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Sleeping after Posterior Cervical Fusions....

Aviatrix36440Aviatrix36440 Posts: 5,904
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Question for those of you who have had "multi-level" posterior cervical fusions. I am about to have at least 5 levels done (so far all from the back...could change), so knowing now sleep time will be on the surgical sight vs when I had anterior - what was a comfy way for you to sleep?

I have an adjustable bed, and of course our favorite friend in this life - the Lazy Boy....(G) Just curious ...did you all sleep on your side, sitting up? I am guessing laying fairly flat initially hurts like a bugger.

Again, posterior fusion multi level is what I am looking for. They are going slice me from about a 1/2 inch into the hairline, down about 12 inches or so - just below T2. Thanks in advance ya'll, appreciate as always!!! :)

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.


  • Brenda, after my posterior, my saying was "Sleep, what's that?" Seriously, it was very difficult to sleep. I gave up on the bed and slept in the recliner for a few weeks. Eventually I was able to lay in the bed for short periods of time, but the hard collar got in the way of sleeping on my side. I hope your Lazy Boy is comfortable--you will probably be in it a lot.

    Why are you having so many levels done? What exactly will the surgeon do?
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Howdy Cindy,

    Glad to see you respond. :) I know you went through a lot. Basically for me, my last fusion (C6/7) my surgeon used a different type of hardware (see avatar), and too used a Osteocell (baby brother to BMP) without telling me, and it failed. I ended up with a pseudoarthrosis, and due to the movement, fubard the other levels in my neck.

    It's kind of creepy, you can see C4 for instance as I lean forward go about 7mm over the plate of C5/6! C5/6 too now has a crack thanks to the movement, and C7/8 are 'seesawing' back and forth - not pretty. So he (3rd surgeon, same result) to stabilize my neck, leave the front alone, but lock me down C4-T2. What bites is my C2/3 sucks... so I of course wonder, how sturdy is my C3/4 to deal with this crap? Sigh...

    My symptoms, MRI, EMG - shows of course still neuropathy, but apparently my gait and walk ability indicate my stupid neck (when moving) moved into the Myelopathy side of the house - wonderful... The key is to stabilize and stop further nerve damage progression. Sucks...but I get it. (G)-Grrr.....Hehe... sleep wise, I guess it is going to be one of those "musical chairs" of "what is going to work for me" modes? Thanks Ms Cindy!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Oops.... forgot, due to calcification in my foremen, he will due laminectomies from C4 down to T1 as well...then fuse me via the facets and lock the whole dude down.

    The good side... My "upper" thoracic looks great. The bad...my upper cervical looks not so good....fingers crossed!! (G) Kind of big time (mentally) concerned I will lose the last 2 disk supported levels - as C1/2 doesn't have a disk....sigh.

    The x-rays are pretty sad to see.. :(

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • That sounds pretty drastic. I had no idea that you were at this point. The only thing I would say is that I'd encourage you to get another opinion before having that much done. What you are about to undertake is huge and will change you forever. OF course, I am not trying to scare you. Just concerned over the amount of work this doc says you need.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Cindy,

    Actually I've had 3 'surgeon' surgical opinions and 3 spine specialist (fellowship trained) opinions, and except for some wanting to go front and back, most were all the same end result. 5 level, posterior lock down, and with calcification showing laminectomies C4-T1 to free all that mess up... :(

    I thought "sure I need a revision, and maybe a 3 level"... I didn't count on that level fubaring all that it has. You really see the instability in flex/ext/lat x-rays. I did my CT today, and even though I knew that pseudo was there, WOW is it there in the CT!! Grrr... So yeah, I am now thanks to being ignored, a mess! (G) I decided in the end to go to the Ortho side of the house this time...

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • No more "posterior" cervical types?? I kind of "suspect" my (cough) comfy level, but trying to get a gage. I think for now, I will elevate my bed so when I come home, I have a "Lazy-boy" ready for me? Sigh, so not looking forward to this....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Sleeping was no problem it is the getting up that is a b##ch!!!! I had to go to a hospital bed because it was unbearable. I went my first 2 days at home with my regular bed, big mistake. If you are offered a hospital bed my suggestion is to take it for the first week or two. I was not able to get comfortable in a recliner so the bed was the only option for me. Brenda we all have read the horror stories on the posterior approach and for me with the exception of getting up out of bed it was not too bad. But wow do I remember those moments all too well. I listened to my surgeon who said to walk daily to keep the muscles from getting any angrier then what they were and it does help so walk your heart out!!!
  • I'm with Susan. I didn't have too much trouble sleeping -- mostly on my side propped up with pillows in front and behind. The painful part was getting up. For several weeks I did the log roll where you roll to the edge of the bed and put your legs out first. Then you can use your arms to push up. You might want to practice this now but guaranteed it's the getting up that stinks.
  • Howdy Susan!!

    Chuckling with you. My surgeon told me I would be on "total BLT lock down" short of walking!! (G) I hear ya there! I bought a TempurPedic adjustable bed when I retired "fully" in thought for future lumbar surgery! In years past, my neck would be so bad on waking I had to grab my lower teeth to get out of bed - so I can picture what you are talking about!!

    I have a feeling this will be an interesting adventure to say the least!!! Sigh... Thanks much Ms. Susan. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was thinking to make your Lazy Boy even better you could get one of the sheep skins/furs and fixate it to your chair (maybe even put some memory foam under neath it). Costco sells them at a decent price.

    This is what I have planned on for my future recovery (in the event I have to have the t-spine fusion). I know it could look a little tacky, but who cares right?

    I am working on something special for my car seat as well.

    Good luck,

  • Memory foam...love it! I actually a while back took a 4" memory topper and recycled it! I have one piece I use in the car, another that I have some on the arms of my favorite chair (to be nice to my ulnar and elbows as I lean). A small section for my "princess" of a girl - she is my 19 year old tabby.

    I also took a section and made a nice cushion for the butt! (G) You're right, 'who cares' what it looks like if it works!

    What are you hearing on your T-spine? Mine is not even close (DDD and spurs) which is fine with me given the levels. So for me, the closest T-spine invasion for me will be this fusion (T1/T2), but all will be done from the back. Thinking of ya woman!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Kris,

    Thanks to buying an adjustable bed, hopefully getting up won't be too too bad. I don't think the upper back will be too bad for laying on, it is the rest of the neck with 13" rods on either side gonna feel?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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