One of the most difficult aspects of the recovery period after neck surgery is sleeping. Depending on what type of procedure you underwent for your degenerative spine condition and how invasive the procedure was, you can anticipate at least a few uncomfortable nights in the immediate aftermath of a cervical operation. Fortunately, with each passing night, the discomfort should subside more and more, and comfortable sleep will once again become the norm. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you grab as much shut-eye as possible while you recover from neck surgery.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
No matter what, the most important thing to remember after you have undergone neck surgery is to follow the directions given to you by your doctor and/or physical therapist. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate your neck pain and other symptoms, perhaps risking a post-surgical setback. That said, of course you’ve got to sleep. Even a little sleep in the nights immediately following your procedure will aid in the recovery process. In order to secure those precious hours of sleep, here are a few things you can try:
- Lie on your back with your knee bent over a pillow
- Alternately, lie on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs
- If you sleep on your side, avoid resting your top knee on the bed
- Avoid sleeping with your arms above your head
- Use the log roll technique when changing positions (back straight, avoid twisting)
- Wear the collar or neck brace given to you, if you receive one
Sleep When You Can
Because it may be difficult to remain prone for the usual 6 to 8 hours at night, you might find it easier to snatch an hour or two for a nap during the day. The important thing is to rest when you can, because the body’s natural healing process is amplified by sleep. Talk to your doctor for other sleeping tips after neck surgery.