Pain and lack of sleep

Posted , 15 users are following.

I am 17 days post TKR and am managing to get through day without taking pain relief but at night no matter what pain releif I take I cannot get more than an hours sleep. The pain and discomfort is terrible and I end up walking round the bedroom or coming downstairs. Any tips would be gratefully received.

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Your story mirrors mine. My suggestion is to take your medication regularly throughout the day, I went back on to prescription meds day 20 after trying for a wk to be med free (only taking night time pills) I'm wk 14 and have been off all meds for 7 days (until last night, I took paracetamol, due to spending the day decorating, silly I know.) you are very early to try and be pill free. I dropped to half dosage at approx 10-12 wks.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    I would say you have come off the pain killers far too early.... hence the trouble at night time. You normally need the pain killers to get you through the daily physio sessions. Yes cut down bed time is for relaxing not pain
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  • Posted

    Hi linda. Try 15mg codeine together with 500mg paracetamol. In Australia, it is possible to purchase these from a Pharmacy supplying ID and usage reason. I mostly take 1 of these at night, sometimes 2, if pain is bad, which it can be and I have no side effects like constipation. I cannot lie on my right side as that knee throbs, even at post op 14 months. Try this mix or just 2 x paracetamol one hour before bed. Good luck. Take pain relief if and when you need it. No medals for suffering! xxx
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  • Posted

    First of all Linda i feel for you.

    I had TKR 5 years ago.

    I was able to go to sleep quite normally but would then wake up in pain 2 or 3 hours later and not be able to get back to sleep.

    Which knee have you had replaced and are you able to sleep on your side yet?

    At your stage it is probably more comfortable to sleep on your back even if you are not used to doing this.

    Try sleeping with as pillow underneath the knee and also between the legs.

    I used to have a piece of plastic sheeting or a bath towel over the sheet. I then used to put a cold flannel on my knee and go back to sleep like that.

    I agree that you have come off the pain killers too early.

    Are you going to physiotherapy? They will be able to help you with this.

    Don't give up. hang in there.

    Take care and keep in touch

    Much love  Sarah xxx

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Linda

    Sleepless nights are a common early factor of tkr as many here will attest but usually start to improve around six weeks. I found going to bed with an ice pack over the knee and a heat pack below a big help for the first few hours-refresh as necessary. I also found walking and stretching the knee brought some relief along with a hot shower. Nerve pain is often at its worse when the affected area comes in contact with sheets. Try and allow time for painkillers to kick in before retiring-if your having trouble falling asleep try listening to music or reading-anything to take your mind off the situation. Its a tough road these early weeks, trial and error will sort out whats best for you. Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress.

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  • Posted

    Agree with everyne else. . it would surely be better to take pain meds regularly, and not just at night.  I also got incredible pain in the thigh at around two in the morning, which no pain medication would touch . . perhaps the pain you get at night is similar to that.  You are very early in the recovery process, and lack of sleep is not at all unusual. In fact, it seems to be one of the biggest problems with the TKR recovery, and it makes it so hard to have the energy., both physical and mental, to do the necessary exercises etc.  If possible, catch up on sleep when you can, and keep taking the tablets!

     

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  • Posted

    Hi, I agree, I think you've come off your pain killers way too early.

    I was told by the hospital to keep mine topped up and eventually got off Tramadol completely by 6 weeks and then just took Paracetamol.

    You need to be pain free to manage your physio which is very hard and painful at first.

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  • Posted

    I think everybody has pretty much said it all, dont stop taking the pain killers its a very long haul not a quick fix, its going to take at least a year to get anywere back to normal, ice packs are one of the best, sleepless nights will get less as the weeks go on, i think i can say we have all had ...good days and bad days.....sometimes you feel a million dollars and then you feel....just crap.......chin up and dont let it get you down, it will be worth it in the end xx
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  • Posted

    Why have you stopped taking painkillers in the day?? You need to keep the levels steady in your system by taking them regularly, otherwise you are constantly fighting a losing battle - this is whats happening to you at night! If you let the pain get a hold, its the  Devils own job to get back on top of it. 

    Theres no shame in taking the painkillers, and you certainly get no reward or recognition for trying to be brave or "tough it out". Take the meds, do your exercises, ice, elevate and stay hydrated. At just 17 days out thats about all you should be doing, its such early days for you.

    Take care 

    Terri

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  • Posted

    Hi Linda, im 3 weeks in and still on strong meds day and night. Your too early on in the process to be giving up painkillers yet. Your most likely suffering at night because your body hasnt had any pain relief in the day. Exercising is hard enough but doing them without pain relief will be even worse. I know you just want to get back to normal and believe me you will but its so early on in the process all you need to be doing at the moment is resting, icing, elevating and exercising.

    I also found elevating my knee in bed helped as well.

    Take care

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  • Posted

    Take minimal pain relief over the day so it builds up in your system and you might need stronger pain relief

    At night. It's very important to get your sleep.

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  • Posted

    Hi Linda

    Your description of nights was the same for myself. Aircast cuff ice bucket and knee wrap helps as icing changing the cold water at night is easy.

    For myself 6 weeks of this then a little better but did not sleep well until after 10 weeks. I also found hot baths before bed and icing helped.

    A horrible journey but connecting with others that have been through the TKR helps share your pain.

    Crying helps a little .

    It will get easier with time.

    Good healing

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  • Posted

    Everything seems worse in the middle of the night when your mind has nothing to focus on but your pain and misery and medication does little to help.  I used to listen to talking books by way of distraction.  I also kept tea making things beside my bed.  I found a cup of tea and listening to a story would make me feel more calm and relaxed and sometimes even drift back to sleep.
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    • Posted

      I have an MP3 player on the nightstand.  Your phone or a tablet would work too.  Get a GOOD set of noise-cancelling earbuds.  You need soothing, calming music.  I use Native American flute music...one instrument...no other background sounds.  Great stuff.  Or...

      Get a set of language mp3s and learn Mandarin Chinese in your sleep!  The mind can focus on only one thing at a time.  If the music is front and center, the pain recedes.

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