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mbeckett
06-19-2012, 12:09 AM
I just had 2 stage scoliosis surgery on May 17 and May 22. For the most part, I am doing quite well. However, I am having trouble sleeping through the night. I can't even sleep through half the night. I've tried going to bed early when I am first tired, I've tried going to bed later to make sure I am really tired, I've tried drinking hot decaf tea, a couple of nights I took melatonin, another couple of nights I tried xanax, nothing works. I keep waking up after an hour/hour and a half. Only a few nights have I woke up, went to the bathroom, climbed back into bed and fell back to sleep but this is not the norm. I end up waking up around 6 am and am hungry so I eat breakfast and because I'm tired, I go back to bed. It's usual then that I can sleep about two hours. Then I get up and try to do a few things around the house or I walk inside. I try to take only a short nap in the morning and if I need to only a short nap in the afternoon. I've even gone days without an afternoon nap and I still can't sleep in the evening.

Has anyone else experienced this and if so, what have you done?

titaniumed
06-19-2012, 12:20 AM
Been there done that.

I finally got a foam topper for my bed and it doubled my sleep. I would suggest 4 inches thick, latex foam.....

Your body is healing at a fast rate right now. It takes a tremendous amount of energy.....

Your almost past the hardest part, very soon things will improve.....

Hang in there
Ed

leahdragonfly
06-19-2012, 09:13 AM
Hi,

Sorry to hear of your insomnia, but I definitely had a transient bout of this also, about the same time as you. As Ed says, it does get better. For me I think I was waking up uncomfortable and had to change positions a lot. I was too uncomfortable on our worn-out temperpedic, so I was sleeping on a very firm hospital bed for the first 5 weeks. It was easier to change positions in it.

I would suggest napping in the daytime if you need it. Your body is working so hard to heal right now. Your nighttime sleep will improve here pretty soon.

LindaRacine
06-19-2012, 04:58 PM
Me too. :-)

This too shall pass. I didn't even start worrying about the sleep issue until I started thinking about returning to work. By the time I was ready to return full time, my sleep schedule was back to normal.

--Linda

djkinkead
06-19-2012, 08:07 PM
I would take a valium before going to bed for the first two and a half months post surgery. That helped me sleep through half the night....then the pain med I would take around 2 helped with going to sleep (eventually) until next time to take med...around 6 a.m.

golfnut
06-19-2012, 08:17 PM
I had insomnia for the first few months after surgery and almost dreaded when it was time to go to bed. I took my Ipad to bed and watched movies for the first few weeks. It gets better as your body heals and you're more comfortable.

mdtaffet
06-19-2012, 08:47 PM
My surgery was January 23rd, and I'm still having trouble sleeping. But then, I had also had issues before the surgery as well. Some of the challenges that I face with regard to sleep beyond the surgery are that (1) I'm naturally a night owl so under normal conditions am up until between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m.; workdays are not normal conditions, so I have to try to force myself to get to sleep by midnight at the latest, but it rarely if ever works. (2) I have mild obstructive sleep apnea, which leads to lots of times where I wake up but don't really know or remember that I woke up. (3) I have fibromyalgia, which by itself is a cause of insomnia -- I take amitriptyline for it, and without that I'd be in really bad shape because I would probably never even be able to fall asleep in the first place. Before the surgery, if I actually got to sleep, then I generally slept well, but always woke up at least once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. If I was asleep then got woken up, I could usually go back to sleep pretty quickly depending on the length of the disturbance. But getting to sleep in the first place was not easy for me then.

These days I still have the above problems, and in addition can never get really truly comfortable in my bed. The most sleep I get in one shot is usually an hour and a half to maybe three hours if I'm lucky. I'm constantly changing positions when lying in my bed because nothing feels comfortable. Unlike some other people, my bed is one of the most uncomfortable places I can be -- I'm much more comfortable sitting in one of my chairs than I am lying down in my bed. I did get a recliner, and sometimes start off sleeping there for the first hour or so -- but that's less comfortable now than it was at first.

I just tried a mattress topper to make to my bed more comfortable, but it didn't work. I'm going to have to return it. I found that I was even more uncomfortable on the mattress topper, because it was even harder to reposition myself than it would be on my bed without the mattress topper.

I don't really have any good solutions; I wish I did.

