Having difficulty sleeping after back surgery or spinal surgery, like lumbar spine surgery, discectomy, disc replacement, laminectomy, or spinal fusion is completely normal. Your body has been through trauma as a result of surgery. Additionally, you may be dealing with pain, a sore incision, and simply not being able to get comfortable in order to sleep. However, getting enough sleep, particular uninterrupted continuous sleep, can help your body heal faster, getting you back to your normal routine faster. That said, here are a few tips, as given by medical experts, to help with your sleeping after back surgery.
According to John Hopkins Medicine Orthopaedic Surgery Division, to reduce your pain after spine surgery, the best sleeping position is either on your side — or believe it or not — on your back. Either position decreases the pressure on your low back and spinal discs. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach after back surgery.
Sleeping on your side – If you choose to sleep on your side after back surgery, it’s best if your knees are bent and you tuck a pillow between your legs. Your legs, with knees bent, should rest right on top of each other with one leg ever so slightly forward. You should avoid allowing your knee to rest on the bed. Similarly, you should avoid sleeping with your arms under either your head or neck. Utilize a pillow behind your body when sleeping on your side. This pillow tucked under your hips and back will prevent you from rolling onto your back while in a deep sleep.
Sleeping on your back – If you choose to sleep on your back after back surgery, it’s important to keep your knees and hips bent and tuck a pillow (or even a rolled up blanket) under your knees. While it might feel comfortable sleeping with your arms over your head, don’t do this reports John Hopkins, as this puts undue stress on your neck and shoulder. Depending on the location of your incision (particularly if at midline) however, you may find it painful initially to sleep on your back.
While the discomfort of back/spine surgery can leave you unable to sleep through the night initially, by implementing the above practical tips for sleeping after back surgery, you should be able to improve your quantity and quality of sleep in the days and weeks after back surgery.
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