Sleep Recommendations after Back Injury

Recovering after back surgery is a delicate matter. Your back is central to all forms of movement and mobility. Any movement from your arms and legs is felt by your back, which connects to your whole body. The spinal cord is a built-in communication highway system, constantly sending electrical nerve signals throughout your body.

Back and spinal surgeries require your entire body to be as still as possible during the recovery process. While pain medication may mask the severity of your surgery, it poses a threat to a healthy recovery. 

You never want to unnecessarily tax your body in movements that are harmful to your tissues and ligaments. These delicate connections need less exertion and more rest and connectedness to slowly reform and heal correctly.

Sleeping After Back Surgery

Good sleep is crucial to the recovery process. But, how do you sleep well while recovering from back surgery?

Here are some tips that will help preserve your back from unnecessary constraints while offering you the deep, restful sleep you need.

Have support pillows ready – Depending on what your surgeon recommends, you may be sleeping on your side, back, or angled face down. Regardless, each of these positions requires proper support for a more ergonomic position during recovery. 

Here’s a breakdown of each sleeping position:

Back sleepers – Some argue that sleeping on your back offers you the greatest defense when it comes to developing post-surgical complications. 

However, sleeping on your back means you’ll need support behind your knees. Cushioning the space between the back of your knees and the bed takes pressure off your cervical and thoracic area. You will also need to support your lower back and have a pillow or medical device that cradles your neck to reduce movement. The less movement during your sleep, the better. Your muscle fibers, tissues, and ligaments need as much rest and recovery as possible for full and complete healing.

Side sleepers – Support is needed for the neck and between the knees when sleeping on your side. It’s still best to reduce movement throughout the night, however, try to move your entire body in one motion rather than making multiple movements to turn to the other side. Less movement during your sleep is always best. 

Stomach sleepers – This position is rarely in your best interest after back surgery if not entirely prohibited by your surgeon and medical providers. Stomach sleepers are the most susceptible to lower back pressure. A person’s neck and lower back are often strained the most, making it difficult to recover properly and most likely damaging the post-surgical healing process altogether.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Recovering from back surgery will cost you your pride in many ways. It’s not a time to be stubborn and independent but rather a time to be willing to ask for help and depend on the advice of your medical team. It is better to ask for help getting out of bed or changing positions properly than risk causing long-term harm to your recovery process. Ask for help, advice, support, and equipment you need. Braces and other medical devices may need to be switched out or replaced. 

With time and patience, your recovery will happen. Continue following the guidelines and recommendations of your medical team.

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier post-acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight and daily nutrition. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver the services needed to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help on your journey back to restored health.

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