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Sleep Ideas

chaucercchaucer Posts: 2

Like many here, I suffer from terrible pain that starts in my lower left back and down my leg into my ankle. It is a L4-L5 problem.

I have had one ESI and am scheduled for a second this week.

I can tolerate the pain during the day, but at night it is just awful. I doze off for about 30-60 minutes than wake up in terrible pain. From that point on, I just can't fall asleep from the pain. I have not sleep more than a few hours for a long time. I saw my doctor today and my Lyrica was upped from 50 to 75 mg twice a day and they suggested I change from oxycodone 10-325 to nortab 10-325. Not sure why. The pain medicine does nothing at night to help.

I've tried all possible sleeping positions I can think of. I'm mostly on my back on the floor. I've tried chairs/recliners and they seem to be worse.

I do seem to do a bit better on my stomach, Is that considered a bad position?

I also try to stretch everyday and ride a recumbent exercise bike for about 15-30 minutes. They hurt, but I'm hoping they are helping in some way.

Any other suggestions from those going through the same thing.

Good luck to all.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 01/05/2015 - 10:07 AM
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi.

    That's a great link for sleep thanks dilauro.

    I suffered from sciatic pain from L5/S1. I found side lying with pillows between my legs helped the most.
  • bobhossackbbobhossack Posts: 3
    edited 01/10/2015 - 1:46 PM
    Hi Chaucer

    I have now been suffering from and L4/L5 compression/irritation for the past 4+ months. Like you I had great difficulty getting any quality sleep for the first 2 months. This was despite having large amounts of medication like Tramadol, Naproxen, C0-codamol, paracetamol, Diazepam and Morphine Sulphate. The last 2 medications did extend my undisturbed sleep pattern from the usual 1 hour to about 3 hours. Like you I had tried all different sleeping positions but it was only after about 2 months that I realised that if I lay on my back and did not turn onto my sides or stomach the stinging neuropathic pain would not build up. Prior to this I kept continually moving onto my sides, stomach and back then rising for an hour or two before the pain subsided. It was purely by chance that I realised that lying on my sides caused the pain to build up and, if it did, I had to lie on my back for several minutes before it eased off. I now find that if I sleep on my back the pain does not build up and I can get a full night's sleep. My next door neighbour is a consultant on specialist medicines at our local hospital and he told me some time ago that it was exteremely unusual not to find a sleeping position which does not cause pain build up. It seems he was right. Perhaps if you experiment and persevere you may find the sleeping posture which works for you. I hope you do because I know how bad it is coping with the effects of high level pain, sleep depravation and the effects of strong medication.

    Good Luck and let me know how you get on.

  • Hi Chaucer

    I am 4 plus months down the road of severe neuropathic pain from an L4/L5 nerve root compression/irritation. Like you one of my biggest problems was getting more than an hour or so of sleep before rising and walking about for an hour or two till the crippling neuropathic pain died down. I was on Naproxen, Co-codamol, Paracetamol, Amitryptiline then Gabapentin and none of these helped with sleeping (don't even know how much they reduced the severe stinging neuropathic pain). I was then on Diazepam and latterly Morphine Sulphate to try to subdue the pain at sleep time.
    Whilst trying to sleep I usually moved around a lot in bed turning from back to sides to stomach to try to find a relatively pain-free position.
    It took me 2 months to discover that if I lay on my back and didn't move onto my sides the neuropathic pain would not build up and I could sleep comfortably for several hours. My next door neighbour is a specialist medicines consultant at my local hospital and he had told me that it was extremely unusual to not be able to find a pain-free sleeping posture. I simply had not lain long enough in sleeping postures to find the appropriate position.
    I also had a spinal infiltration 2 months ago but it is difficult to determine how much relief it affords me. Even now, if I move onto my sides whilst in bed I feel the neuropathic pain strating up after a minute or so. I have found that quality sleep (and perhaps some natural healing?) have benefited my condition a lot and I have drastically reduced all my medication which had some undesirable side effects. The neuropathic pain still happens at certain times during the day but it is usually low strength unless it has been aggravated by bad postural activitied when it becomes stronger.
    Strangely enough the area of pain which has bothered me most since my back problem started has been the ball of my foot close to my big toe. The orthopaedic spinal specialist says that I now have a problem with my sesamoids and has offered to remove them. I do not understand how they have become problematic - they are two small bones embedded in tendons connected to the big toe. He has also offered my an operation to de-compress the nerve root(s).

    I would like to hear how you are progressing as we have a defect in the same area (L4/L5)
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