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

3:30 am and hurting

inchwormiinchworm Posts: 719
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm 9 days post-op fusion surgery and hurting this morning. Am sitting here at my computer at 3:30 am because I can't find a position that relieves the pain. My thighs, butt/low back, hips and occasional pain/numbness in my shinbones feel as if I'd been kicked. Had my dose of pain med & muscle relaxer 40 minutes ago but it hasn't helped yet.

Anybody else awake and hurting at this time of the morning? It's daytime for some of you around the world.

Thanks for any encouragement or suggestions you might have to get at least somewhat comfortable.

2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled


  • Hi Linda,

    I'm sorry that you're hurting so badly. My experience has been that it takes a minimum of 45 minutes for pain meds to really kick in, so at time you wrote your post, maybe you were right at the point that you were about to get some relief?

    I wish I could help you somehow. Please stay in touch with your doctor regarding your pain level. They can adjust your meds if necessary.

    I'll be sending positive thoughts your way.

  • Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your note. You hit it right on the head--it's been 60 minutes and my pain meds have kicked in enough that I can sit here at the computer instead of having to pace around the house. I'd been sleeping on a heating pad all night. What a heavenly relief it gives--for a while, lol.

    I just saw my surgeon's PA yesterday for staple removal and xrays. All looks good and I happily walked out the door, forgetting completely to get new scripts for my oxy and muscle relaxer. Such an airhead--I don't have enough to last through the week-end so will be putting in a call today to get more. Am thinking about asking for some Valium (or similar med). Saw where a couple of people had tried that for relentless pain and it helped.

    How are you doing with your pain management?

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • For you pain Linda..I found sleeping with a pillow under my knees or between them and also one behind my back and I found that this helped..

    Sending you lots of soft and warm hugs >:D< and as Dave said, make sure you let your Dr know if your medication isnt strong enough.


  • Linda,
    I hope that you are sleeping comfortably now. I)

    If your pain is stopping you sleeping, do let your surgeon know.

    Gentle hug. >:D<
  • Jelly don't you remember those early post-op nights? I know me and Jayhawk remember. I couldn't sleep more than 3 hours a time for the first 3 or 4 weeks. It was exhausting..But the pain from laying in one spot woke me up. And I had to be awake to log roll correctly.
    I had no real schedule for the first month or so. I slept for a couple hrs at a time during the day or night. Whenever I could.
    Glad those days are behind me. I still wake up often and toss and turn..but can go right back to sleep.
    Hang in there. It does get better!!!

  • Thanks, Shelly and Jelly (ha ha)--I did go back to sleep soon after getting of the computer. A couple of days ago I did request and was granted to take my pain med every 3 hours instead of 4. That made a world of difference. My surgeon's PA told me they want to see my pain level below a 5, so I guess I shouldn't be asking for more/different meds unless it is worse than that. Would love to not hurt at all, but that's a pipe dream, lol. Am trying to screw up my courage to ask about Valium. It sounds like the perfect solution. Will let all know if I do ask about it, and the answer I get. :>

    This is the first time I've been back on the computer so I'm slow to answer and even slower to keep up with everyone's posts. Have been lying on the sofa on my heating pad. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled

  • that you did manage to get to sleep.
    Things will improve, I promise. These early days are tough, but hopefully it will all be worth it before long. :-)

    Yes I do remember those difficult nights early on in the recovery. Waking up due to pain after just an hour or two, and needing to log roll over and readjust the pillow between my knees. Sometimes having to get up and take a walk around the house, to be able to go and lie down again.

    Although not so bad, I still wake several times during the night to try to get comfortable again. I am glad that I am now further on in my recovery and things are so much easier. :-)

  • I hope as you get my message that your pain level has improved. I agree with the pillow under your knees or between them if sleeping on your side. I did go to Big Lots and bought a memory foam pad. For me, I liked the cusioning it gave me for my spine and the surgery site. It has been 7 weeks since my fusion surgery and I still wake up about 3 to 4 times a night to change positions. I am curious, did you doctor give you a bone stimulator? I wear mine for 2 hours every day. I am still taking percocet twice a day, a muscle relaxer and also neurontin also twice a day. All I can say is, it has gotten easier every day, I hope that your recovery goes extremely well. Please write me any time.
  • Thanks for the continued words of encouragement. As night approaches, I'm wondering how much of it will be spent sleeping and how much here on the computer, lol. At least I have a place to come to in the middle of the night and know that there will be somebody awake to commiserate with. :)

