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lumbar3491
11-19-2009, 10:09 AM
I know sleeping is a big issue on the forum, and almost 3 months post op, it is a major issue for me. At night I go to bed very sleepy, but cannot fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. I just cannot get comfortable, which I feel is a major factor in my inability to fall asleep. I put a pillow under my legs which feels comfortable for a short time only. So, I try sleeping on one side, then the other. Very uncomfortable, and my shoulders start hurting.

So, I come to you for suggestions. Do any of you have ways that have helped you get comfortable when you try to sleep? I'd be most appreciative if you would share them.

Many thanks

Karen

Singer
11-19-2009, 11:34 AM
At three months post-op I was still going to sleep pretty drugged, otherwise I don't think I would have slept at all! :eek:

Sleeping is still an issue for me. I am also not comfortable in one position for too long, even now, and pretty much toss and turn most of the night. I take Melatonin,which helps a little, and when I'm desperate I'll take a Benadryl.

I notice a lot of people say their shoulders hurt in the beginning when they lie on their side...mine did too and that did go away after a few months.

kt2009
11-19-2009, 01:28 PM
For a while, I only took my percocet at night, and that really helped me b/c I really felt the relaxing effects. But when I stopped taking it I did find I was very restless...especially trying to sleep on my back. I did try to cut out the napping and get a little more exercise, so I felt tired.
Now I am off pain meds, but as my numbness on the right side (where my incision is)subsides, I find I am having upper leg pain on the same side that is making it hard to go to sleep and sometimes waking me up. I really don't want to take the pain meds. Starting out on my side helped me fall asleep, though I would usually wake up and go on my back.
A heating pad helps me, too, and though I don't recommend it due to safety concerns, mine turns off after about 15 minutes...so far I haven't scorched myself or burned the house down...try at your own risk!
I shower at night too and, if you're off paind meds, a little lass of wine helps...

titaniumed
11-19-2009, 01:47 PM
Karen,

A 2-4 inch thick foam topper makes a big difference in getting comfortable. I feel its mandatory.

I cut off about 2 feet so my shoulders would hang off the end of the foam. Since my right shoulder was broken before I went in, this is what I came up with and it worked well. The pillow position was about 6 inches beyond the drop-off point, and created a gap for the shoulders.

Soft down pillows, help quite a bit. I have about 6 on my bed. If you roll over, the odds are higher that one will be in the right position after executing the roll. LOL

If you are still on meds, try not to lose too much weight. Meds also affect sleep.

Sleeping like a cat seems to be part of the program. The afternoon cat naps will have an effect on your ability to sleep at night. It takes time till you will have that effective 9 hours of quality sleep. It will come.
Ed

lumbar3491
11-19-2009, 05:26 PM
Hi All,

Thanks so much for your suggestions. I'm off oxycontin but still take 4-5 percocet per day. Because I'm also having considerable nerve pain in my left leg and foot during the night (does wonders for sleeping LOL), my doctor started me on 300mg neurontin at night. If that doesn't put me too sleep, I do take one melatonin. Last night even all that didn't help me sleep.

Singer, do you just take one melatonin? With all the other meds I'm taking, I'm kind of afraid to take more than that.

Ed, I have a 2-inch egg crate bed topper downstairs so I'll bring it up to try in my bed. If that doesn't help, I buy a thicker one. Thanks for the suggestion.

Kathy, I like your heating pad suggestion. I'm going to get one of the kind that shuts off automatically. First, however, I need to try my microwaveable heating pad to see if that helps.

Again, thank you all. Does anyone else have some suggestions?

Karen

loves to skate
11-19-2009, 07:42 PM
Hi All,

Thanks so much for your suggestions. I'm off oxycontin but still take 4-5 percocet per day. Because I'm also having considerable nerve pain in my left leg and foot during the night (does wonders for sleeping LOL), my doctor started me on 300mg neurontin at night. If that doesn't put me too sleep, I do take one melatonin. Last night even all that didn't help me sleep.

Karen

Hi Karen,

I bought a 2 1/2 inch thick memory foam mattress a few months ago and although it is nice and comfortable, it doesn't solve the problem of nerve pain. I am taking 900 to 1200mgs neurontin for my nerve pain and until the nerves settle down for the night, it doesn't seem to matter how comfortable the bed feels. It is very hard to relax and fall asleep when you are in pain. Sometimes Tylenol PM works for me. I hope you find something that works for you because sleep is so important to healing.