My coping mechanisms so far have included:

-- in the early days (for about a month and a half after the surgery), pain meds at night -- right before lying down to sleep, and then taken about four hours later the first time I would wake up to use the bathroom
-- sleeping in a recliner (mine is a Golden Technologies Zero Gravity Power Lift recliner)
-- Sonata taken just before getting into bed on some nights after pain meds ran out
-- Ambien taken just before getting into bed on other nights after pain meds ran out
-- Melatonin taken a bit before getting into bed on still other nights after pain meds ran out
-- dairy item (either yogurt or Kozy Shack rice pudding) consumed about two hours before trying to go to sleep (my husband has always had a glass of milk before going to bed for as long as I've known him)

I'm trying not to rely on the Sonata or Ambien too much, which is why I tried the Melatonin recently. And I've seen another herbal remedy advertized that I might try out -- called Alteril (I think); it has both melatonin and L-tryptophan (the item in turkey that makes people tired).

On nights when it doesn't matter how late I go to sleep (generally a Friday or Saturday night), then I'll spend a lot of time on my hobby in the evening. I'm into genealogy big time, and spending a lot of time searching for new records -- such as trying to find people in the 1940 census records that were just released in April -- can lead to real exhaustion after looking, looking, looking, looking and not finding. Unfortunately actually finding can have the opposite effect -- excitement makes it even harder to get to sleep.

Your body needs sleep now, so get it however you can, whether that means a nap or two during the day or not.

I am not normally up early, but in the first few weeks after my surgery, I rarely slept past 6:30 or 7 a.m. Now I can even sleep until 10 a.m., but never in true comfort. [I used to be able to sleep until noon or later with no problems at all if nothing woke me up.]

-- Good luck,
Mary

Confusedmom
06-19-2012, 09:41 PM
I had no trouble sleeping at night until I dropped all nighttime and evening pain meds. Then the insomnia set in for a week or so. Besides the meds, one thing that helped was changing positions. Sleeping on my side with a pillow between knees, if only for a short period of time. Also no caffeine at all during the day helped me. I have a soft memory foam mattress and when I'm on it I can't feel my hardware! Good luck--it will pass.

mbeckett
06-20-2012, 12:02 AM
Been there done that.

I finally got a foam topper for my bed and it doubled my sleep. I would suggest 4 inches thick, latex foam.....

Your body is healing at a fast rate right now. It takes a tremendous amount of energy.....

Your almost past the hardest part, very soon things will improve.....

Hang in there
Ed

Thank you Ed for your reply. I actually have a temperpedic bed which is real comfortable. Your comment about my body using a tremendous amount of energy to heal right now was not something I even thought about so that actually makes me feel a little bit better about this. Also, your sentence about my being almost past the hardest part was VERY encouraging. Thank you!!

mbeckett
06-20-2012, 12:11 AM
Hi,

Sorry to hear of your insomnia, but I definitely had a transient bout of this also, about the same time as you. As Ed says, it does get better. For me I think I was waking up uncomfortable and had to change positions a lot. I was too uncomfortable on our worn-out temperpedic, so I was sleeping on a very firm hospital bed for the first 5 weeks. It was easier to change positions in it.

I would suggest napping in the daytime if you need it. Your body is working so hard to heal right now. Your nighttime sleep will improve here pretty soon.

Thank you for your reply. From the folks that wrote back, insomnia seems to be a common occurence from this surgery. Knowing this helps as I was getting concerned because everything says to get a good continuous night's sleep and I thought I might be the only one having this problem. As a matter of fact, I was getting very frustrated which I'm sure wasn't helping the problem.

I do nap during the day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Again, it's only for about an hour at a time. I'm glad to hear that the nighttime sleep will eventually improve.That's encouraging.


Marjorie

titaniumed
06-20-2012, 02:27 AM
I refer to the first 4 weeks of my recovery as my “survivor” period. Just like ‘survivor man”.......you eat a bug, you get your .01 worth of nutrition, and burn that up in a nano second. Oh boy.....every second of the day is critical. You try this, and you try that, anything to help survive. I took cat naps for 2 years, my body needed it. Fatigue takes a long long time to get over. I have a medium Tempurpedic and it wasn’t soft enough, but then I was pretty busted up. (smiley face) Man-o-man! I knew it was a going to be a long slow road.

I actually sheet rocked my garage this past weekend....and did it quickly. Heavy construction is an acid test. Lifting 2x6”s, sawing lumber, hammering and driving screws standing on top of ladders......why do I do these things? I don’t know.

I’m fully recovered, that I do know.

Set realistic goals....accept what you can do as you move along. If you cannot do it now, you will do it in the future at some point.

I took many hot 106 degree baths for the first 3 months for pain control....the heat penetrates and helps with the bone pain. It also helps with the nerve jolts.

Hang in there and keep smiling.

