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Who else has PAINFUL mornings after fusion?????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello ALL...I am just wondering if anyone one else has alot of pain when then get out of bed in the mornings?? I absolutly dread getting up now...it has been over 8 weeks since my level 2 L4-S1 fusion and it has been going fairly well but the mornings are bad!!

I am still on Percocet 5's but only take 2 a day....I walk every day...

So what I NEED to know is ...does it ever go away?? What has been your experiance with the morning PAIN??

Thank you all ahead of time;) ♥♥♥



  • Polly, I usually feel best in the morning. I wonder if it is your bed or how you are sleeping. I am farther along in progress than you are but I have been good in morning for a while, curious to see other responses. Do you have any arthritis? Also have you started any PT or anything new? Just wondering if these could have an impact. I hope it improves for you, that is an awful feeling to not want to get up.
  • Hello Seeking;)

    I have not been able to start PT because of $$$ problems;(I do alot of just simple stretching cause my muscles want to scream:(LOL

    I do have arthritis in my lower back...do you think that could be making the pain worse??

    I switch from sleeping on my left side with pillow between legs to my back but not for long on the back...kinda uncomfortable;)LOL

    Do you know of any good stretches??
  • Hi Polly,

    Yes, mornings are the worst right now. I also dread getting up, but laying there hurts too after I wake up. It still hurts to turn over or just get straight ton my back. I'm going on 12 weeks postop this week. I have osteoarthritis and I do think that makes it worse for us. We've had all the impact from the surgery healing and then the fusion going on (which is inflammation). I've also read BMP makes things swell while it's really hopping inside growing bone, so we just can't win.

    I still have a big bulge at L3/L4 that's pushing a nerve root and I think that causes some pain with some movements. Once I'm up for awhile, hot shower, get dressed though, the pain dies down some.

    I did PT for 6 visits and that did really help with some stiffness and spasming, altho I still get those too.

    Good ole Arthur though....
  • PT had me doing hamstrings...lay on your back with one leg straightup and bend back your toes towards you feeling the burn and just hold that for 5 counts, then do the other leg. They also tried me sitting on a table with one leg hanging off and one stretched out in front of me, then not bending, but sorta leaning toward the stretched out leg.

    Standing in front of the dresser and going up on your tippy-toes 20 times.

    Laying on your back and squeezing the bottom and holding 5 secs for 20 times.

    Laying on back, bending knees up some with feet on the floor and dropping one knee at a time to the outside slowly.

    Laying on back, and press your navel to the floor (or that feeling), crunching your stomach down, pushing your back flatter and holding for 3 secs. 20 times.

    Those were the ones I did in PT that are supposed to stretch out our back muscles and strength the core. I'm sure there are many more others have done, but those I really felt when I concentrated on them and I still do them at night in bed after work and kids and everything.
  • Hi, I had the same problem up till about 6 weeks ago.. Every morning I had a painful/stiff back.. Its o.k now. So without tempting fate and it recurring again, Yes it does eventually go.
  • I'm 5 1/2 weeks post surgery and I also have a good amount of pain first thing in the morning. It settles down pretty quickly, but is definitely annoying when I wake up.

    I am not aware of having arthritis in my lower back, though the surgeon did remove a lot of "arthritic material" around the nerves during my surgery.

    I have my post-op appointment tomorrow morning and will ask about this issue.
  • I usually have the same thing...very difficult mornings until I stir about a bit. But this morning was really great..just a tad stiff but it got better and better. Crashed back down around 2:30 though and hasn't let up yet. I really feel better when I stay up and busy, but then I tend to do too much and suffer for it. I find that when I lay down because I'm tired, my back really hurts when I get up again. What's up with that?
  • All people recover at different rates, I am sure you will get there. Give it time.

    I am 5 weeks post TLIF (1 level)and mornings are my best time. This is actually the first time in years that I sleep thru the night and wake up rested. Pre surgery I tossed and turned and woke up in so much pain it took me hours to be able to walk upright. I am also able to lay flat now, I havent been able to do that in years.

    Once it hits about 6 PM, I am done for though, but after I am laying down for a bit I am good.

    I am off all meds since 3 weeks, including my pre surgery duragesic. I occasionally take the vicodin, only when I over do it.

    Have you told your doctor that PT isnt possible for you? Can you ask your doctor for handouts with stretches and exercises he would like you to do, just for a bit of guidance?

    Wishing you well,
  • Do you mean it's possible to wake up in the morning and actually feel good???? :/ For years I've woken up sore & achy. Of course it was definitely much worse after surgery...and it is better now. But I just thought that feeling tired and cranky (and feeling like you're 70 when you're only 43) was normal? ;))
  • I set my alarm early every moring and when it goes off I take my pain meds/tylenol, then I go back to sleep for a few hours and when I wake up again I feel pretty good.

