Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Sleeping positions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just had PLIF sugrgery with decompression and hardwear and scoliosis correction on Nov. 18th. I am sleeping through the night but I am only able to sleep on my back with my legs flat or knees up. Is there any other positions to sleep in to alleviate some of the pressure laying on your back creates? I would like to sleep on my side but am unsure as to how to roll over without the sides of the hospital bed to hold onto. Any advice would be great thank you! I)


  • At first I, too. had trouble rolling over without the bed rails to help me. I had to either wake up my husband to help me roll over or get up and get back in bed on whichever side I wanted to lie on. The latter was easier. I found lying on either side with a pillow between my knees to help take pressure off of the spine was the most comfortable sleeping position for me. Putting another pillow behind my back also helped support me on my side. (This is the position they showed me in the hospital for sleeping)

    The log roll gets easier after the first couple of weeks.
  • Michelle:

    For several weeks after surgery I needed my husband to help me roll over to my side to sleep. He used a "pull sheet" to help me roll over. I used a pillow between my knees and pillows behind my back to hold me up so I wouldn't roll back. I had a hospital bed also, very helpful. I could only lie on my side for a short time because my hip would get sore. I does "all" get better in time.

  • I made myself several slip sheets which were simply a length of satin sewn onto a small sheet (like a draw sheet) and tucked in both sides. You need to have sheet not satin at the edge so you dont slip off.
    This slip sheet as I called it made it sooo easy to move around in bed. I even took it to hopsital with me.

    Thankfully My Dr said I was able to lie in any position that I was comfortable. The first month I slept between on my back and my side but after a month I started to roll so now I usually sleep 1/2 side 1/2 tummy which is OK by Dr and PT.
    I have a mini pillow which I put under my tummy.

    Hope that helps and that you can find a friend with a sewing machine. It only took 10 minutes to make but worth its weight in gold.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • ..that if I lie on my side (the left side seems more comfy) I keep my bottom leg straight, bend the top leg at the knee, put a small pillow between the knee & the bed & another small pillow as balast against my lower back, then sort of "hug" another pillow to keep my balance...hard to describe, but helps settle down those spasms at night & keeps the spine totally straight.

    I often, now at 11 months, wake up on my back; but at first I couldn't turn over in my sleep,etc. At first, I would sorta "scootch" to the edge of the bed (on my side) & then push ip w/ my arms to a sitting position to get up. Or as was mentioned, my hubby would assist me by gently rolling me to the edge....

    Ungainly no matter how you do it...but the key is COMFORT..

    If it's any solace to you, I still can't sleep thru the night. Get about 4 hrs (w/ a pill at bedtime) then need to get up & walk around a little, then return to bed, etc...

    Any position, no matter how comfy at first, becomes painful after a few hours. Before all this I was a tummy sleeper & I still miss that! Oh well! At least I get to see a lot of gorgeous sunrises! :)

    Try the "pillow fest" thing & hang in there! Oh--BTW: get (if you don't already have one) a TempurPedic-type mattress topper thingy. We have an actual TenpurPedic mattress, but the toppers are good also. They mold themselves to your body & feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. Get one at least 4-6" deep, so you can really sink into it. Ahhh!

    Hang in there! You are just a week out---this is a long recovery, so experiment w/ what works for you & then get your very-much-needed rest! :)

    ~Lakeside (on her side soon--been a tough day!)
  • You have perfectly described how to use the pillows to get comfy in bed! Good job!

    And yes, the memory foam mattress topper made all the difference in the world for sleeping. I simply could not get comfortable in bed until I got one.
  • I find the most comfortable way to sleep is by being surrounded by lots of pillows. I have to under my head. One under my feet, 1 between my legs and 1 at my side. I too sleep on my side but my hips get sore so I have to turn every 30-60 minutes every night to switch hips. I also find most comfort in having one leg stretch out and the other bent with a pillow between my legs, feet, at my side. Hope this helps. (I just use my small decorative couch pillows to put under my knees, feet and sides.
  • ...definately have the bottom leg strecthed out, & bend the upper leg at the knee, with the pillow between that knee & the bed...

    Ming, I had to LOL when I read you use just a "small decorative couch pillow"....as my most-used knee/to/bed pillow is a little Hallmark ShoeBox greeting needlepoint deal that has a graphic of a cow, feet in the air (as in dead...) with the caption "No, really, I'm fine!"...

    Someone gave it to me during my acute recovery period & it makes me laugh every PM!

    And at last count (last PM) I am surrounded by 7 pillows & 2 cats...as close to "wrecked back heaven" as possible right now... :)


    BYW: Is anyone else watching the Liftime Movie channel 25th anniversary of Thorn Birds? Talk about taking your mind off the pain...! What a treat! I sit on my exercise ball, roll around gently & remember how YOUNG everyone was 25 years ago! Is that good or bad?! :))(
  • Thank you all so much for the advice! I will definatly be trying some of these techniques tonight. I am surrounded by pillows in bed just haven't been sure what to do with all of them LOL. And Lakeside, I actually purchased a temper pedic bed as a result of trying to avoid surgery last year and I was LOL when you said it feels like a cloud because my husband and I have referred to our bed as a "marshmellow cloud" since we purchsed it :))( !
    Thank you all for your support and advice it is very comforting to know I can talk/email with people that understand these "problems". I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have had this surgery and hopefully rid my life somewhat of my back problems!
    Take care everyone! >:D<
  • When I read your "surrounded by 7 pillows" I decided maybe I need to go back to the umpteen pillows for comfort! It is unusually chilly tonight so I did heat up 2 microwave "bed buddies" and have them behind my back and around my left hip. So nice and warm and comforting!

    But I hate that I missed the Thorn Birds - I will check and see if they are showing it again.
  • ...they are showing the Thorn Birds all week on Lifetime Movie Channel (we have Warner cable,maybe your's is different?) They are running it all week, 2 hrs a night. It's to the part now where Meggie is grown up & Ralph has to make some decisions...

    Ah, 7 pillows, some heated bed buddies & a TempurPedic...as my Grandma used to say "Life is what you make it!"

    So get comfy, hunker down (also have a down comforter) and REST!

    You will laugh: I even took 5 pillows to the hospital w/ me after my 1st surgery, as they NEVER have enough or the right sized ones & they are like rocks. After my fusion, I looked like I was surrounded by a FORT of pillows! My NS joked he couldn;t find me! :) I just surrounded myself & laid low while others attended to me. 2 days of oblivion b4 they got me up---helped immensely. (100% down + my cow pillow--I'm sure the nurses thought I was totally nuts! )

    But after 3 spinals, you find out what works. And a few good pillows are golden! And I was in no condition to humor anyone!

    Sleep tight!

  • I just have to steal this thread for a min. and tell you how much I appreciate you! After I first had my surgery and was in so much pain, you gave me such good information and assured me that I would get better and I was right on (my body's) schedule for healing. I cannot begin to tell you how much that assurance meant to me. So THANKS! :X =D>
  • Thank you all again...I tried the numerous pillows last night and it seemed to help out some. Seeing as how I am only a week post-op I think no matter what I try I am constantly in pain and uncomfortable for the time being. But I am feeling relief already from where my pain was initially before the surgery and the numbness is my legs has subsided.
    Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with plenty of pillows! >:D<
  • At one week post surgery I don't think I was even in good enough shape to post on this site. I know I tried to do an email or two but think they came out like gibberish!

    And the first couple of weeks really are uncomfortable. I hope you have friends and/or family around to pamper you a bit and help make you as comfortable as possible. Hang in there - it gets better.

    Have you tried ice packs on the really painful areas? They do help to dull the pain.
  • Before surgery I used to sleep on my stomach every night. I couldn't fall asleep ANY other way. It sucked, because they say sleeping on your stomach is not good at all for your back... I'm sure it didn't help my situation. But even if I fell asleep on my side or my back, I'd still wake up on my stomach.... So it was pointless to lie awake all night trying to fall asleep on my back if I was just going to roll to my stomach once I fell asleep anyway.

    I couldn't sleep on my side for the first 3 to 4 weeks, I'd say. It hurt quite a bit when I'd wake up... But now I can sleep in any position, at 2 months post op. It all feels fine. I fall asleep on my back more often, now, though... And rarely ever on my stomach. If anything it's the half stomach/half side thing. But yeah I fall asleep on my back, or on my side and spoon the boyfriend. Lol.
  • OKOK I guess this is going to be a long recovery. Cant remember fusion #1 15 yrs ago. PROBLEM: I'm on ice/heat, log rolling left, right, flat. My hips/upper butt areas start to throb with in 30 min in any position. Tucked pillows under my side and anything else that might give me relief.
    Am I supposed to be having a life at this point because I am NOT. Feel weak and dont have the energy to walk,walk,walk, Are these folks crazy or is it me???? Its taken me all these days just to hit the computer and post.
    I need meds to sleep but it's the pain from laying on my sides for days on end that's the prob. I'm like frozen and stiff. Is all this normal? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 8 days post op... You are in a normal state. No worries. 8 days post op, you probably just got home from the hospital a couple days ago! People heal at different paces, and pain affects each person's body differently... On top of that, each person feels different aches and pains. You are on target, it's typical... Will get better with time. Unfortunately you're at the point of uncomfortableness no matter what, right now. Hope you feel better soon :(
  • That's where I was at 8 days post op. It took 14 days to feel a little relief and 3 months before I felt like I was half way functioning and into a bit of a 'groove'. You're right where you're suppose to be...you're body is healing. Stay close to the board~lots of support and info. here. Hugs to you!
  • Do you have a mattress topper? It was a God-send to me after surgery. After it was put on my bed, it didn't hurt so much to lay on my side. The one I got is 4-inches thick and was well worth the $125 at Wal-Mart.

    I'm so sorry to hear that you are in such pain...it is really a brutal assault on your whole body. Give yourself a few more days, sweetie, and things will begin to get better. When I was at your stage, all I could do was walk from one room to another and that's about as much as I could tolerate. Listen to YOUR body, it will let you know when you are ready for more. Wish I was there to give you a shoulder to cry on and could give you hugs! >:D< >:D<
  • >:D<
    It is so nice to be able to open my laptop while laying in bed, thinking no one understands me and to get messages from you all totally understanding!
    Thank you all for your recommendations and wishes to get better! It makes me feel better in a time where I feel like no one gets it! I have a wonderful husband that has been taking care of me through everything but still he can't sympathize with how bad I am really feeling daily. I am doing my best to try and regain my independance but it is very hard right now.Thank you all again! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
  • At 8 days post-surgery I would not have had the energy to post on this site. I was just a big whiny lump on the sofa. So, do not worry - in a week or so you will feel more like walking a bit - maybe just around the house for a few minutes - maybe using your walker. Then you may notice that it feels good to move around a bit every so often - really helps the pain. And you will rest, walk, rest, walk... and that may be your routine for quite a while. If you read posts on this site about fusion recovery you will see that the recovery varies considerably but for most of us is long and slow! Give your body time to heal.

    And yes, the pain from lying on your sides, etc is very normal at this point. At 8 days postop I still needed help to turn over. It was at least 2 or 3 weeks post-op before I could find a position that was at all comfortable - and then for only about 30 minutes at a time. (Getting up and moving around -even for 2 or 3 minutes every hour - helped a lot.)

    It won't feel like you have a life for awhile. But hang in there - it does get better.
  • Michelle and Vicki, I think you both are recovering normally. It takes about 2 weeks to start to feel a little better in my opinion. My NS told me I would regret my surgery for 2 weeks, and then I would start to feel better. I would say that is right on. Try the silk sheets, memory foam topper, and log roll to turn. Lots of pillows for positioning to keep you supported and straight. Walk as you are able. I did frequent short trips around the house between resting in bed. My first outdoor walk at about a week post-op was only 2 houses down and back. Boy I thought I would never be able to make it around the block, but I did and was walking miles by 5 weeks out. Also keep up on your meds even if you have to set an alarm so you remember to take them. Remember your job right now is to heal, so you do have a life, a very important one, and while boring at times it is a necessary step on the road to your recovery. Take care, and think positive. It will get better, >:D< Cali-Sue
Sign In or Register to comment.