    Jelly, my immediate pain eased and I was able to go back to sleep. I'm up every couple of hours all night long, going to the bathroom. Have been that way in recent years and it hasn't changed with this surgery. It turns out to be a good thing for me because I need to move. Yes, things will improve and one of these days I'll be able to look back at this time instead of staring it in the face as I am right now. :D

    Lisa, thanks for your encouragement on the pain level. Very much appreciated. No bone stimulator. He just sent me home with a rigid brace. Thankfully, I don't have to wear it at night! It is aggravating the nerves in my back and I'm going on Monday to see if it can be adjusted. I have a pillow to put between my knees when on my side but it's too thick--I should check into some memory foam, not a full mattress topper, but it seems like a small piece would work well between my knees. Really need to be able to sleep on my side occasionally, although it causes pain in one place or another so I always end up back on my back. I got a new script for oxy this afternoon and he wants me to start weaning myself off of it, over the next week or so. He's going to switch me to hydrocodone at narcotic level strength (he used the word "narcotic"). It can be called to my pharmacy so I won't have to go up to the office every few days to get a new script.

    I'm not worried about stepping "down" from oxy to hydrocodine--for some strange reason, I've noticed that oxy can actually make nerve pain worse. Doesn't make sense, I know, but I noticed that phenomenon a few weeks ago and made note to pay careful attention. If I'm having nerve pain, oxycodone can actually make it a little worse. Don't know if it's all the time but enough for me to take note. Maybe somebody here has experienced the same thing?

    Thanks again, gals, for your warm support and encouragement. Wishing you both a peaceful, pain-free night.


    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • You get a decent nights sleep tonight and know that we are here for you at anytime.
    Take care my friend.xx
  • Hi Linda,

    There is a great post on this forum written by Ron DiLauro called "The Blend". Most doctors understand the complexity of our conditions and they are very wiling to provide a broad range of medications to concurrently treat various symptoms.

    For example, I was given Robaxin (Methocarbamol) as a muscle relaxer and it did help me sleep a little. I also take Klonopin (Clonazepam) at bed time to help me get to sleep. Valium is a potent med that can be used as an anti-anxiety med as well as a muscle relaxer. I admit that I don't know a lot about it. So, my point is simply that I would suggest that you talk to your doctor about any sleep difficulties and let them prescribe what they think will be best for you. It may not be Valium, but it may be something even better for you given your particular needs. There are a lot of muscle relaxers out there.

    I hope your pain continues to get better. The first two weeks were the toughest for me, and then it improved significantly.

    Just one last thought, you might want to be careful on the computer. When I sit upright for too long, it aggravates my back. At 9-10 days post-op, I would think that you need to be especially careful not to sit up too straight for too long.

    Best wishes,
  • Thanks for the encouragement, Shelly, you're a sweetheart. :)

    Had a better night last night but awoke around the same 3:30 time with nasty backache again. Stayed in bed this time and did go back to sleep.

    Dave--thanks for the tips and insights. When my spine surgeon's PA called yesterday I asked him about Valium. He said it does relax muscles and people LIKE it. I thought I might use it short-term just to get me over these first few weeks but I don't think he's on board with that due to the addictive potential with Valium.

    You've got it right about the computer. I can manage 15 minutes at a time but after that, it turns into a lose-lose situation. Been on her long enough now. Want to read posts but better not try it right now.

    Thanks again, spiney friends. :)


    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I was also going to warn you about sitting at the computer for too long this early on.

    In the early days after my fusion, I used to get frustrated because I wanted to read messages from my spiney friends, but couldn't find a comfortable position. I tried lying with the laptop, standing at the computer. In the end, I found that using my iPod while lying down was the best and most comfortable position.

    During the night, when I couldn't sleep, I used to go for a walk which helped me to feel more comfortable, but I also found listening to relaxing music helped me to relax and I even found that my pain levels went down. I had my music playing almost 24 hours a day while I was in the hospital and they were amazed at how little pain medication I managed with.

    In another week or so, I hope that you will find that you feel much more comfortable.

    Keep up the good healing, and do keep us posted with how you are getting on. I found the support of other spiney friends an incredible help while recovering. :-) (I still do, but now I am back at work, I don't manage to post nearly so often and when I do, there are so many posts I haven't read, that I can't possibly read them all to catch up. Forgive me, my friends if I am not talking to you as much as I used to. :S )
  • Hi Jelly--thanks for the warning about sitting to long at the computer. It is kind of self-limiting but I really need to be on top of it and get up before I'm hurting worse. I need a kick in the behind though to keep me from overdoing the computer.

    Today was a very good day for me, which I suppose means tomorrow will be a bugger, but that's okay, I'm enjoying it while it lasts and not going to worry about tomorrow. My "best friend", my heating pad, was hurting me more than helping, I decided this morning after doing a little experiment. Think it's because the heat draws blood to the area and makes swelling worse. Was sleeping on my heating pad but won't be spending any more nights like that.

