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The effects of sleeping positions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey Everyone!!
Before my surgery ( I am 7+ weeks post op) I use to alternate between being on my back and both sides semi fetal with pillows between my knees and ankles when sleeping.
Since surgery, I fall asleep on my back in short order after a ritual of finding the right combo of pillows under my knees to feet (head too). I wake up in the exact position I fall asleep in. Still have incredible pain in my right shoulder and to be honest, I take more pain meds for that then my back. I have to wait 12 weeks post-op for a shoulder exam. The surgeon said it may be Bursitis.
What worries me is that I wake up with numbness in my feet and toes, from both legs and tingling in my fingers on both hands as if the circulation has been cut due to bending elbows and knees. I figure it may come from being in a staionary position and not turning while sleeping. Still in a 'do not BLT until my next check up' mode.
I check blood pressure and it's pretty good (with meds).
Still taking a diueretic post-op as well.
I am type 2 Diabetic and on a new med (Byetta) and the sugars are perfect too.
The Endo Doc told me the numbness was from the surgery and not Neuropathy.
Is it still a bit normal for the nerves to cause the numbness?
From what I read and hear, 6 months is more likely recovery time.
Yes, I walk and do exercises for an hour in the pool every day, errands and the like. I hope to be able to return to my career come September.
Not really comfy on the Down Couch yet so I stay pretty much away from it.
all in all I guess I am on track for recovery. Just, gosh like everone else, enough is how long of a time???



  • Hi bear ~

    You never say what your surgery was...a fusion? What level(s)?

    Yes the numbness you describc can just be from nerve irritation during the surgery - that can take a bit of time. I wouldn't assume it's neuropathy, b/c it's probably acute at this point, so soon after surgery. You did say you have diabetes though; any numbness from that pre-opt?

    You sound good with the walking, etc you are doing. Keep that up b/c walking is great for healing. Make sure your doctor approves your exercise program.

    Hang in there, recovery can take a long time and sometimes it's full of bad and good days. Watch that shoulder too - hope you can get some help with that soon. :)
  • I had a Fusion L5-S1 with a couple of screws, rods and a spacer. Wednesday will be 8 weeks and today I took a percocet. It is more of a stiffness than pain when I take pain meds for my back. They help me relax and be more loose but the Shoulder?, that's pain.
  • Hi Chef,

    Funny that you mention the neck pain, because I have been experiencing some during the past week. I also sleep in the same position as you do, and been doing it since way before my L3-S1 fusion in May. Everything was fine until last Monday when I noticed some neck pain (the kind you have after sleeping in the wrong position. Then it traveled down my shoulder/back. I take Tylenol for it and long hot showers. These help momentarily then the pain back. What I don't understand is that I am not moving much during sleep as I wake up in the same position so I am really puzzled. I even started to suspect that maybe it originates from my cervical vertenrae, although I have no figer numbness.

    I wonder if it is possible to put stress on the cervial area once you had lumbar surgery - kind of a compensation? What do you think?

    Kin :jawdrop: :sick: :jawdrop: :sick:
  • Kinpain;
    Hey!!! I do not have neck pain but shoulder pain that at times is impressive. Perhaps positioning during surgery made the pain more acute. i had some pain time from time in my right shoulder and caulked it up to swimming.
    Neck pain IMO is maybe due to too much height pillow wise. Maybe try one flatter and firmer.
    Do you find yourself sliding off the pillow into a uncomfortable position?
    BTW I just received a lightweight recliner and I am trying it out!!. Up to now?, Dining room chairs with a Gel pad.
    Whoo Who!!
  • i use to be a total side sleeper and i have always made a "pillow fest" around myself, 2 pillows in back of me plumped up to protect my lower back, then 1 under my arm and shoulder on the bed, and 1 between my knees. Well my meds knock me out so fast and hard that I am finding that I walk up everyday flat on my back and I must stay so still because my arms and neck are very stiff and sore and my hands get tingly and or numb.

  • Thanks for the advise. On top of my memory foam have a foam wedge under my back/head and on it a soft pillow and a cushier one. maybe I'll try removing on e of the pillows and even the foam wedge and try leeping on the memory foam with one pillow. But in the hospital I got used to sleeping on the bed raised under my head.

    Good riddance of all pain, neck, shoulder and back!

    Kin :P :P :P :P
  • Kin;
    With a hospital bed, wasn't that your whole upper body was in the 'desired' position and not just your neck?
    Propping yourself with too many pillows to simulate that isn't the same I think. If you experiment, you might get better relief. Me?, another day away from surgery is a day closeer to freedom!!
  • I Just wish I could find a conmfy position.
    I spend about 2 hrs every night turning from side to side then I try my back. Often I feel Ok then I start to get a bit of tingling in one or the other foot so have to change again. More often then not itis past 3am when I finally get to sleep.
    Ususally I end up half on my tummy/half on my side (OS OKed this)with a pillow under my tummy and one leg bent.

    I used to go to bed with about 6 pillows, as we do but then I was waking and found them all on the floor!

    Bear I think your problems are partially to with with not moving during the night. And of course because you are still pretty fresh post -op.
    Can you try a different position and see what it is like.
    When you walk up with the numbness, does it go soon after you move position or does it hang around for a while? Take not of this for your next Drs visit.

    Cant help you with the shoulder I am afraid.

    Blessings Sara
  • Thanks Sara;
    I am going to see if I can get away with less pillows initially. I am also going to sleep with my arm inside my t-shirt to restrict movement. Stay tuned, I guess.
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