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best sleeping position

jbtke399jjbtke399 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:46 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm 2 years removed from an L4-L5 discectomy and I feel fine later in the day, but wake up very still most mornings. I have a pretty good mattress that's only 1 year old. I can't sleep on my back (I snore if I do) and I'm most comfortable on my side. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to adjust my sleeping position and/or any products that might help?


  • My thoughts are on your side is fine but I put a pillow between my knees and when I think of it, one behind my back to try to keep my shoulders/hips in alignment.

    I've thought about getting one of those pillows for between your knees but just use a regular one.

    I do sleep on my back with a pillow under my knees.

    I have a temperpedic mattress and I like it but it works for me, not sure if you'd like it.

    I think if you sleep on your stomach, your doctor may discourage it but if it works, I think they can recommend putting a pillow under your hips or something.
  • Jbtke,
    We do have some expectation that our normal sleeping patters will continue, and that is not usually the case as the rigours of the days mean that restless and interrupted sleep are the norms of chronic pain. If we start from the premise that it may never be the same those frustrations are not as dominant, we need a developing strategy for our sleeping habits as improved sleep may be more to do with our heighted pain when attempting sleep, the objective is to keep the increase to a minimum if at all possible. Restricting our activity throughout the days is never easy and we have to see if any of that change would decrease our symptoms at all, in the notion that good effective sleep lowers our wakening pain level where appropriate then trying to reduce the pain in the days should be our primary objective.

    I have learned to rest and even nap at other times as a strategy to manage that increase in pain were complete rest assists some recovery. We all have to find what works for us as individuals and that does not have any consistency at times, what seemed to work last week is not always the same, it is always a balance from using any form of sleeping medication recommended from our doctors, with quality sleep.

    Just as small changes hider our sleeping capability they can also assist and although we expect to improve over time that is generally not the case, the pillow between our legs was always approved from our PT and the other improvements come from constant trial and error.

    Take care.


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  • sorry that you are having problems .the cheapest way is to sleep with a firm pillow {memory foam is best}in between your knees and sleep on your side .the best option is an electrically adjustable bed with a sprung and memory foam combination mattress but this will set you back two thousand pounds or more
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,630
    I strongly encourage to visit Spine-Health's Wellness center regarding sleep:

    Since I've had Lumbar and Cervical surgeries, plus a number of Thoracic herniated discs and recently had a complete shoulder replacement, I can speak about the woes of trying to get a good night sleep.

    Now, I won't even get into the awakening from pain, restless legs, etc, I am only going to take about sleep positions:

    After each of my lumbar surgeries, I found it best to sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs, OR on my back with a pillow under my legs. When you have had lumbar problems, for many it can be painful to sleep , or even rest with you legs straight out.

    The foam wedge was the only way I could sleep. It sort of puts you up in a hospital bed like position.
    I slept that way (along with my hard collar) for about 3 months. After that, I was able to return to a semi-normal sleep position

    Nope, never find a good way to get comfortable. The only way I was able to get some sleep, was to lie on a couch and have my feet dangling off the couch arm. I slept that way, but the down side, it was causing some bad circulation, so that my ankles were always swollen.

    Having been through all the above, I have to rate this as the most difficult to deal with. I have no slept in a real bed for almost 2 years now. Even prior to my surgery, I could only stay in a normal bed for a couple of hours, then I was off to the couch. After surgery, I spent 9 weeks in a recliner, then moved back to the couch. This allowed me to prop myself up against the couch.

    None of it is easy for anyone.
    Then you can talk about mattresses, pillows, etc.
    I've tried memory foam, I've tried hard mattresses, I've tried, plywood under the mattress, the only one that I had some success with was the Select Comfort beds. Those are the ones that are air-bladder inflated. So that you can pump them up to be firm , or make them soft as a down comforter.

    Pillows.... I have my own pillow and when we travel I need it. Most pillows are too stiff and high for me and bother my neck. I have several cervical pillows I use which helps. At times when traveling, I just roll up a towel and put it under my neck.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilauro said:
    I strongly encourage to visit Spine-Health's Wellness center regarding sleep:

    After each of my lumbar surgeries, I found it best to sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs, OR on my back with a pillow under my legs. When you have had lumbar problems, for many it can be painful to sleep , or even rest with you legs straight out.

    vouch this, i like to use a few stiff pillows under my legs to elevate them higher.
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  • Every night, I sleep with a latex pillow under my knees. I would normally toss and turn to my sides after a few hours and in my sleep I would remove the pillow and place it in between my knees.

    However, for the past 1 year, I have not moved a single muscle and been sleeping on my back for the whole night.

    Is that normal? I have L5/S1 herniation for 4 years already, with numbness in my bottom right sole and electric shooting pain on and off.
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