    I also am using one of those memory foam matress toppers and lots of pillows. Going to sleep is another problem.

    Take Care >:D<

  • ..is a biggie. Don't do a "cold-start"--as suggested, do some gentle stretching & moving in bed, then slowly & gently get up...sorta like starting a classic late-model car... :)

    I also have arthritis, made worse by the fusion, so as was mentioned, that can become worse after surgery. And the weather can now affect you more, too: rain/damp/cold etc all contribute to AM stiffness/soreness/achy-ness.

    Glad to hear your have a memory-foam matress...I use a TempuPedic matress w/ tons of pillows...helps a lot (not totally, but makes things bearable, for awhile.)

    Even after almost 9 months now, I still need a sleeper to get to sleep. And still only get about 4-5 hrs B4 the pain wakes me up again.

    I guess it all goes w/ the territory! It gets better gradually & once up & moving around, it tends to lessen.

    Good thread! thanks for starting it, Polly! sounds like a common concern from a lot of us, all at various stages in our recoveries!

    ~Lakeside ( now a side-sleeper, too!)
  • I also was having a really bad time in the morning and getting out of bed was not something I looked forward to.
    The physio gave me some easy stretches to do in bed before I go out.
    Simply lie on your baack and slide one leg at a time to bend your knee. Do this about 20 x for each leg.
    Next again lying on your back with your knees bent drop your knee to the side of you one at a time. DO it slowly so you have to control it using your core muscles.
    NExt just lie there and switch on youtr core muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Put your fingers near oyour pelvic bone so you can feel the muscles switch on and off.

    When I read this post I realised that I no longer do these and I no longer have to :) So that is great for me. I am 20 weeks post op 3 level PLIF, so it will get better.

    MOrnings have never been my best time of day but they are getting better.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Sorry to not follow up my note til now. I asked about arthritis because I was told morning pain like that is usually attributed to arthritis symptoms which I have just a little of in hips as well as back. I also got a memory foam topper at the advise of my PCP who told me go to EDITED for the best price and make sure it is at least 2 inch thick. Prices are very reasonable $70-80. If you are not doing PT do the stretches that Candle, Dark, and Angelback suggested amd walk, walk, walk. I hope it eases off for you soon.

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  • oh yes MORNINGS. as i lay here now waiting for the meds to take full effect before i even move. i am only a week out. but iv always been that way in the morning for the last 2 yrs.
    i also have arthritis throughout my spine and i think that has alot to do with it. plus your spine has been messed with w/ your recent surgery.

    BEFORE doing stretches like others have mentioned ASK your dr first. as they all give different advice for different people.

    i allowed only to do the leg stretches laying down bringing my leg to my chest at 4 weeks and standing on the tippy toes. but i got "permission first". at my month check up.

    im not downing anyone at all for giving you such great advice but please you do not want to do more harm then good without being taught correctly before doing them..

    i have a tempurpedic matress topper and well it does help to a extent but iv even laid in my daughters twin AWESOME mattress (yes she has the best one in the house brat) and i still have not found a difference.

    so it may just take you time... 8 weeks is early.
    you will have mornings were you will wake up and say WOW where did the stiffness achiness go???
    i also found going to bed late and waking up early (no choice as hubbys alarm goes off at 5) that it makes it a bit better. plus my muscle relaxer before sleeping.

    your early out hun.. give it time.......
    for some of us it goes away, some it just stays..

    when your able to. i have a heating blanket ready and waiting in the morning next to my bed. (for my legs as i cannot put it on the incision yet)
    or someone brings me ice packs plus the muscle relaxer along w/ my pain meds/coffee great combo.. but sometimes fall back to sleep =)) I)

    hang in there your not alone thats for sure..

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I asked the PA at my appointment about pain and stiffness in the morning and she was not surprised. She said the pain is due to little to no movement for a longer period of time while sleeping. It is due to having the surgery and should go away in time. The stiffness is partly due to the weakened back muscles and will probably get worse before getting better. She said to expect the stiffness to continue much longer than the pain.
  • I had been suffering the same morning pain that you describe, but my surgery was almost three years ago. For me, it was a matter of switching pain medications. I had been taking Roxicodone (which is just immediate-release oxycodone without the acetaminaphin (sp?), but it was only giving me about three hours of pain relief. My doctor switched me to OxyContin (same thing as Roxi, but extended-release), which lasts for 12 hours (actually only about 8 hours for me) and I started taking that before bed. No more morning pain! I doubt that is the OP's issue, but I wanted to throw it out there for some of the folks who are further post-op like me. It wouldn't have to be OcyContin, either- you could check to see if there is an extended-release formula for whichever pain medication you are on and I would think it would have the same effect.
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