Ed

Doodles
06-20-2012, 10:41 AM
Mary--
Your #7 post was really interesting to me. I could have written your first paragraph except for the fibro part. Not paragraph #2 but #3--yes, I really couldn't do the topper thing after a while. I've been a horrible sleeper since I was a little kid and just really get going about 9:30 PM. Tried everything too. I just mentioned on another thread my best sleep was while I was on hydrocodone--for about a year after surgery. After that it was back to the same old stuff. Some nights OK and others nothing works. It is so frustrating especially when you are trying to heal like you are now. It doesn't matter when you get the sleep day or night but the cat naps will help in the long run. My husband can fall asleep in mid-sentence. His advice was always--Just close your eyes!!! GRRRRR. Good luck. I understand your pain! Janet

mbeckett
06-22-2012, 08:46 AM
Thank you everyone for your posts. They were encouraging in the fact that obviously I'm not the only one going through this or have gone through this. Also, to hear that "this too shall pass" is good to hear as well as it's okay to take cat naps. Everything I read was saying how important it is to get a good continuous nights sleep for healing so I was getting quite frustrated that I couldn't sleep through the night. Also, I was wondering about the cat naps during the day but a number of you addressed that as well. Thank you again for all your responses. They really helped to put me at ease.

Marjorie

mdtaffet
06-22-2012, 11:25 PM
Mary--
Your #7 post was really interesting to me. I could have written your first paragraph except for the fibro part. Not paragraph #2 but #3--yes, I really couldn't do the topper thing after a while. I've been a horrible sleeper since I was a little kid and just really get going about 9:30 PM. Tried everything too. I just mentioned on another thread my best sleep was while I was on hydrocodone--for about a year after surgery. After that it was back to the same old stuff. Some nights OK and others nothing works. It is so frustrating especially when you are trying to heal like you are now. It doesn't matter when you get the sleep day or night but the cat naps will help in the long run. My husband can fall asleep in mid-sentence. His advice was always--Just close your eyes!!! GRRRRR. Good luck. I understand your pain! Janet


Janet, I'm just now seeing your reply. It's nice to know that I'm not the only night owl.... The mattress toppers I bought for trial purposes are going back to the store tomorrow.

I didn't even mention my neck pain earlier. I've been having neck pain all day long starting just a few weeks after the surgery. At first I thought the problem was related to my pillow because my neck pain seems worst as I'm getting out of bed in the morning, so I tried a couple of other pillow options, none of which helped.

I'm really hoping that some day soon I will once again be able to both sleep comfortably and wake up comfortably, but I'm not too optimistic about that right now.

Doodles
06-24-2012, 10:33 PM
The neck problems are something I still deal with a lot. Dr. Lenke said he could not make any promises about that at all. I think I've mentioned before that years of chiropractic kept me going pre-surgery. Since surgery my chiro uses only the Impulser--which makes just the most minute adjustments that is enough to help my neck, back and hips to relieve soreness. Also I have a massage therapist that does microfacial--I've just forgotten the name; that doesn't sound right! It's something like that but she really does help. It's a very light touch. Just a couple ideas.

mdtaffet
06-24-2012, 11:05 PM
Also I have a massage therapist that does microfacial--I've just forgotten the name; that doesn't sound right! It's something like that but she really does help. It's a very light touch.

I'm guessing the word you were trying to recall is myofascial, as in myofascial release; the page at http://www.myofascialrelease.com/fascia_massage/public/whatis_myofascial_release.asp appears to have a decent description of it.

I'm planning to get a massage from the best massage therapist in this area before too long; he's also a chiropractor, but I won't be using him for any adjustments -- just massage as soon as I can manage to get over there.

-- Mary

Doodles
06-25-2012, 06:49 PM
Yes, that's it. I hope you get to enjoy your massage soon!

mdtaffet
06-25-2012, 07:22 PM
Yes, that's it. I hope you get to enjoy your massage soon!

Right now, I'd settle for no twinges on the top of my right foot; they kept me awake all night last night. It's got to be the nerves attempting to reconnect. Every few seconds, I had to put my left heel on top of my right foot and apply some pressure in an effort to try to quiet the sensations. Makes it VERY difficult to sleep!

king14
10-25-2012, 04:11 AM
I'm "bumping" this threAd, because my God insomnia is the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced!! I'm on day 4 of zero sleep and I wanna jump off a building im so frustrated. I'm not sleeping during the day to make sure I'm tired. I get outta bed at 730/8 everyday -stay up till about 130am -sleep for 45 min and.... Wide awake --// till 530... Sleep till 730. I'm so aggrevated.... I am praying this "passes" whAt a weird weird surgery... Isn't my body tired??? It's been through hell and back??

Irina
10-25-2012, 11:33 AM
Hi Sara,

I am so sorry about your insomnia - that must be awful. I remember reading that a lot of people had the same problem. I guess, it's very common (if it makes you to feel any better...). Hopefully somebody will respond with some advice.

