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Pain meds - do they make you unable to sleep?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So I am going to have the surgery ALIF/PLIF in March. My question is, when I take either Ultram or Percocet even though it makes me "sleepy" I) and relaxed, I have difficulty sleeping. Anybody else have this? I am worried about having the surgery and then not being able to sleep afterwards with all the meds. I also noticed that the meds can sometimes make me itch. @)


  • Sometimes itching is a sign of a slight reaction to the medication, I found that out the hard way after I had already rubbed myself raw. At first, the Hydrocodone and Flexeril would make me fall right to sleep, but since I have stopped the flex and just take the hydro, I get that feel nothing, sleepy, relaxed nauseating feeling, like I feel like I can sleep for days, and I shut my eyes...but yet.....nothing happens....2am.....4am....time just keeps going....sigh....I have found though, that eating a complete meal, exercising and taking the meds, helps me sleep.
  • Sometimes Norco will keep me awake if I don't take my muscle relaxer.
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  • i have the same issue. i think alot of people do. i take my meds, lay down on the couch to watch tv and feel like a log. i want to close my eyes and sleep, but i get upstairs and also toss and turn. ugghh I) I)
    i find my soma (muscle relaxer) helps or valium at times.
    i also found amtriptyline to be awesome for a great REM sleep. problem with that till your body adjusts you feel like crap in the morning same as with any sleeping med. a very groggy feeling

    i think its the codiene in the meds. iv learned from many years of using them.
    i find ultram even though a non narcotic makes my heart race and i feel like i have drank a pot of coffee. go figure thats what they give me with the artery issues i have going on. oh yeah make my blood pump harder!! [( [(

    so try a few different things. take your meds just as you lay in bed. mabye lay with heat. i find if i take them to early i cannot sleep at all.

    itching: benedryl may help with that. i itch at some points but not all the time. depends on the day ;)

    talk to your dr about this mabye your routine of meds can be changed if that is not working for ya!!

    i wish you the best of luck. alot of us live that all the time.

    pain + meds = no sleep alot of times. 8}

    hang in there! I) I) I) I) I)
  • Fortunately, I don't have any problem with the meds keeping me awake. I've got the constitution of a horse, so they say, and I don't have all the unpleasant reactions to meds. Vicodin doesn't make me sleepy, but if I take it at night along with the Neurotin and muscle relaxer and Ambian CR, I sleep really well.
  • Even before surgery I found I can't sleep if I take pain meds(Codeine, Hydro, Tramadol). They make me relaxed and sleepy, but I can't actually fall asleep. My doc Rx ambien and I can sleep with only taking a 1/2 pill.

    BTW, paulplg, my head used to get itchy with hydrocodone, but now I don't anymore. OTC cold meds really make me itchy, though.
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  • Hmmmm, maybe that is why I can't sleep worth a darn. Never even considered it since narcotics theoretically should make you sleepy. When I had my wisdom teeth out, 7.5 mg of hydrocodone made me itch like crazy. Post-op after my spine surgery, I was taking 20mg of hydrocodone and didn't itch at all. Doesn't make since, maybe it was different manufacturers. Itching is considered a side-effect of narcotics and not actually an allergy unless you get a rash. Itching isn't necessarily a reason to change meds unless it is unbearable. Another odd thing with hydrocodone is it tends to give me a headache. Crazy drugs 8}
  • If your doc will prescribe something to make you sleep, great, give it a shot. Otherwise, depending on your pain level try taking your narcotics only early in the day. After lunch I would just use ice and heat and take muscle relaxers in the evening and I could usually sleep OK. I was very happy to finally have the ambien, though, and be able to take narcotics in the PM.

    The other med I found that makes me not sleep is fluoxitine (Prozac). I had been taking it a year or so before my surgery for anxiety, but had stopped taking it after I was able to eliminate some stress from my life. I was advised to start it again just before my surgery to help avoid post-op depression. The doc that prescribed it is also the doc that prescribed the ambien because he said insomnia is a common side affect of SSRI's. I read somewhere that when you are in REM sleep you have almost no seratonin present in your neural synapses. Since SSRI's impede the reuptake of seratonin, it's always there and probably interrupts your body's ability to reach REM sleep.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • I take Percocet and Valium, and I get maybe 4 hours of sleep a night. When I don't take my meds, I fall asleep at like, 9 or 10 pm and get up at 7am.
  • I too cannot sleep when taking any type of pain pill. For that matter, even sleeping pills such as Ambien keep me awake. I can remember being in the hospital after my surgeries turning on the TV watching all the late night talk shows because I couldn't sleep. And that was using the morphine pump.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • I think I went almost 48 hours without sleeping when I had my ACDF surgery (not counting being under general anesthesia) Got up at 5am to go to the hospital on Monday (7:30am surgery). My first post-op memories were in SICU about 11:30am. I never slept in the hospital...watched TV all night and kept the morphine flowin! I left the hospital at 11am Tuesday and had a 5 hour car ride home OUCH! Sucking down lortab 7.5 like tic tacs the whole way. Once home I never did sleep until around 4:30am Wednesday when I finally dosed off for a couple hours. I only got 2-3 hours of sleep at a time for the first week post-op. Thank goodness I'm back to sleeping through the night!

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