View Full Version : Log Rolling

01-04-2007, 10:08 AM
I keep hearing so much about log rolling in and out of bed after surgery. For those of you who are post-op and especially with long fusions, is this something that you have to do for the rest of your life or just while recovering from surgery? I came across an article that shows an illustration and it appears that once you're in bed, you just lay there like a door mat. Please tell me this is not so. I am a very restless sleeper and find myself waking up throughout the night with my body twisted in various positions. As a matter of fact, my favorite sleeping position is to curl up in a ball like a cat. I'm extremely flexible now, i.e. when bending forward to touch my toes, I can place the palms of my hands on the floor. I just can't imagine having to lay in bed like a corpse while sleeping for the rest of my life.

I welcome any comments.


01-04-2007, 10:18 AM
hi chris

i had a long fusion and at first you do have to do the log roll but now ( 4month post op ) i have not needed to log roll for ages so dont worry about that. and i was extreemly flexible b4 too. i could pull my leg straight up past my ear and alsorts but i can still curl up like a cat, but not aswell as i used to.

hope this helps xxx fay

01-04-2007, 01:14 PM
Hi Chris...

I've never heard a recommendation from a doctor one way or the other. However, log rolling refers to moving yourself in bed, not in how you lie, so I don't think you need to worry about that. At almost 14 years post op, I still log roll, and I still get in and out of the bed the way I was taught in the hospital. It puts a lot less stress on my spine.


01-04-2007, 01:48 PM
Hi Chris,
I'm the same as Linda.. I still Log roll out of bed in the morning...just habit now, I guess! I will say I still sleep on my back & really don't move to any other position thru the night since surgery. I'm still a bit numb on my left side so I sleep on my back. I never ever was a back sleeper, always stomach & side.....guess I changed for now....
you'll be fine with the log rolling...they teach you well! you do what ya gotta do!-- Ly :)

01-04-2007, 02:09 PM
I stopped log rolling after the first three months of my first surgery, and notice that it did stress my spine, and so ever since my rod broke, and even now 1 year post revision, I log roll b/c it's so EASY on the spine.

I can sleep on the side, just not as curled up as before, but I did for years after my first surgery, it was not a problem. Now I just do what feels better for my back, just like bending with my knees instead of hips, no big deal.

Btw, just heard that sleeping on the back does wonders for skin and circulation.

01-05-2007, 07:40 AM
I don't really think about how I get in and out of bed but I am also a very restless sleeper. I cannot sleep on my bak, I never did. I wake up on my stomach sometimes in the morning, that used to be my favoriye position. If I do wake up on my stomach I am a lot siffer in the morning but it goes away once I am up and around. Sorry it sounds like I am rambling. As far as flexibility goes I started doing pilates this week and it feels great. I still can't do the mat work but I do all the standing stuff. I am great at squatting!

01-05-2007, 10:58 AM
ditto to what Linda said...that is my prefered method of changing from a lying down position to a sitting position, especially from the floor, although I can sit up just using my abs, but it feels strained and akward.
However, I do not have any trouble changing positions in bed, or maybe I'm just used to my adjustments, but I am a restless sleeper and change from side to side and from stomach and back through out the night.

01-09-2007, 06:36 PM
It's been 1 month post-op for me, and I can't do anything else but "roll" out of bed and sleep on my back... I've grown used to sleeping on my back since I have no other option but to sleep on my back. (If I try to sleep on my side, I feel a tremendous amount of pain...) I also find sleeping with pillows underneath my feet help.

Before surgery, I suppose I was a restless sleeper and would assume any and every weird position. I'm also the type of person that likes to cuddle and hold a person in my arms while sleeping (meaning my body's kind of twisted when I did this)...

Will I be able to sleep in positions as I did pre-op and continue to cuddle and sleep with my significant other in my arms after recovery?

01-09-2007, 08:56 PM
The article perfectly describes me in bed right now! I am at 3 months and once in bed basically can't move. I hate it. I was always a side sleeper. A couple times I tried sleeping on my side and I hurt for several days.

Right now I sleep in my remote controlled lazyboy chair. When I need to move, I use the remote.

My fusion is very long....T2 to S1. I am glad to hear that most of you aren't as stiff as me.....it gives me hope that I will get better one day.

01-09-2007, 09:25 PM
Like Linda said, the log rolling is just the way you get into and out of bed and turn from side to side after surgery. You use the strength of your arms and legs instead of the back muscles--which are too weak to use.

I slept on my sides after surgery in the hospital. I had a plastic hard shell brace which helped me log roll just fine by supporting everything. If I got stiff on one side, I rolled over to the other side. The only time I lay on my back was when I was awake--as I can't sleep that way.

Now that I am at home and 5 1/2 months post-op, I do still get in and out of beds and couches by lying on the side like they teach you, then using your arms and legs to roll. It is not a hard adaptation. I can lie on my stomach if I want, but still hard to roll back over. I can feel the back and side muscles gradually getting stronger, but you still don't want to over stress them. I have a long fusion--T5 to L5. It is all worth it, though.


