnosis. As a physical therapist, I will show you how a hip pillow wedge will help you sleep better.

When looking for a hip wedge pillow, look for one that properly aligns your hip, leg, and ankle. This is the most important aspect of a hip pillow wedge whether you have bursitis, arthritis, a total hip replacement, ITB syndrome, etc.

Hip wedge pillow for side sleepers

For side sleepers, a hip wedge pillow can also be referred to as a between your knees wedge pillow. When sleeping on your side, your injured hip should be the hip on top. In other words, you should not be lying on your injured side. The danger is, at this point most people will say “oh yes, I stick a pillow in between my knees when I sleep."

It is not good enough to just stick any old pillow between your knees. A wedge pillow for hip pain should run at least from your pubic bone to past your feet. It is critical that your entire leg be supported, I cannot stress this enough. Additionally, the thickness of a regular pillow or even a standard "body pillow" does not provide adequate support for your leg.

When lying on your side correctly with a hip wedge pillow, your hip, knee, and ankle should rest at the same height. Your knee should not slope down in relation to your hip and the same principle with your ankle. When your entire leg and hip are completely parallel to the bed, your hip and back muscles will be completely relaxed. There will be no pulling, tension, or rotation to cause your hip to hurt.

To effectively combat hip pain, a hip pillow wedge should be used in conjunction with a side sleeper wedge. A side sleeper wedge will return your low back to a neutral position. You do not have a straight spine when you lie without lumbar support because your spine curves to compensate for the surface of your bed. When your spine is allowed to curve, pressure immediately disperses to both hips, leading to soreness, stiffness, and pain.

Hip wedge pillow for back sleepers

A wedge shaped pillow for hip pain will look different for back sleepers. All back sleepers, but especially those with hip pain, should avoid lying flat on their backs. Most people have an arch in their back when they lie flat. This arch causes the muscles in your back to tighten and increases the pressure on both of your hip.

To solve this, use a knee wedge pillow that is at least 8 inches high. When a wedge pillow is supporting the weight of your legs, the arch in your low back disappears. Your spine and hips return to a neutral position. The pressure you felt in your low back and hips disappear.

Whether you use a wedge pillow for hip pain to sleep on your back or a wedge pillow for hip pain to sleep on your side, you can find a way for your body to sleep comfortably!

A Wedge Pillow For Snoring

A Wedge Pillow For Snoring

Is a wedge pillow for snoring the answer to minimize this annoying and potentially dangerous nightly occurrence? Let’s learn why an elevated pillow for snoring can help decrease this annoying action by first learning why we snore.

Why do you snore?

To successfully pick out an elevated pillow for snoring, it helps to know why you snore. If you think about it, no one snores when they are awake. This means that snoring has something to do with sleeping. When you sleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax. If the muscles in your throat cannot keep your airway open when you breathe in, your airway narrows, leading to the vibration we know as snoring.

Snoring happens most often when sleeping flat on your back. When you sleep flat on your back, it is more difficult for the muscles in your throat to overcome the narrowing of your airway when your throat muscles relax. Sleeping on your back also reduces your lung volume.

Do wedge pillows help with snoring?

A bed wedge for snoring will keep you lying on your side and slightly elevated. This position puts you in optimal alignment to minimize snoring. When you lie on your side, your airway is less likely to collapse. In addition, lying in an elevated position increases your lung volume, making it easier to breathe.

This means the best wedge pillow for snoring is a contoured incline pillow for side sleepers. Choose an inclined pillow with strategically placed curves that support your waist, hips, and low back. Find one that is also topped with memory foam to eliminate any pressure points. The more comfortable you are on your side, the easier it will be able to sleep on your side full time.

leg separator pillow is also helpful when you sleep on your side. This pillow supports your low back, hip, knee, and foot in a way that allows your spine and hips to completely relax. It will help keep you on your side by minimizing your body's urge to turn over to your back.

After using a wedge pillow for snoring, get ready to wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the day!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Discover The Best Sleeping Position For Sciatica!

Discover The Best Sleeping Position For Sciatica!

Once you learn the best sleeping position for sciatica, you will be able to sleep comfortably again! Sleeping positions for sciatica will vary depending on whether you prefer to sleep on your side or on your back.

The best way to sleep with sciatica; for side sleepers

If you are a side sleeper who sleeps without a side sleeper wedge or leg separator pillow, you are contributing to your sciatic or low back pain. When you lie on your side, the area from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your pelvis is unsupported. This causes your spine to bend. Resting in this position all night exacerbates sciatica, disc injuries, and other forms of back pain.

The solution to this is to sleep with a side sleeper wedge. A side sleeper wedge will support the curve of your waist. It maintains the alignment of your spine and allows your discs to rehydrate and nerves to rest all night. This is essential for all side sleepers.

Additionally, side sleepers should sleep with a leg separator pillow. Not just any leg separator pillow, but one that runs from your pubic bone to past your feet. It should also be supportive enough that it keeps your knee and foot at the same height as your hip.