    It's great that you're back to work! Everyone will understand that you're getting on with real life again and be happy for you. I hope this is not just a good spell, but one that will last for you. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Linda, I am glad to hear that yesterday was a good day for you. <:P

    Hopefully you will have more and more of those.

    I find that icing helps me if I have pain. I think you could be right about the heat causing more inflamation. Icing tends to help to reduce it, and although it doesn't feel as good as heat at the time, in the long run, it does help.

    I notice that you have had surgery on your neck and lumbar spine. I am about to have an MRI scan done of my cervical spine. I have asked some questions to those people who are unlucky enough to have trouble in more than one part of their spine. It is called 'Which came first ...'

    I hope that your healing from surgery will continue smoothly and things will get easier and more comfortable for you soon. Take care :-)
  • Well, yesterday started out so wonderfully but didn't end up that way. Not sure how everything plays into everything else but I think I pulled an inner thigh muscle trying to put a sock on my bad leg. Then I put my brace on to go walking (am supposed to wear it whenever I'm up and around but I simply can't tolerate that torture device that much). I made my circuit around our court and the numbness in my leg turned to pain by the time I was done. Took the brace off and made another circuit, hoping it would reduce the pain--it didn't. Then, last night we were watching a comedy and laughed way too hard. Laughing is supposed to help ease pain but in this case I think it made things worse. Was sitting up at the time and it was one of those guffaw-belly laughs that catches you off guard. I was holding my back laughing and going owe, owe, lol. I couldn't tell exactly what may have happened (or if indeed anything did happen) but I had a sense that I shouldn't have strained my back like that. Woke up at 1:30 am very uncomfortable with pain/numbness in my right leg and something new--constant pain in my low low back and hip on that side--definitely sciatic in nature. The only thing that helped even a little was walking so I was up numerous times in the night. By morning I was emotionally distraught at the thought that I may have injured my back by not wearing my brace when I should have--maybe a screw has come loose? My hubby suggested anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) and I started taking them immediately. Never thought it might be related to inflammation. The ibuprofen definitely helps and while I'm not back to how I felt before all this started, at least the relentless sciatica in my low back has eased up.

    Thanks for your continued encouragement. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled

  • I am sorry that the good day didn't last. :-(

    Spinal surgery recovery is often like that. Two steps forward and then one or even two steps back.

    Have you been told that it is ok to take ibuprofen? As it is an anti-inflamatory, often surgeons tell us not to use it because NSAIDs can impede fusion.
    You could try ice instead.

    If these problems don't settle down, you could phone your surgeon if you are still worried.

    I really hope that things do settle down and that you have a good night's sleep tonight.

    By the way, I have never had to wear a brace, so you may not have done any harm, just flared things up a bit. I find that when I overdo it and make myself sore, I lie down and rest and take things easy and it usually settles down again. It is so easy to overdo it and suffer pain because of it.

    Take good care :-)
  • Thanks for your continued encouragement. I don't remember being told not to take ibuprofen but will definitely get that cleared tomorrow when everyone is back in the office. Adding 800 mg of ibuprofen to my med cocktail has worked wonders today. Really hoping it doesn't impede fusion because that is the #1 most important thing I want happening in my body at the moment. Heal, body, Heal! :T

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • >:D< Linda..I hope you get some relief again today and your medications sorted out ocne your Drs office is open.

    Thinking of you.xx
  • Never thought about the office maybe not being open tomorrow. Oh well, I've done a bit of research here on SH and it looks like I shouldn't be taking ibuprofen so I've stopped it completely. If I don't sleep tonight, so be it--may have to come here and bug other spineys who also can't sleep, lol.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts. >:D<

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Hi Linda,

    I see that you figured this out already. I just thought I would share that I was told not to take any NSAIDS until my fusion was solid. After about 8 months post-op, I was cleared to take Motrin or other NSAIDS. My understanding is that it does interfere with the fusion process.

    I'm so happy that it helped you, though. That may be useful later on.

    Take Care,
  • Thanks for your note. It turned out to be a good thing that I didn't know about NSAIDs adverse effect on fusion until I'd had a chance to try ibuprofen. Taking it even one day was enough to confirm that at least I haven't done any great harm to my back (or the ibuprofen would not have relieved the pain). Am not sure what IS going on in there but at least some of my worry has gone and I can talk to the PA today and get his input on why I'm hurting like this. Up early every morning for the better part of 4 hours. :/

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
Sign In or Register to comment.