01-09-2007, 09:43 PM
Log rolling is all I've known really since my first surgery in 1989. I've never been able to sit straight up in bed from lying down comfortably. Now, with the additional fusion to L5 from T4, I will keep transfering with the log roll probably well after I've healed. I don't move around yet while I'm sleeping. I used to be a side-sleeper, but since the nerve pain post-op I haven't been able to sleep on my side until recently, and only for short periods of time. I'm having a tough time sleeping on my back though lately - I wake up from intense pressure on my back (upper back too - not the lower back where my latest surgery was). Any ideas what causes that? I have rarely slept through the night these last few weeks.

01-10-2007, 01:45 AM
For the longest time I was only able to sleep on my back. And log roll out of bed, but things can change.

I remember the first time I tried to sleep on my side, which I was a side sleeper, and it took time to build up to it. I think it takes time to build up to everything.

I just tried to remember that my body had just been rearranged, and everything that I attempted to do was new to it. It takes time but you eventually come to where and what you are comfortable with.

My biggest problem was when I was having a good day I would do way too much, and then suffer from that. In more than one way it's a balancing act!!!


01-10-2007, 07:23 AM
shari & all,
I worked cleaning up my living room after the Christmas holiday yesterday......I woke up sooo stiff on my incision side this morning! I guess I figured by 5 mos., I was back to normal.....You learn the hard way sometimes, that the doctors mean it when they say 6 mos to a year recovery...at least at my age (soon to be 47..)
I still am sleeping on my back & really don't move much at all.. I think I'm still subconsciously afraid of going on my side or back at this stage....Ly :)

fused T-11 to L-5 Aug 1st

01-10-2007, 11:06 AM
I sleep with a ton of them! When in the hospital, they had me sleep on my side with a pillow behind my back for extra support. For a year or so after during recover, I did the same at home, and moved my bed by the wall and would place the pillow between me and the wall for some support. I use different sizes and firmnesses for different comforts. Also, one between my legs helps with my hip alignment.

01-10-2007, 03:32 PM
Thanks for all your replies.

Marcia: I hope you're getting stronger with each passing day. We're the same age, and it looks like I'll require a long fusion too, so I guess I'll be laying there like a stiff as well...hopefully I'll still be breathing.


01-10-2007, 04:39 PM
Chriswbs-- stay positive, stay fit...you'll do it! As far as the sleeping, I've never slept so soundly....on my back! Husband says I don't move like I used to thru the night....! Ly :)

01-10-2007, 08:18 PM

For the first few weeks when you get into bed it is a big production! My husband would shift my legs and hips for me because I didn't feel like I was laying straight, but I wasn't able to pick up my hips and adjust myself. Then it is how many pillows tonight, where do you want them placed, is everything where you can reach it? Heaven forbid that once you get that all worked out, you remember you hadn't taken your medicine or you have to go to the bathroom all of a sudden. Then you repeat the whole process again. After a few weeks it's not as bad. If you have an anterior incision, it might cause more pain to sleep on your side. It took about a couple of months for me to lay on my side for even just a few minutes. When it got to where I could lay on the side incision, I would wake up to turn over from my side to front and visa versa. Now it doesn't bother me. I also sleep more soundly and with a whole lot less moving around. I still log roll in and out of bed but you kinda adapt it as you get better. Now it's more like a quick roll get up thing. It just becomes normal.

01-11-2007, 01:04 AM

My biggest problem now is that when I have a good day, I go all out, and then I pay for it. Some times I wonder if I am just stupid!!!

A couple of weeks ago I felt so good, and I knew that my kitchen floor hadn't been scrubbed since before my surgery so I thought I would do it. I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and I suffered for days.

In a way I was so happy that I could do it, but then I was sad that I hurt afterwards. It may have hurt but I did it, and that made me very happy!!!

Am I stupid???

01-11-2007, 07:24 AM
shari---thk god for the swifter(sp??) I clean with that & I use old towels to clean my kitchen floor & basically use my feet.....sometimes I feel like a monkey...I have developed great leg muscles......Ly :cool: :rolleyes: :cool:

Linda G
01-11-2007, 12:50 PM
I am 6 weeks post-op and find that log rolling is the only way I can get in or out of bed. It hasn't been difficult to get use to. I also sleep on my sides with a pillow between my legs. That breaks up the soreness of just lying in one position all night. I was sleeping on my side in the hospital so when I came home it was not difficult to do. Sleeping on my back has just become routine also as I was always a stomach sleeper. I never did, even in the hospital, have to sleep in my brace so that was not an issue for me.
Linda G

01-11-2007, 02:40 PM

I laughed when I read your comment. I can just imagine what a big production it is. But what do you do if you don't have anyone to tuck you in?


01-11-2007, 06:12 PM

It takes even longer!!! After the first couple of weeks I was doing it more on my own, you just arrange everything just so before you get into bed. By then we had also gotten me a bed rail for the side of the bed. I would grab that for some support and leverage when I needed to turn or get up.

01-12-2007, 08:43 AM
I put my walker (without wheels) beside my bed so I could use it for support and something firm to grab onto getting into and out of bed the first few weeks. A bed rail would do the same thing, but you can move the walker out of the way if needed.

Now that I am stronger, I can just use the bed to push up from but at first it is difficult if your bed is soft and there is a lot of give.