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Sleeping positions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just had PLIF sugrgery with decompression and hardwear and scoliosis correction on Nov. 18th. I am sleeping through the night but I am only able to sleep on my back with my legs flat or knees up. Is there any other positions to sleep in to alleviate some of the pressure laying on your back creates? I would like to sleep on my side but am unsure as to how to roll over without the sides of the hospital bed to hold onto. Any advice would be great thank you! I)


  • At first I, too. had trouble rolling over without the bed rails to help me. I had to either wake up my husband to help me roll over or get up and get back in bed on whichever side I wanted to lie on. The latter was easier. I found lying on either side with a pillow between my knees to help take pressure off of the spine was the most comfortable sleeping position for me. Putting another pillow behind my back also helped support me on my side. (This is the position they showed me in the hospital for sleeping)

    The log roll gets easier after the first couple of weeks.
  • Michelle:

    For several weeks after surgery I needed my husband to help me roll over to my side to sleep. He used a "pull sheet" to help me roll over. I used a pillow between my knees and pillows behind my back to hold me up so I wouldn't roll back. I had a hospital bed also, very helpful. I could only lie on my side for a short time because my hip would get sore. I does "all" get better in time.

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  • I made myself several slip sheets which were simply a length of satin sewn onto a small sheet (like a draw sheet) and tucked in both sides. You need to have sheet not satin at the edge so you dont slip off.
    This slip sheet as I called it made it sooo easy to move around in bed. I even took it to hopsital with me.

    Thankfully My Dr said I was able to lie in any position that I was comfortable. The first month I slept between on my back and my side but after a month I started to roll so now I usually sleep 1/2 side 1/2 tummy which is OK by Dr and PT.
    I have a mini pillow which I put under my tummy.

    Hope that helps and that you can find a friend with a sewing machine. It only took 10 minutes to make but worth its weight in gold.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • ..that if I lie on my side (the left side seems more comfy) I keep my bottom leg straight, bend the top leg at the knee, put a small pillow between the knee & the bed & another small pillow as balast against my lower back, then sort of "hug" another pillow to keep my balance...hard to describe, but helps settle down those spasms at night & keeps the spine totally straight.

    I often, now at 11 months, wake up on my back; but at first I couldn't turn over in my sleep,etc. At first, I would sorta "scootch" to the edge of the bed (on my side) & then push ip w/ my arms to a sitting position to get up. Or as was mentioned, my hubby would assist me by gently rolling me to the edge....

    Ungainly no matter how you do it...but the key is COMFORT..

    If it's any solace to you, I still can't sleep thru the night. Get about 4 hrs (w/ a pill at bedtime) then need to get up & walk around a little, then return to bed, etc...

    Any position, no matter how comfy at first, becomes painful after a few hours. Before all this I was a tummy sleeper & I still miss that! Oh well! At least I get to see a lot of gorgeous sunrises! :)

    Try the "pillow fest" thing & hang in there! Oh--BTW: get (if you don't already have one) a TempurPedic-type mattress topper thingy. We have an actual TenpurPedic mattress, but the toppers are good also. They mold themselves to your body & feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. Get one at least 4-6" deep, so you can really sink into it. Ahhh!

    Hang in there! You are just a week out---this is a long recovery, so experiment w/ what works for you & then get your very-much-needed rest! :)

    ~Lakeside (on her side soon--been a tough day!)
  • You have perfectly described how to use the pillows to get comfy in bed! Good job!

    And yes, the memory foam mattress topper made all the difference in the world for sleeping. I simply could not get comfortable in bed until I got one.
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  • I find the most comfortable way to sleep is by being surrounded by lots of pillows. I have to under my head. One under my feet, 1 between my legs and 1 at my side. I too sleep on my side but my hips get sore so I have to turn every 30-60 minutes every night to switch hips. I also find most comfort in having one leg stretch out and the other bent with a pillow between my legs, feet, at my side. Hope this helps. (I just use my small decorative couch pillows to put under my knees, feet and sides.
  • ...definately have the bottom leg strecthed out, & bend the upper leg at the knee, with the pillow between that knee & the bed...

    Ming, I had to LOL when I read you use just a "small decorative couch pillow"....as my most-used knee/to/bed pillow is a little Hallmark ShoeBox greeting needlepoint deal that has a graphic of a cow, feet in the air (as in dead...) with the caption "No, really, I'm fine!"...

    Someone gave it to me during my acute recovery period & it makes me laugh every PM!

    And at last count (last PM) I am surrounded by 7 pillows & 2 cats...as close to "wrecked back heaven" as possible right now... :)


    BYW: Is anyone else watching the Liftime Movie channel 25th anniversary of Thorn Birds? Talk about taking your mind off the pain...! What a treat! I sit on my exercise ball, roll around gently & remember how YOUNG everyone was 25 years ago! Is that good or bad?! :))(
  • Thank you all so much for the advice! I will definatly be trying some of these techniques tonight. I am surrounded by pillows in bed just haven't been sure what to do with all of them LOL. And Lakeside, I actually purchased a temper pedic bed as a result of trying to avoid surgery last year and I was LOL when you said it feels like a cloud because my husband and I have referred to our bed as a "marshmellow cloud" since we purchsed it :))( !
    Thank you all for your support and advice it is very comforting to know I can talk/email with people that understand these "problems". I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have had this surgery and hopefully rid my life somewhat of my back problems!
    Take care everyone! >:D<
  • When I read your "surrounded by 7 pillows" I decided maybe I need to go back to the umpteen pillows for comfort! It is unusually chilly tonight so I did heat up 2 microwave "bed buddies" and have them behind my back and around my left hip. So nice and warm and comforting!

    But I hate that I missed the Thorn Birds - I will check and see if they are showing it again.
  • ...they are showing the Thorn Birds all week on Lifetime Movie Channel (we have Warner cable,maybe your's is different?) They are running it all week, 2 hrs a night. It's to the part now where Meggie is grown up & Ralph has to make some decisions...

    Ah, 7 pillows, some heated bed buddies & a TempurPedic...as my Grandma used to say "Life is what you make it!"

    So get comfy, hunker down (also have a down comforter) and REST!

    You will laugh: I even took 5 pillows to the hospital w/ me after my 1st surgery, as they NEVER have enough or the right sized ones & they are like rocks. After my fusion, I looked like I was surrounded by a FORT of pillows! My NS joked he couldn;t find me! :) I just surrounded myself & laid low while others attended to me. 2 days of oblivion b4 they got me up---helped immensely. (100% down + my cow pillow--I'm sure the nurses thought I was totally nuts! )

    But after 3 spinals, you find out what works. And a few good pillows are golden! And I was in no condition to humor anyone!

    Sleep tight!

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