Sally

debbei
11-19-2009, 09:14 PM
I know sleeping is a big issue on the forum, and almost 3 months post op, it is a major issue for me. At night I go to bed very sleepy, but cannot fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. I just cannot get comfortable, which I feel is a major factor in my inability to fall asleep. I put a pillow under my legs which feels comfortable for a short time only. So, I try sleeping on one side, then the other. Very uncomfortable, and my shoulders start hurting.

So, I come to you for suggestions. Do any of you have ways that have helped you get comfortable when you try to sleep? I'd be most appreciative if you would share them.

Many thanks

Karen

Karen,

I think that at 3 months, I was in a pretty similar position. I always startedon my back with the pillows under my legs, but that did get uncomfortable after a while. I'd say by 4 or 5 months (kind of hard to remember) sleeping on my side got comfortable again--all of a sudden. I had the sore shoulder thing going on too,and it turned out that I had a frozen shoulder. Physical therapy for 3 months helped that, and I hardly notice it any more.

One other note, when I need to take muscle relaxants for muscle spasms in my back now and then---I sleep like a baby. No waking up till the morning. I take Soma, which according to the pharmacist, has the nickname 'Coma'. :)

debbei
11-19-2009, 09:14 PM
Ditto to Sally's comment on the memory foam topper. I have a 3 inch one and I don't think I could sleep at all without it.

Zoee
11-19-2009, 10:47 PM
I am three months out - fusion L10-S-1
My problem is this: (I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but if it helps others that I will be glad)
I started taking two percocets every night to help me get to sleep -either because of aching pain in my back, or pain in my hand from arthritis. Well, three months out I find now that if I DON'T take the percocet I can't go to sleep - my body feels like it's going in a million directions and my brain as well. and we're talking only 1-2 pills hydrocodone at night. I fessed up to the doctor last week and he suggested I take Benadryl and taper off the hydrocone. so I'm trying that but I am at 1 and 1/2 pills hydcrocone and i don't see a big difference.
is this addiction or am I making a big deal out of nothing?
p.s. the doctor asked at the end of the appt if I wanted a refill of the hydrocodone!!!!!

kt2009
11-19-2009, 11:01 PM
I started feeling that way, too. At 2 months post-op, I would take one before I went to sleep. And it was hard when I stopped. As long as you are not in too much pain...try to persevere! Since I've been back to work, I've had a couple nights when I was in pain, but managed to get through it and fall asleep. It's personal decision and pain meds can be important to help you sleep and heal. I definitely am not ready to dump them! I have them if it gets unbearable! Tapering off helps a lot!

fierceliketiger
11-20-2009, 01:16 AM
I am the complete opposite when it comes to the foam topper, In fact anytime mentions memory foam specifically, I shudder! I found that it made it SO much harder to move in your sleep and made me feel like I was a turtle stuck on its back, not able to move. I think its because it makes a depression when you lay on it, so to move you have to get out of the depression long enough for it to spring back up. I tried it for 3 nights...never ever again!
I did find that a body pillow called the "preggle" (its marketed to pregnant women) worked wonders this surgery. http://www.amazon.com/Preggle-Comfort-Air-2dFlow-Pillow-Ivory-2f/dp/B000KJZOTI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1258697633&sr=8-1
the between the legs option is nice, but it also helped on my back with it curled under my head and shoulders. Also, I like having it under my head on my side with the long part behind me as sort of added protection, or if I want to roll part of the way over. Hope that helps!

Vali
11-20-2009, 07:10 AM
Hi,
I take Dr Schuessler Tissue Salts for Insomnia, during the day and then the last dose just before bed. Being natural, it dosen't work overnight, but their great once they kick in. The same tissue salt can be used for restless sleep due to muscle cramps, sciatica and inflammation. I also have two pillows under my head and shoulders and two under my knees. When I turn on my sides, I sort of lie on top of the pillow (kind of half on my side - leaning forward so to speak). Hope it doesn't last too long for you as you must be getting exhausted not sleeping and going to work.

debbei
11-20-2009, 07:15 AM
I am three months out - fusion L10-S-1
My problem is this: (I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but if it helps others that I will be glad)
I started taking two percocets every night to help me get to sleep -either because of aching pain in my back, or pain in my hand from arthritis. Well, three months out I find now that if I DON'T take the percocet I can't go to sleep - my body feels like it's going in a million directions and my brain as well. and we're talking only 1-2 pills hydrocodone at night. I fessed up to the doctor last week and he suggested I take Benadryl and taper off the hydrocone. so I'm trying that but I am at 1 and 1/2 pills hydcrocone and i don't see a big difference.
is this addiction or am I making a big deal out of nothing?
p.s. the doctor asked at the end of the appt if I wanted a refill of the hydrocodone!!!!!

