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Had my fusion got a question...

Hi all,

So I had my spinal fusion 1 week ago and it all went well - dealing with the pain with meds and ok at no but wondering how long before I can sleep on my side as opposed to on my back?

I've got a lot of pain still in my left leg but it's a different pain to what I had there before so I'm hoping this will go?


  • Honestly I can't remember how long it took me to sleep on my side. I think my body just kept gradually creeping anyway it felt most comfortable while I was sleeping. Do yourself a huge favor and get off those opiates ASAP. My surgeon was a good surgeon, but, my recovery he left completely up to me. Unfortunately he never gave me that heads up. He just slowly started to disassociate himself from me by sending me off to pain management doctors. After my fusion he instructed me to take oxy condone every 4 hrs for pain... Obviously I had pain so I took them. He kept saying it will take up to a year for the healing and recovery process. Eventually I was just so high all the time that it made me not know if I was getting better or not. The pain mess just effected every aspect of my life. Get off the meds. Before your body becomes dependent on them. I was taking them for a year and I had to go cold turkey by myself in my room. That sucked more than the surgery! I tried slowly weaning off them. My surgeon sent me to a pain management doctor who wanted me to take methadone? Three or four hospital visits later for severe abdominal pain... One removed gallbladder and all the bills associated with that, I finally had to kick cold turkey like a drug addict.
  • KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
    edited 06/23/2012 - 3:12 PM
    Did your surgeon or his staff tell you that you shouldn't sleep on your side? You didn't mention if your fusion was neck or back, but I guess maybe lumbar since you mention leg pain. I had cervical fusion and lumbar laminectomy and discectomy. Both times I started sleeping on my side within a few days, with pillows stuffed in behind me to provide support.

    I hope your leg pain goes away soon. Your surgeon will be able to give you some further advice on your leg. The amount of recovery is individual and can take a while to tell how things will ultimately turn out.

    Take care,


    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Welcome to the other side of surgery! I hope that you continue to improve day to day and have a complete recovery with solid fusion.
    I did not have a fusion, but had an adr, which was done anteriorly. Did you have a ALIF or PLIF? I know that when I was in the recovery room I could not wait to get on my side...as this is my only somewhat comfortable position. I was allowed to sleep that way right off the bat with pillows between legs and one behind back
    Wishing you all the best!
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hi and thanks for the replies....

    I had I believe a PLIF L5 S1 and decompression. I ask about the sleeping thing as I've woken on my side twice and that is how I would normally sleep but I just don't want to do any damage if you know what I mean
  • Since I sleep on my sides all the time I sleep with a small pillow between my legs (this has been recommended). I also have another between my arms to cushion the elbows (my idea).
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • bookcatbbookcat United States Posts: 66
    edited 06/24/2012 - 3:41 PM
    I have had 3 consecutive PLIFs (L2-5). The only time I slept on my back was in the hospital during post op recovery. When I got home I slept on my side. No problems w/fusions or recovery from sleeping on my side. I am now looking at 2-level ACDF (C5-7) and still sleeping on my side!

    Very good luck w/your recovery and, if you decide to sleep on your side, your pillow arrangement sounds perfect.

    PLIF L1-3 6/13
    ACDF (C5-7) 8/12
    PLIF (L2-5) 2003/05/08
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