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Back Fusion - L5 S1 questions

First off, in advance, I apologize if this is not in the correct forum.

My mother just recently had L5 S1 fusion surgery and was released from the hospital today. It's her first night home and she is having trouble with dealing with pain (it's 1am CST and she's having trouble sleeping). She has a spasm that is running through her right thigh that is triggering even more pain and it's not allowing her to be comfortable. She's tried her pain meds and so far it's not doing anything. I just have a few questions as to how she could help deal with the pain.

1.) She was wondering as to whether or not she can sit in a recliner as she thinks it may help her relax a bit. She claims her doctor said no sitting in a recliner. I've read online that one patient used pillows on their recliner as a means of helping with alignment? Is this even viable?

2.) My mother is a "belly sleeper." She is having a rough time transitioning to sleeping on her back. Is there possibly any way that she can sleep on her stomach? I heard of one person putting pillows where a belt would go, but I'm not too keen on the idea of this. What would you say?

Again, I apologize if this is the wrong place for this type of thread and thank you for taking the time to read this.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 05/24/2013 - 8:28 PM
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • lastnervellastnerve Posts: 68
    edited 05/24/2013 - 9:20 PM
    Only chairs such as an office chair. Nothing puffy. No tummy sleeping. I used to lay on my back with pillows under thighs. Then I would hug a big pillow to give my front the illusion of tummy sleeping sensations.

    Those thigh pains are awful. Aside from massage the really isnt anthything to help. I am sorry.
  • I use ice packs which help a lot!!! I keep several in freezer.I hope she feels better soon kathy
    Kathy B
  • Thanks everyone for the tips I will be sure to pass them along and I will update in a few days to see how she's doing. Thanks again!
  • I am 6 weeks post same surgery. I had those awful spasms in my right thigh, but they were gone in a few days. message helped, bless my husband. My pain meds ( hydrocodone) 10 mg every 4-6 hrs helped and I always sleep on my side with pillow between legs. I use a recliner every day and my doctor said I could sit wherever I was comfortable. Only restrictions he gave me are no driving, and no bending, lifting or twisting and I have to wear my brace unless I'm sitting or sleeping. I am 62 and in good shape and health although I'm not superwoman! Tell your mom to hang in there. I'm finding its a long road and patience is needed.
  • I'd not heard of the no recliner thing. I had a minimally invasive TLIF on L5/S1 with rods & screws on January 16th, 2013 and was put in a hospital recliner the day after surgery. My home recliner isn't comfortable though, and I still have problems laying on my back or sitting reclined in a chair.

    As for stomach sleeping...I'm a stomach sleeper, but my PT says that I should avoid sleeping like that permanently as it's really rough on the spine. Some people manage it more safely using pillows under the pelvis or a body pillow under the entire torso. I've learned to sleep on my side (sometimes my body will try to roll onto my stomach in the middle of the night, but it causes severe pain), but with a body pillow hugged between my knees and arms.
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
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