View Full Version : Lying on your side/stomach post surgery

10-05-2008, 02:33 AM
I was wondering how long after surgery, before you are allowed to lie on your side and your stomach? I prefer sleeping on my side, and I like the stretch I get from lying on my stomach.

Thanks in advance!

10-05-2008, 03:13 AM
I didn't have any instructions about when it was ok to sleep on my stomach, I used to LOVE sleeping on my stomach and had since a baby.... I was told by my PT that it wasn't good for me, and I stopped (although I do still indulge sometimes). I found for a long time... well the first few months, I couldn't tolerate stomach sleeping. Which, sometimes made me really upset! I can do it now comfortably but try not to just for neck and spine alignment

10-05-2008, 03:21 AM
Hi Jen,

You'll actually start lying on your side only a few hours after surgery!! :eek:

I think it's every 4hrs or so, you'll be rolled into a new position so that you don't get broken-down skin from the pressure of lying in the one place for too long (aka. pressure sores). This will be on quite a strict regime for the first couple of days, when you won't feel much like moving; but after a few days, you'll be free to shift how you like & when you like, so long as you're not in the same position for too long. Initially, nurses or any family/friend who's by your bedside will help you a fair bit, but it gets easier.

I can't speak much to lying on my stomach since I've always hated that, but I think you won't be feeling much like doing that for the first few weeks at least. Once you're feeling up to it, though, it would be reasonable to try I'm sure. You may not old comfy positions so comfy post-surgery though, because your spine won't move quite the way it does now. I guess it's a matter of finding a "new normal"/"new comfy".

As with anything - if in doubt, ask the surgeon. You'll see plenty of him or his registrars (well-trained, fully-fledged doctors who are studying a specialty under him) in the days after your surgery.

Take care.

10-05-2008, 03:30 AM
Thanks girls, that's one less thing to wonder and worry about. ;)

10-05-2008, 06:10 PM
I am nearly 5 months post op, and I do remember they had me lie on my back for the day or so that I was in ICU. As soon as they moved me to something called a Progressive care unit (nursing ratio 1:4) I got to lie on my left side and it felt soooo good! I was encouraged to move from side to side and to change positions at least every 2 hrs, but once I settled in to sleep for the night on my left side, they left me alone. I even remember putting up the head of my bed so I could eat propped on my left side. Silly me. But it was truly my position of comfort. You'll find yours, too.

10-05-2008, 06:31 PM
Hi Jen! It's good to have you on the forum! All of us are so different... I have a long fusion-- T2-L4. In the hospital it hurt me to lie on my side... they tried a few times to have me change position a little, but it just didn't work with me. They propped me on my side, but it was painful. I have slept on my back ever since my surgery about 16 months ago, although I am now to the point where I can lie on my side for maybe fifteen minutes to half an hour now. And it just doesn't work on my stomach at all, although that had been my favorite position pre-op. I adjusted just fine to my back although I wouldn't have thought it would be ok before the surgery, as that was my least favorite position. We adjust to what works/feels best for us when the time comes.

10-05-2008, 07:18 PM
I love to sleep on my stomach, however I can't use a pillow for my head if I am on my stomach. I place a pillow under the right side of my torso, like I am hugging it and usually bend my right knee up a bit and out to the side. I generally stay like this for a half an hour up to a few hours. I find I roll all over the place in the night. I sleep on both sides as well. Right after surgery I had a hard time laying on my side for more than maybe 10-15 minutes before it made my shoulder hurt. That lasted close to 2 months for me. In the hospital they had me turn to my side every few hours at least for 15 minutes to prevent sores, but spent the majority of the time on my back. Like Susie*Bee I also have a long fusion T4 to the Sacrum, but I find sleeping on my back makes it ache. Go figure!

10-06-2008, 02:29 AM
Clearly, we are all different but it's good to know at least I'll be allowed to try lying on my side, and eventually my stomach. I'm also having a long scar, T5 - S1 so it may not be as comfortable post op. Thanks for all your input, it's very much appreciated!