How to Sleep After Back Surgery

Bed and Night Stand

If you’ve just undergone or are preparing to undergo back or spinal surgery, recovery will involve several steps. While your doctor will provide you with plenty of directions post-surgery, one of the most important ways to heal your body is by ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.

No matter if you’ve just had disc replacement or lumbar spine surgery, here are a few tips on how to sleep after back surgery.

Why You Should Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach

While the most comfortable position for recovering and sleeping will most likely be lying down, it is important to avoid lying on your stomach. This position puts a lot of pressure and stress on your back and disc spaces.

You’ll want to avoid resting this way, but if you do lie on your stomach, put a pillow underneath your stomach to help relieve some of the pressure.

What Sleeping Positions Are Best for Back Surgery Recovery?

Two of the best positions after back surgery are either sleeping on your back or side. When you sleep on your back, you’ll be more comfortable and reduce the chances of complications. When you sleep this way, though, avoid sleeping with your arms tucked beneath your neck, which will add a lot of pressure to your neck and shoulder area. Instead, add a pillow under your legs to relieve stress on your back and thoracic spine.

Another way to sleep after spinal fusion surgery is on your side. Just like sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side helps reduce pain and pressure. Try to alternate between sleeping on your left and right side to distribute the pressure and benefit your spine’s alignment. Right after surgery, you can also place a pillow under or in between your knees. Keeping your knees bent in this position helps reduce pressure and keep your spine aligned.

Tips for Better Sleeping After Back Surgery

No matter which way you decide to sleep, here are a few other tips to keep in mind to make sure you wake up rested:

  • Limit electronic use before sleep: Avoid using your phone, computer or TV at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Using these electronic devices close to your bedtime can disrupt your melatonin levels.
  • Limit naps throughout the day: Napping throughout the day can disrupt your natural sleep patterns, especially if you take multiple or long naps.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule: Sticking to a regular sleep schedule can keep your body’s circadian rhythm on track and help ensure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Prepare a comfortable space: Before your surgery, make sure your room is set up to accommodate your recovery. For example, you may need to move a few things around so objects are easily within reach.
  • Invest in a good mattress and pillows: When your bed is comfortable, you’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and get proper rest.

Find Relief From Your Back Pain or Spinal Conditions at OrthoBethesda

Here at OrthoBethesda, our special technologies and team of orthopedists allow us to treat a range of back and spinal ailments. By always starting with the most conservative approach first, we help restore range of motion and strength before moving on to more involved procedures.

To learn more about how we can help you find relief from your pain, schedule an appointment today.

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