JenniferG
10-25-2012, 04:04 PM
You're off all pain medication, aren't you? I don't know why your body won't allow you to sleep but if you've gone four days without sleep, perhaps your GP could help. You may be against all meds, I don't know. All I know is, I used to be against taking these things but now accept them gracefully when in need. They aren't the long term answer of course, but it might get you over this hump and break this bad "habit" you've got into. I'd say your body definitely needs sleep at this crucial healing stage.

I feel for you because I've been an insomniac since age 50. It's no fun. The only time I slept well was post op, the opposite of you. The meds had me sleeping 10-13 hours a day. It was WONDERFUL!

jrnyc
10-25-2012, 04:53 PM
Jen, sent you PM...

i agree with what Jen wrote...
sleep is important when healing...
hope you fall asleep finally...even if from exhaustion...
and can really get some rest.

jess...& Sparky

titaniumed
10-25-2012, 08:07 PM
Sarafina,

4 days is a long time....

I never went 4 days without sleep but managed to get an hour or two each day. I know, that still sounds pretty bad, but we all have problems with sleeping after our surgeries. It does gets better....

Just getting comfortable is probably the biggest problem, that’s why the foam topper is needed on the bed. The hot baths are probably the best way to unwind...... I liked my water very hot! 106 degrees. Boiling that pain away in a zero gravity scenario worked well. Drink plenty of water.

After quitting meds, your body filters toxins...its obviously a major change once again, and so hard to adjust to. In time, these things will resolve themselves....

Just learning how to unwind is hard....it takes some effort, good positive healing thoughts, (with patience) many short walks, and breathing deep which is essential. That spirometer was given to us for a reason. Its called an “incentive” spirometer. Breathe in and Hold for 2-6 seconds. I still emulate using the device breathing and holding as deep as possible, then exhale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incentive_spirometer

Also, a great song, with great meaning. Learn to breathe and relax.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R49d4f5sEs4


Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and chose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be
Run, run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.

Ed

king14
10-25-2012, 08:39 PM
@Irina and Jess (& Sparky) - Thanks for your thoughts and input!

@Jen - I am "kinda" against meds. I just don't want to get on another pill... that, and I'm having the WORST painful acne from all of this. So i'm trying to avoid the meds... I have gotten some natural stuff and we'll see if that works.. if not, breaking down and calling the dr... tonight will determine it.

It's just quite hard for me because before the surgery, I was up at 445am worked till about 7pm - and by the time I hit the sheets at 11 or so... well I don't remember because I would pass out... that was my schedule for about 9 years. So... this whole "falling alseep" is foreign to me.

@Ed - you ever think of quitted your day job and becoming a life coach? Unless that's what you already do (smiley) since reading your post - the deep breathing has already put me at such a calm demeanor... THank you.
I also didn't take into the fact that I used "workout" for a living --- lots of deep breathing -- now, I walk and watch tv for a living.... BIG changes.

Thanks Forum Friends

I'll keep you posted!

Irina
10-28-2012, 07:24 PM
Hi King,

Did you get any sleep? Hope it's getting better.

HannahCP
10-28-2012, 09:26 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on pillows after surgery? I've been sleeping on my side all my life but since surgery can't without feeling like there is a lot of pressure on my spine. I even tried putting a pillow under the other side of my hip. So I've been sleeping on my back witha foam mattress topper and a towel placed under my lumbar spine for support, but I am laying flat. I was recently diagnosed with atelectasis in both lungs (from surgery) ive been using my spirometer like crazy and I think that maybe if I were in a wedge position or on my side my lungs wouldn't be so sore when I get up after laying for Long periods of time. I am just sick of sleeping for a few Hours and then having To move to the other room to sleep In a recliner.

Advice appreciated!

Hannah

titaniumed
10-29-2012, 01:29 AM
Hannah

Soft down pillows! As soft as possible, so you can easily mold them. They are also more forgiving if you roll the wrong way which can happen quite a bit. I actually prefer an older down pillow since they really need to be broken in....(run over with a bulldozer) lol

There are a lot of strange feelings in our recoveries. Feelings of pressure at times, feelings of tightness. All these feelings will change as we heal....you will know what I’m talking about in a year. Feelings can also change overnight. All of a sudden you will notice a change and will be able to sleep or roll into a position that’s comfortable. “wow! I can do this, I didn’t know”

Sleeping is one of those things that we really struggle at in our recoveries....I was moving often, and trying everything. In time, as we heal, things get a little easier one day at a time.

Ed

king14
10-31-2012, 03:22 PM
Yes I am sleeping! Thanks for asking. I took nux vomica it's a natural vitamin of some sort found at whole foods. Used for people dealing with insomnia due to medication use. Worked like a charm!!! Sleeping ever since! And still no meds, happy happy girl!