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That continued disuse of the muscles is followed by a certain amount of atrophy and flabbiness is well known to all of us, and nowhere can we find a better example than in the legs after the patient has lain in bed some weeks.
For many years I have often made it a practice, unless there were contraindications, to order a pillow placed at the foot of the bed a few days after an operation. This pillow can be pushed down between the lower end of the mattress and the foot of the bed, or be firmly fastened to the latter.
The patient is instructed to use this pillow much as one would use a punching bag, and, in addition, the pillow also acts as a fixed point enabling him to push himself up gently in the bed. The frequent punching of the pillow in large measure prevents the muscles
Cullen TS. A PILLOW AT THE FOOT OF THE BED AFTER ABDOMINAL OPERATIONS. JAMA. 1923;80(21):1521. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.26430480002009b
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