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Sleeping flat after ACDF?

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Old 02-05-2007, 02:15 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Colorado
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Sleeping flat after ACDF?

I must be feeling needy todau because I am posting alot. LOL
For about 14 years (from about 1991 till 2005) I slept on a foam wedge to elevate my head due to my chronic sinus issues. (with another pillow on top of the wedge). I slept on my side and no Dr. ever told me that was not a good position for the ole neck. Well, about 2 yrs. ago my husband took a digital photo of me lying on my side on that wedge. We were wondering if that could be adding to my neck pain. Then I showed a few Drs. the photo and they all thought it was fine to sleep that way. Well, one day I took the picture and turned it around so that it looked like I was vertical on the bed, rather than horizontal. My head was cocked to the side. DOH!!! I am sure that didnt help my neck problem in life. Makes me mad that at least 3 Drs. told me it was OK. My physiatrist saw it and was horrified, because it was so obvious that ny neck was cocked to the side. Anyway, I immediately ran out and got a Temper-pedic pillow and got rid of the wedge. It took me a long time to get used to sleeping flat, but I finally did. (not too swift for the sinuses, though). We took a photo of THAT and my whole body looked nice and straight. ( 14 yrs too late). Now for my question............ I cannot seem to sleep totally flat 4 weeks post surgery. (2 level) (no collar). I have an adjustable bed and have to crank the head up a little bit. Now I am paranoid that I am screwing up my neck again. Anyone know why its hard to sleep on my side...flat after surgery? I am trying to make sense of it. Also, am I killing my neck with the head a little elevated? I am trying to wean my head lower each night, but it isnt working. Sounds a little silly, but I wanted to know if others have issues with the not being able to sleep flat on their side.

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Old 02-05-2007, 04:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Katie2005 HB User
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

I am two weeks post-op and can not stand sleeping flat either (everyone is different and progress at different rates but I doctor told me it couple be months before I will be able to sleep completing flat). The first two or three nights I was home I slept in a recliner. Then my mother bought be what they call a bed wedge. It goes up under your mattress and lifts it up into a reclined postion. That is been really comfortable. I think it only costed 10-15 dollars.

Old 02-05-2007, 04:48 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 876
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

That bed wedge is the same thing I am talking about where I slept on my side and my head was cocked. It does the same thing my adjustable bed does....elevates the head.

Old 02-05-2007, 04:49 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 91
bdancer HB User
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

Hi skz

I am posting in response toall your posts LOL!!! well I also slept weird....before surgery since I was a little girl... I slept flat on my stomach with head turned all the way and lay on one cheek or the other.. can you believe what that has done to my neck!!! LOL but never had issues until the car accident my problem is opposite... I want to go flat ( i sleep with a feather pillow just barely elevated) but the pressue of the aspen increases as my head goes flatter and I have to keep elevated It is awful and when I wake up I am in strange position on the wedge with my face off of the wedge and my body twisting around to try to get on my stomach.. Now you know why I need all the pain meds at night... I'll probably have to keep this aspen collar for sleeping for like a year to protect my neck!!!

Old 02-05-2007, 06:42 PM   #5
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TrevaM HB User
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

Not sure if this helps AFTER surgery, but I have 2 Tempur-pedics that I stack like stair steps...the bottom one is a bit out from the head of the bed, and the top one my head goes on is back on it, so it gives me a slight incline, I guess, but I still have the support of the memory foam. It is really working well for me, although I keep wanting to roll on my side, too. At least I have broken MY stomach sleeping habit, which I have had since I was a baby! I'm hoping it will work after, as well, I have a 12" foam wedge that I used after my lumbar surgery, and it was a God-send, but I'm not sure it will be of much benefit after the cervical surgery. I don't own a recliner, but warned my husband that he might have to run out and buy me one if I can't find any other way to sleep!!

Old 02-05-2007, 08:52 PM   #6
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ember919 HB User
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

You're really not experiencing anything all that unusual. As noted, everyone progresses differently. Being able to sleep laying down flat is something that takes time to get to. You've still got a cranky cervical spine, tight muscles, healing tissue from the outside of your neck down to your spine, etc., etc., etc. There's still a lot going on!

Experiment with various pillows - wedges, foams, microbeads, feathers, fiber fills, marbles, whatever! (OK, not really marbles.....) Try combinations of things. Do whatever it takes to make you comfortable.

Also consider something to help you sleep, whether an OTC product or temporary prescription from your doctor. Especially if you're a naturally light sleeper.

I was sooooo happy when I was finally able to sleep on flat for the first time, even though it was only for a few hours, and practically threw a party the first time I was able to sleep on my side, which is my "standard" position. But I never did get back to where I was comfortable with the same pillow I had before surgery.

Good luck.

Old 02-06-2007, 02:09 PM   #7
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: This side of OZ
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ShepherdLady HB User
Re: Sleeping flat after ACDF?

I can't sleep laying down either. I have a memory foam cervical pillow that I used before surgery because I can't sleep on my side because I get nerve pain in my left leg because of back problems and can only sleep on my back.
( Before surgery)

I've tried a few times to sleep flat since my surgery and just can't do it yet either, even with an expensive cervical pillow.

My poor butt hurts because I have to sleep sitting up.

The idea of using two Temperpedic pillows might be a good idea! Although at this time ( 2 weeks out of surgery) I still don't think that would help me. But it might someone else further along after a surgery.
Severe Stenosis thanks to C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7 herniated disc's into my spinal cord.

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