Zoe,
yes you are addicted, and it happened to me as well. When I was tapering off my narcotics, I found that I was having withdrawl symptoms when I got below 3 short acting pills per day. The dr. told me there was another blood pressure med that could help take away the withdrawl symptoms, but I didn't want that since my BP is low as it is. The way I handled it was by stretching out the intervals between my pills each time I took them--even it was 5 or 10 minues longer than the last one. Once I was down to 2 per day, it took me another week or week and a half to be off completely. At the end I was taking one every day, then one every 25 hours, then every 26, etc...then nothing! It worked.

Don't feel guilty, after months of taking this stuff, there is a physical dependence. You are not an addict. An addict wouldn't have admitted to the Dr. or asked our advice. The next week or two might be hard if you try my approach--but you CAN do it. I remember during this period that last hour each time before I took a pill--honestly I was, as they call it, REALLY Jonesing for a fix. And I'd want to rip anyone's head off who looked at me sideways, including my family.

Let us know how you do. I'm rooting for you, ok?

lumbar3491
11-21-2009, 09:56 AM
Well, I am now sleeping with a 2-inch foam topper. It is very comfortable, but I don't feel it is helping me sleep. However, last night I took one Percocet, along with Neurontin, and that did a trick. I slept very well.

Alas, I woke up with excruciating shoulder pain. Monday I'm planning on making an appointment with my orthopod. I didn't sleep on that shoulder so I'm not sure why it hurts this much. I've had injections in that shoulder before for bursitis so maybe that's what is going on. So, I'm sitting here with my morning coffee and a heating pad on my shoulder. Thank goodness I have Percocet because that has taken the edge off.

Sally, I think my doctor will be increasing my Neurontin from the 300mg I'm now taking at night. I see you that you are taking much higher doses, and I suspect I'm going in that direction too.

Karen

kristis
11-30-2009, 08:12 PM
I have had trouble sleeping as well. I am fearful of addiction and took myself of the oxycontin (which I initally felt withdrawal from) at one month post-op. Then my Doc told me he wanted me on 2-3 percocet a day by 3 months post-op. I am happy to say I switched to hydrocodone ( I know it is similar) last week and seem to be doing okay. However, night time is awful. I wake up about 3 am and sometimes will stay awake for hours. The shoulders hurt as well. I tried melatonin it didn't seem to help. I drink chamomille tea every night. My sister in law said to try mid-nite some OTC herb mix. I haven't found it yet. I go to my Doc tomorrow for the 3 month appt and will ask him. Any other suggestions will help. I haven't tried heating pad but did use ice until the weather got cold.
Kristi
pre-op thoracic curve 75,lumbar 70
Dr.Jeong Tucson AZ
post fusion with arthroplasty (to get rid of rib hump)
excellent correction-will have numbers tomorrow.

Shari
12-02-2009, 01:16 AM
Hi Karen,

The sleep issue strikes a big fat chord with me. My entire life I have had a sleep problem. Plus I worked at night and by the time I got home and wind down, think I was sleepy and knowing I was tired, it sucks when you can't fall asleep.

Then when I couldn't fall asleep I would , I would get upset and frustrated which made it worse. After the surgeries, when I got home I had sleeping pills that they gave me from the hospital, but they only lasted until the pain would wake me up. I really needed the sleeping pills and still do, just not as much now.

Once I would find a position w/o pain, I could fall asleep. Before my surgeries, I could not find a position that I had no pain. Now that I know what pain free sleep is, when I can't sleep, I am one frustrated and grumpy bitch.

I had a long and rough recovery, and I still think my lack of sleep was part of the reason. I could go on and on.

Do whatever you can to sleep this soon after surgery. I have tried just about everything over the last for years.

Right now I am taking temazepan, and it help me most of the time. Also the less sleep I get, the more my back hurt???

Sorry for rambling and good luck with sleeping, I wish someone has an answer for this.
Shari