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Two weeks post op, Get very stiff when I lay flat and get up

JakotsuJJakotsu Posts: 212
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I've been sleeping in a chair for the past two weeks pretty much. First night home from the hospital I slept in my bed and it took two people to get me up. I can understand that being 3 days post op.

Two weeks later I tried twice to sleep in a bed, one a pillow top and one thats harder (still soft) but don't sink in.

I lay on my right side. The first attempt I only lasted 2 hours and had to return to my chair. Got up on my own but was so stiff and in pain (Only time I have pain). I walked with my back perfectly straight til I sat down and relaxed.

Last night I tried again, laid down on my right side, was actually comfortable. Fell asleep around 12am, woke up at 4am to use the bathroom (feet are horribly swollen so all the fluid was resettling). Was so stiff when I got up again, I had to take a flexril and lortab due to the pain and I havnt had to take pain medication in over a week. Ended up back in my chair again.

I saw my surgeon last night and he just shrugged it off that it will get better. I trustem but does anyone have stories related to this? How long it took, should I keep trying to sleep in the bed or wait till I heal more?

PS: Staples were taken out which I feel made it more comfortable yesterday. Have steristrips but some fell off already as I am still draining.


  • I slept in a recliner for almost the entire time I wore the minerva brace. Towards the end my wife and I placed couch cushions under one end of the mattress to prop it up so I could sleep in bed.
    Don't panic, things should improve with time! If it hurts to sleep in bed, don't sleep there :)
  • If the chair works, stick with it. I am alternating between my bed and our guestroom bed which is a little firmer. I am not stiff when I wake up but I ACHE. Last night I was in the softer bed and tossed back and forth, left side - lay on my back - right side etc until I finally just got up and paced the floor, my legs were just unhappy. Will go back to the firmer bed tonight.

    I also stopped my 2nd percocet, so down to just one in the morning and thats it for painkillers, maybe that's affecting my sleep. Got a bottle of acetaminophen to take one in the evening as a substitute. Sorry, I am rambling. My point is, trial and error, and listen to your body.
  • Hi ya,

    I had L4/L5 fusion many many years ago, but remember it like yesterday. At 2 weeks, it was still painful to more around, very hard to find comfy positions to sleep... i remember at 4 weeks my mom took me to our local department store to buy some comfy jeans that wouldn't irritate my scar... and i was so weak nearly passed out in the store (found out later i was anemic!). Point of story... take your time, you only get one recovery! Sleep wear you like, do anything you feel able for, follow doctors orders, and listen to your body!

    Hang in there, it really does get better
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • My feet are like marshmellows from letting them be down but I think I will take you'lls advice and stick to the chair for a bit longer.

    Inititally laying down on my right side in the bed is comfy, but it gets uncomfy as the night goes on tossing turning etc.

    Thanks for the advice.
  • If I laid flat on my back after my L5-S1 fusion I would get very stiff and sore, and still do sometimes 2 years later. However, lying on my side I am fine, which is OK for me as I am a side sleeper.

    Jakotsu, you are 2 weeks out from a 4 level fusion, which is a MAJOR fusion in terms of the number of levels. 2 weeks out is still extremely early days. I would go with your doc and say that it should definitely get better over time. In the meantime, if you are comfy and can sleep in the chair, then keep there for a bit longer.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thanks Bruce. I guess I am lucky that my biggest issue is not being able to lay flat. I am walking normal, not in any pain other when I do lay flat, and my surgeon is extremely pleased with my immediate progress and even told me he feels this operation will last forever.

    Guess I'm not a chair dweller hehe but I'll continue on, always great advice here, this board has helped me a ton with information.

    Thanks all for the advice!
  • If your feet are swelling. PAY attention to that!
    Do you have those stupid compression hose they use on you in the hospital? Put them back on! I know they are uncomfortable, but it is easier to wear them then to work that swelling back out. I left them on till I could not stand them anymore after my surgeries.
    If you don't have them get some compression stockings till you get more active. Like someone above said, "you only get one recovery"! Take it easy, but be proactive and don't let other issues go unattended.

    As for recliners, Mine is worn way out, Black leather, we bought it to rock the babies in! Uh, the "babies" are now 18 and 16! We have tried to replace it, but they just don't make them like it anymore! We now have a block of wood propping up one side...
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