You will notice, if you lie on your side without the correct pillow between your knees, the outside of your hip is higher than your knee, and your knee is higher than your ankle. This downward angle from your hip to your ankle pulls on your back and hips all night. This can lead to pain and stiffness in the morning. A leg separator pillow will eliminate the downward angle as well as the muscle tension so you wake up limber and ready to move.

The best way to sleep with sciatica; for back sleepers

If you sleep on your back, do not sleep flat with your legs straight. For most people, sleeping flat on your back causes your low back to arch. This leads to tight low back muscles, uncomfortable discs, and waking up with stiffness and pain. It can also aggravate sciatica.

For back sleepers, the best way to sleep with sciatic nerve pain is to sleep with a knee wedge pillow. The additional support under your legs eliminates the tension in your back and hips. This will relieve sciatic pain and allow you to sleep comfortably.

Now that you know the best sleeping position for sciatica for both side sleepers and back sleepers, you can get a good night’s rest no matter which way you like to sleep!

Sleep Better With an Acid Reflux Sleeping Wedge!

Acid Reflux Sleeping Wedge

Have you been suffering from GERD or acid reflux? If so, keep reading to learn how an acid reflux sleeping wedge can help you sleep again!

What causes acid reflux?

To understand how a reflux sleeping wedge can help you sleep comfortably, it helps to know what causes acid reflux or GERD (chronic acid reflux) in the first place. Your lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to keep food and stomach acid in your stomach. Sometimes, this valve can weaken, allowing stomach contents back into your esophagus. This can lead to heartburn (burning in the middle of your chest) or regurgitation (tasting food or stomach acid).

Recommendations for a wedge pillow for acid reflux

A bed wedge for acid reflux is highly recommend by gastroenterologists to help combat acid reflux symptoms while sleeping.  The wedge should elevate your head 6 to 8 inches. Lying on a slight incline makes it much more difficult for stomach acid to escape back into your esophagus.

Reflux sleeping wedge for back sleepers

For back sleepers, I recommend starting with an acid reflux sleeping wedge that is 7’’ tall. This height falls directly in the middle of the physician recommended height and will work well to increase your sleeping comfort. Always place a pillow behind your head while you lie on your elevated pillow so that your neck is comfortable.

Acid reflux wedge pillow for side sleepers

A contoured, side sleeping wedge is a great option for side sleepers. The strategically placed contours support your waist and hips while you incline. A side sleeping wedge also works well for pregnant women who want to sleep on their side. It supports their belly and decrease their reflux.

You may need to look for a reflux sleeping wedge that is taller if you are overweight or have difficulty breathing when you lie flat on your back. For either of these circumstances, you may consider a 10’’ or 12’’ incline bed wedge. If you are a pregnant back sleeper with acid reflux, you will want to try a 12’’ incline bed wedge.

An acid reflux wedge makes it possible to sleep with heartburn, giving you more energy during the day to do what you love!

Wedge Pillow Benefits You Should Take Advantage Of

Wedge Pillow Benefits

Sleeping on a wedge pillow benefits your joints, muscles, and whole body in general. Let’s discuss just a few ways a wedge pillow can help you.

Benefit #1: combatting acid reflux

The first benefit of sleeping on a triangle wedge pillow is its ability to combat GERD and acid reflux. By elevating your upper body at least 7’’, you make it substantially harder for stomach acid to backflow into your esophagus. An incline pillow will offer you immediate relief and improved sleep quality whether you suffer from hiatal hernia, GERD, or acid reflux.

Benefit #2: decreasing sinus drainage

The second benefit of sleeping on an incline wedge is its ability to decrease sinus drainage and improve breathing quality. Because your head is elevated on a wedge pillow, your sinuses drain with the assistance of gravity. This works well for anyone with asthma, allergies, or any sinus and breathing difficulties.

Benefit #3: help with sleep apnea and snoring

The third of many benefits of sleeping on a wedge pillow is it can assist with sleep apnea and decreasing snoring. Look for a contoured upper body wedge which will support your torso fully so you can sleep comfortably on your side. Sleeping elevated and on your side positions your throat muscles in a way that can lessen snoring and improve breathing quality.

Benefit #4: relieve back pain

A fourth benefit of sleeping on a wedge pillow will highlight the use of a knee wedge pillow. An under knee wedge pillow will support your legs while sleeping on your back. Sleeping with your legs elevated at least 8 inches will relieve back discomfort and pain. Even if you are not currently experiencing back discomfort, you should never sleep flat on your back because of the strain it puts on your lower spine.

Benefit #5: improve circulation and decrease swelling

Finally, the fifth benefit of sleeping on a wedge pillow is its ability to reduce swelling. A leg elevation pillow that is contoured, will cradle your legs above your heart and allow gravity to assist the fluid out of your legs. You can comfortably recline for 15 minutes at a time or rest there all night and feel the difference it makes in your legs.

A wedge pillow is an effective, all-natural home remedy for many different conditions. They also are great positional tools to support your body in the best position while you sleep.

There are so many wedge pillow benefits, hopefully you can take what you learned and figure out which wedge pillow or pillows are right for you!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy