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

Laying on back after lumbar fusion

downinmyheartddowninmyheart Posts: 497
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Curious if anyone had restrictions about laying on the back after a lumbar fusion. If you did not have restrictions, could you do it, was it comfy? Anything to make it more comfy?

I had 2 level lumbar fusion on 11/21. My hips are killing me from switching side to side. I only lay down or walk...

One Love,



  • ..after my surgeries on my back...so I assume it's OK :) They used an ice-sheet after my fusion & had me on my back 90% the time I was in the hosp.

    Now I can sleep on my side, with pillow under knee (lower leg straight) & another as balast against lower back..
    But often, still, wake up on my back!

    Try a small pillow under your knees (on your back) to help take the pressure off the lumbar area.

    Also, do you have a TempurPedic matress or foam topper? They are a Godsend...6-8" of form-fitting support that's like being on a cloud...

    You hips may still be sore, also, from the OR position you were in (face down, pressure points are shoulders & hips)

    It gets better! But you do want to sleep well, of course.

    Let us know how you're doing!

  • I also had sore hips and wondered what they did to me in the OR!!!Ha Ha.. My release sheet said sleep in whatever position you can so I guess that means anyway you can get sleep the better. I am a side/stomach sleeper and I have always been told stomach sleeping is bad??? I try to take some meds before bedtime as I was only sleeping 2-3 hours at a time for the first two weeks. I find it easier to sleep now that those darn staples are out! How do they expect you to sleep with staples in your back, stitches/steri-strips on your abdomen and an iliac crest wound from bone marrow extraction??? Funny isn't it.. Do want you can and get a body pillow, they help. Yes! the memory foam bed I have is great, they rock. Restful Sleeping and Good Luck with recovery.
  • Ditto the memory foam mattress topper - I simply could not get comfortable until I got one! And the hip pain made me crazy so until a friend told me her surgeon sent her to a PT for ultrasound for hers. So I called my surgeon and he wrote me a prescription for ultrasound - it helped so much! I went twice a week for about 4 weeks starting 2 weeks post-surgery. I also, sort of positioned myself so I was not exactly on my back (very uncomfortable) and not exactly on my side but sort of half way in between. Pillows behind my back and against my stomach helped me maintain that position with no difficulty. Of course, when I wanted to turn over, it was a major undertaking but well worth it to be able to be comfortable.

    I also found that the most comfortable position for daytime was not the recliner at first but propped with lots of pillows halfway between my side and back on the sofa. First on one side and then the other. Again, it was a major undertaking when I wanted to change sides but... The biggest problem was finding a position in which to eat. It took weeks before I could sit for even 10 or 15 minutes to eat. The recliner worked best for these short periods. But I guess the good news was that I lost 15 pounds!

    It really will get better - though I know it does not seem so right now!
  • Mattress topper or a mattress that has it built in is awesome. I wasn't able to lay on my back sheesh for about 6 weeks I think. I had to have a follow up MRI about 3 weeks out of the surgery and had to go under General Anesthesia cause I couldn't take it.

    Even laying on my stomach ugh..I had to for a CT guided Asperation and wanted to just die right there. I just suffered with lots of pillows and moved from side to side. My elbows are just now getting better from almost bed sores *just got really dry* from always rubbing on the sheets.

    IMO I wouldn't rush to the back position I know I sure didn't!

  • Sleeping on my bad was fine right from the start. I did lie with 2 pillows under my knees and thighs and this really made a difference.
    I would often roll to either side as necessary.
    Now I can sleep in any position I want to.

    Blessing Sara O:)
  • I slept on my back with a pillow under my knees... It worked WONDERS. It changes the amount of pressure on your back and changes the curve of your spine while you are sleeping. Try it, doll. I think it will help you lots. I definitely wouldn't be laying on your sides right now... It will almost definitely make your hips hurt worse. During the day try piling two pillows at a diagonal angle against the wall, and then put another one on top of them, at more of a horizontal angle... It makes a wedge shape.... And do a half sit/half lay. That was the best for me... And that is still what I do, to this day. It's the only way I can sit/lay and not have pain when I get up. I had no restrictions at all post op except no NSAIDs and no lifting more than 10 lbs for the first two weeks. They said I could sleep in any position that was comfortable for me. I started sleeping with the pillow under my knees while I was in the hospital... If you haven't already tried that, I hope you do... I hope you find a position that is comfortable for you :( Are you having that pain between where your thigh and hip meet? In the front?
  • help to keep your pelvis straight, the other trick is to wrap a tea cloth around your waist to take out the natural curve and supports the lumbar when lying down on your side.

