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Sleeping after ALIF

Hi all,

I am now 2 mos post ALIF surgery. Everything seems to be going as planned, except that I am still having a lot of trouble getting comfortable while sleeping. Unfortunately, it's most comfortable now for me to sleep in a recliner chair. I am dying to get back in my bed though! The problem is the pain I get from lying flat. I've tried pillows under the knees and that helps for a while until I start getting pain in my spine. Laying on my side causes bad hip pain. I haven't tried laying on the stomach since I know that's a big no-no. I would love to hear from others that have had this problem and what you have done to alleviate the situation. Please tell me I'm not alone!!



  • You're not alone... And it does get easier.. I'm 16 months post op and doing well
    Pillows are your friend. If you share a bed put a pillow between you so you dont get bumped,kneed, elbowed etc.
    I found sleeping on my side with a small pillow between my knees the most comfortable.
    I know that hip pain too and I hope this isn't too much info but try exercising your butt muscles by clenching them, one side at a time and then release. You can do this lying down, sitting or standing. I'm not sure how it works but it did for me. That and walking will make your feel less sore. I started very gentle hydrotherapy at three months post op and the hot water does wonders too.
    I hope this helps, I'm happy to try and answer any other questions you might have.
    DDD. Married,Mum of 2, Age 45: 2007 & 2008 L5/S1 Discectomy
    April 2013 L5/S1 Anterior Fusion
    & L4/L5 Artificial Disc Replacement
  • sleeping after any surgery is hard work but ALIF is particularly painful .even with an electric adjustable bed and many pillows I still cant get comfy either .I end up on my recliner when I had my ALIF I had to sleep on my back and I hated it my mouth was dry and moving to get off the bed was agony .your recliner is probably the best sleeping on your recliner .try a small pillow in your back two under your bent knees and one for your head then try sleeping slightly to the side that's not too painful so you're not ;;sat up ..on your chair your more to one side if you know what I mean .your recovery will be long after ALIF and I am afraid you will just have to tough it out a little .you will be able to get back to bed BUT it may still be hard work if you have a flat bed .again using pillows may help I know many use pillows in between their knees and a shaped pillow for there head you should be able to lay on your side with your knees bent and hopefully you should be a little comfier .despite what I have said I am a few years from my ALIF and I still have to sleep on my recliner 2 months is very early in your recover it will take many more months for you to feel any benefit from your ALIF .you are aware that your ALIF was to stabilise your spine ? many still think that the ALIF was done for pain relief .if you have leg pain /altered sensation in your feet legs its more than likely that that will be permanent .you may be one of the lucky ones and find that you don't get pain relief .your incision pain should be going by now but the lower back ache will still be there and your back will be very weak for many more months to come .after about a year you should be able to gauge how your recovery is going its a long game and I wish you lots of luck with it .just try to be patient and experiment with different sleeping positions
  • Hi,
    I am 10 mos post ALIF and I too still have issues. I actually bought a 3" mattress topper that was recommended for bad backs and it made a world of difference. I was having that hip pain too while laying on my side, I think because my bed was too firm (even though it was a pillow top). I still sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees and sometimes I have to still put a pillow at the small of my back (kind of like you would with a baby to keep it on it's side) in order to be comfy. I really think the mattress topper was a life saver though, because it is softer and gentler.
    Good luck, I know sleeping in a recliner is not fun!
  • My fusion was 6 years ago. From day one, I haven't been able to sleep, day or night, without taking prescription help. Does anyone think it has to do with the hardware? I have titanium C5-6.
  • AZRNAAZRN Posts: 9
    edited 09/17/2014 - 10:03 PM
    I use a 3" memory foam mattress topper. My hips hurt like crazy at first but have since adjusted. My first night home was without the memory foam and it was horrible so I had friends put it back on for me. I highly recommend it! And yes pillows are wonderful! I would sleep through the night if I didn't have to get up to go to the bathroom. I'm 3 weeks post op ALIF L5-S1.
  • I had my surgery 6 weeks ago and what I found that helped me sleep on my bed was propping myself up with a lot of pillows. Its sort of like you get the reclining sleep number bed, but without spending the money on it. I never use a pillow between my legs either. The first 3 or 4 weeks I was in my recliner but couldn't take it anymore. It might take a couple of days or a week to get use to it, but theres nothing like sleeping in your own bed.
  • A body pillow is your friend, my friend! Sleeping after ALIF Is hard, heck log rolling yourself after ALIF is hard. Get a body pillow see if that will help. It helped me. Otherwise it's pillows under the back and legs that mimic a reclining chair. I am 10 months post op and this is a HUGE surgery to recover from. (I have major complications at the incision site (c-sectionish incision) so that set me back still does) I underestimated it completely. I still have to log roll myself out of bed and I wake up at night to roll over because it's painful. Hang in there. You aren't alone.
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