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sleeping in bed after cervical fusion

dbullwinkelddbullwinkel Posts: 224
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
my surgery was July 31st..spend nearly two weeks on recliner sleeping. around that time my husband bought me one of the triangle wedge pillows for the bed. I have been trying it on and off and am having a terrible time trying to sleep with it on the bed. it is now nearly seven weeks post-op. When ever I sleep in bed ( I have not slept through the nite since my surgery either on the recliner or in bed) I wake up terrible pain. almost feels like I can feel the metal in my neck pressing into the base of my skull. I thought I was slipping down, so i put a piece of non-skid stuff that goes under carpets under my pillow with no luck. the man in the store said to use my regular pillow on top of the wedge so I put the non-skid stuff in between. I was told not to lay flat yet. I see doctor on the 26th. of this month for x-rays.
I guess I should just stick with the recliner for now? Just looking for experiences with getting a decent night sleep. Thanks.


  • Hey there,

    I have heard of so many people sleeping in recliners after there ACDF.

    I just had my 2 level ACDF C 4-5 and C 5-6 and I don't have a recliner and opted to search and aearch for a wedge pillow that I thought would work. I called a lot of companies and asked about them or if they sold them and ended up havng to get one from the internet.

    I am so sorry to hear that you feel you have not had a good nights sleep since your surgery...it has been a while since the surgery and it is concerning to hear you say you sort of think you might feel the instumentaion that was used poking or maybe in the wrong place. Have you spoken with the doc in depth about it? Just curious!

    Another thing that you said that was interesting was that you are not able to sleep flat yet? That is interesting becasue I was told to try and sleep flat more often then on my side and thats why I got the wedge pillow.

    My wedge cost a lot of money $179.00 to be exact including the shipping. I love this wedge. It is made out of the same materials as a tempurpedic mattress and has a top layer a few inches think of memory foam. The place I ordered it from told me if it was 100% memory foam I would just sink into it.

    I found that after looking at many many wedges in stores and on the internet that the ones that came in a long length looked as though it would work best to keep me from slipping down.
    The wedge I orderd came as a set of three pillows. It had the origan wedge which I believe it 10 inches in heigth 30 + incehs in length and about 26 inches wide.
    The two other pillows are for the cervical area and the lumbar area. They are made of 100% memory foam and are sort of like a long tube.

    dbulwinkle, when I first came home from the hospital, the pillow had not arrived and I had no choice but to try and simmulate some type of reclined position with many pillows. It was very uncomfortable until that wedge finally arrived 2 days after being home from surgery. Since then I have used it every night. I sleep on my back which is not my normal sleeping posistion. I am normally a side sleeper. Anyway the pillow has been a god sen and I totally love it.
    Maybe a differnt angled and sized on made from different type of materials then the one hubby bought might help.

    i am going to say some prayers that this sleeping stuff will get worked out because we really need our rest after this ACDF surgery!
    Please feel free to PM me anytime ok :)

  • The doctors must all be different. I had a hospital bed and was trying to sleep upright for the first 2 weeks after my surgery. At my 2 week post op, the doctor told me I could lay flat. Since then, I sleep with a pillow under my neck (not to fluffy of a pillow) and a pillow under my knees so that I don't move.
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  • Hi dbullwinkel.
    I had ACDF C5-C6 with Donor Bone & Titanium Plate & Screws on July 14th. I started trying to sleep in the bed after about 2 weeks. I sleep in the bed, but not comfortably. I still toss and turn a lot and wake up aching. (It depends on my position as to where the ache is...) I would speak with my surgeon about it and just keep trying to return to your bed even if it's only for an hour or two at a time. Until the night you sleep in your bed all the way through the night, be thankful you have the recliner to sleep in. I'm still thankful for mine! I'll be praying you can get some comfortable rest.
    God Bless,
  • After my first fusion I never did get back to the bed. I tried the recliner for a few days and that didn't work either so I ended up on the couch. I slept there for almost 6 months until my second fusion. It took about 6 weeks after this recent surgery until I could go to the bed but I still go back to ol faithful often...my good ol couch.

    I can NOT sleep on my back for any length of time or I simply can't use my arms for hours. I also can't sleep on my right side. I'm destined to sleeping in a fetal position on my left side for the rest of my life LOL!

    When your doc gives you the go-ahead try different positions. You'll find that "sweet spot" that feels the best. It's not abnormal to not sleep through the night at this point in your recovery. Just be sure to take naps whenever possible and walk when you can to tire you out.

    I hope you get some quality sleep soon.

  • I had my first fusion at C5-C6 in 1999 and a revision in May 08. My first NS didn't tell me anything and I had to learn the hard way that it was almost impossible to sleep in bed after a fusion. I found a recliner and basically lived in it for three months. Occasionally I would have the strength and the courage to get into bed, but with lots of pillows under my head and neck. I also put some around me. Nine years later I still sleep with four pillows.

    I am a side sleeper and remember the first night I was able t sleep on my side: even with the Philly collar on it was like the best Christmas gift I could have ever hoped to get. Go slowly and recline as much as you can and then just prop yourself with pillows. Eventually you'll get back to where you were before; it took me about 5 months.

    This time around I got all my pillows, recliner and hot pads lined up before surgery and was able to get back into bed after three days. Just depends on the doc's touch I guess.

    Good luck. Heal well.
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  • I had my C6-C7 anterior fusion done less than two weeks ago. They gave me a soft collar to use for comfort. I slept on my back the first night, placing a thin pillow under my shoulders, and a thicker one under my head. The collar snuggled in nice and neat between the gap.

    Since that first night I have slept on my side. I use the collar when I sleep and use just enought pillow(s) to make sure my spine stays in line. Works well for me.
  • I am almost 10 weeks post-op. I wore a cervical collar 24/7 for the first 6 weeks. Used a soft collar during the day and Aspen collar to sleep in. I used 2 pillows - one flat and the other folded in half to "prop" my head/neck up. I slept on my side and was able to sleep pretty well. I also use CPAP for sleep apnea which had to be fitted around the brace - a challenge for sure. I did try sleeping in a recliner but found that too uncomfortable. I hope you find what is comfortable for you. Just hang in there.
  • Can someone tell me if they still have pain in their top shoulder? the ball of it? I get needle pains. Also I had Anterior fusion descectomy with instrumentation in my neck. When I go to brush my teeth I can feel like a gagging. Anyone have this issue. I cannot sleep all night yet either. I had surgery in July this is going on November. Any advise. I have tried hard pillows, soft pillows, Thanks. Please feel free to email me. preiland@houstonmethodist.org
    Pamela Reiland
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