    I rolled from side to side. My back was too sore.
  • My only restriction was not to go onto my stomach. Not when I slept, not for PT. They made a really big deal out of it but I really am not sure why. Something about it creating a curve in the spine that was not good until the fuse is complete. To this day I have a fear of lying on my stomach. Anyone else told something like this? :/
  • Wearing my corset seems to help me a bit. I forgot about the wedge pillows that I bought for this very purpose. Duh! I will blame it on the pain meds. #o

    I am guessing that it will be easier after the incision site heals. I hope so. My hips have had it!

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    One Love,

  • I was told to only lie on my back...use a pillow under my knees. I could turn on my side for short periods but he wanted me on my back the first 2 weeks.
  • Hi Stephanie,hang in there sweetie! I did side-back-side. Always 1-2 pillows under my knees while on back and 1 between knees while on my side. I hurt from my waist down to my knees, kinda like a giant spasms especially in the hips. Of course the doc wanted to know if my preop pain was gone, well who could tell with all this new pain everywhere 8} . Thank-goodness it started to get better after a couple weeks. Tuck a pillow at your back while on your side as well for support. Take care and hope you feel better soon, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Thank you all for your suggestions! :*

    It is getting better every minute!

    One Love,

  • Spinal fusion on L4, L5 & S1 in late Feb. 09. Past mo. have the strange clicking sound in lower back; can actually feel it. Strange, doesn't hurt TG.. Am going for X-Ray today to make sure everything is ok. PA thinks cause may be to much too soon and will most likely go away. This has been a very long process & painful. Still can't sleep & wake up feeling like the tin man!!
  • My clicking went away after some time. PA told me it was soft tissues getting caught up on my hardware. It creeped me out although it didn't hurt any. Hopefully it will go away for you soon.

    One Love,

  • :H I've been sleeping on my stomach lately and I don't know why because I'm a side sleeper. So far, no pain!! Sleeping was difficult in the beginning like it is for everyone but as time goes by you will find it gets easier ..............I hope!!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • You should break yourself of this habit as it is very unhealthy for any of us with back problems to sleep on our stomachs. There is a mechanical reason why this is so. It puts undo stress on the natural curve of the spine which causes the pelvis to rotate and also causes the psoas muscles to shorten. These can all lead to back pain.

    So even if it doesn't hurt now, you would be doing yourself a favor by training yourself to sleep on your side (in a modified fetal position) with a small pillow between the knees or on your back with pillow or wedge beneath your knees.

    If you're wondering how the psoas muscle influences your back, take a look at this article:
    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/How the Psoas Muscle Causes Back and Hip Pain.html
  • I did not at first for like 6 weeks or so, but after a while I did just took a little getting use to, you kind of think you feel some stuff cage a screw or something but once I got past that it was fine. I think furniture and the way most of it is made does not provide any support and only causes or gets people into bad habits and thus creating bad posture. For me the floor has no give, so it kind of forces you to have strong posture.
  • and I'm still not comfy on my back. I still have to sleep on my side with a body pillow and if I roll on my back, it wakes me up. Interesting stuff about soft tissue causing clicking. When I told my surgeon I heard and felt clicking he convinced me it must have been higher up because my lower back L3 to L5 should be completely immobile. hmmm..
    Mom to Tony 13, Gavin 9, and Donovan 7
    Surgery 1/07/2009:
    1. L3-4 decompression laminectomy and foraminotomy
    2. Left complete L3-4 discectomy with decompression of L4 root.
    3. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L3-4 with 10-mm Capstone cage and autograph.
    4. Posterior spinal fusion L3-L5 with iliac bone graph and BMP
    5. Legacy instrumentation, L3 to L5

    Also still in PT 2 land 1 aqua every week and also use a TENS unit
  • Right after surgery, I needed pillows under my knees so I could sleep on my back, but it was still my most comfortable position. I do have one of the memory foam mattress toppers and it really helps. I can't sleep if I'm not on my back.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
Sign In or Register to comment.