Sleep ... Or not much of it!

Posted , 10 users are following.

I know sleep problems are a problem for many people .... I am only 11 days post op. The awful bruising is getting better, the heat is marginally better at times, the tightness is slightly better in the thigh .. I can press it a little now  but of course the tightness around the knee is there all the time, sometimes bad enough and sometimes excruciating!  I am persevering with the exercises ... Leg lift very good, heel slides pretty good but not quite level with the other knee yet. I try to do it in two stages .. Take it slowly as far as I ca, wait a half a minute with the knee where I got it to and the try for a couple more degrees . Weight bearing and walking generally fine and stairs tiring but fine.

SLEEP ... On average I wake three times between first falling asleep and 4am ... It is now 03.30 and this is the third wake up since 11.00. For the first time tonight I woke with a really viscous headache as well .. Am taking OxyContin 5mg am, Panadol 4 times a day, OxyContin 5mg nightly which doctor upped to 10mg at night to see of that helped sleeping. I also have OxyNorm for breakthrough. Tonight I haven't taken the OxyNorm because of the bad headache .. Thought it might make it worse ... I walk around the bedroom when I  wake up, ice the knee, gently massage the bits I can and pray for the extreme tenderness down my shin to start improving. Last night (Wednesday night ) in sheer misery and frustration magazines got hurled across the Roo. And tears of self pity were shed and my poor husband who is fantastic to me got the worst of it!

During the day I shower etc, walk around whichever room I am in, eat downstairs, watch some tv downstairs in the evening with leg raised but during the day I only want to be on the bed as it is the best place to stretch out comfortably and also do the heel slides etc. I got a wheelchair from the Red Cross and as yesterday was so lovely, got dressed and my husband took me out for a breath of air. Disaster.  Leg down hurt the knee where it went over the seat edge and up in front of me in the raised foot plate jarred my back too much ... More pain and misery.

 As in previous postings my other big problem is that I had a three level lumbar fusion only seven months ago and the op and being on my back ( cannot lay on my side because of knee 'heaviness' ) sitting with my leg elevated even about 6 or 7 inches puts a lot of pressure on my back and I have had horrible nerve flare up and next Friday will go back on for my back surgeon to give me another nerve block which I pray helps as the back pain is nasty. I also have a lot of hip pain I haven't had before and I use the heat pad against it for a bit of comfort.

One online YouTube ortho, film suggested heated towel before exercises followed by ice afterwards ... Anybody doing that? Does it help get a bit more movement?

I would like to know what medication routine is working for a few other people .. Perhaps ditching the OxyContin under supervision and going for something else .. I am badly allergic to Oramorph so cannot take that .

Any sleep suggestions gratefully relieved ....

1 like, 17 replies

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    I can really sympathise with the headaches. I am 12 weeks now and doing well. The headaches were becoming worse than the knee! . Everything I took seem to give me a headache .i tried oromorph , but that was no different . In the end I asked for naproxen ( an anti-inflammatory ) that I had taken before .i tried just paracetamol with them , or if necessary I took cocodamol . I did a lot of icing . I used a cryo cuff and found it brilliant .instead of popping another pill I used it many times a day . I often wrapped it around the back of the knee as pain was bad there. .i found the naproxen really helped . Good luck . It is worth it in the end xx
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  • Posted


    i don't know if this will be of any help to you but I'm just 4 weeks post Op and also have problems in my spine.

    my pain seemed to realise it had done enough to me and has slowly started to subside.

    I only woke once last night 4am but the pain wasn't in my knee that I've had the Op on was in  my hip on the same leg 

    like you I get out of bed walk round and ice.

    you seem to be doing much better than me with the leg bends and my knee is still bruised and swollen

    Probably due to Physio letting me falls the day after my Op

    you keep up the good work you really are doing Fine

    all the Best 


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  • Posted

    Oh you poor soul. I really feel for you. I am now 8 wks post op and although the pain is so much less than a few weeks ago, the swelling is enormous and the tight vice-like grip all around my knee is driving me insane. I too couldn't sleep for the first 4 or 5 weeks. Then at around 6 weeks slept most nights - sheer bliss. Now the incredible tightness 100% of the day kept me waking every hr or so throughout the night. At physio yesterday one of the ladies suggested trying bio freeze spray for the pain. She swears by it and says to spray around NOT on the scar. Others in the knee group there have also used the heat, then exercise then ice method and maintain it does help with the pain. This is, as you are no doubt finding out, the most horrendous and painful thing. Unfortunately only time can help - and as it is such a slow healing process - it will take a long time!! All my best to you. Take care xx
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  • Posted

    Hi all I wrote this in Hospital I hope it makes you smile


    i'm laid here in this hospital bed,

    Wondering if I'm alive or dead;

    my leg looks like it's been on a Butchers block

    That's what I can see through this tight white sock,

    A Zimmer frame to help me walk.

    With a leg that looks like a piece of Pork.

    Other ladies all seem to be,

    Looking so much healthier than me,

    But just you watch out when I'm healed and pain free,

    I'll be running a Marathon and you won't catch me,

    But meanwhile I'll enjoy a Moan and a Groan.

    And look forward to the day when I get back home.


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  • Posted

    I could have written the same letter last night. I feel that if I could only sleep for say four hours it would make all the difference. I took a Tramadolat 5am even though I dreaded the reaction. The usual dizziness followed but at least I then closed my eyes and slept. I asked my Gp for a telephone consultation yesterday as I can't get to the surgery and the receptionist promised he would ring me. He didn't. So, a lot of pain, no way to sort out my meds which physio says is vital, and no sleep. Not a good time for either of us I think. But at least it helps to know I'mnot the only one. 
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  • Posted

    I know how you feel about your GP I ordered my tablets over the phone as like you I can't get there

    i got sent only half of what I'd ordered my daughter went and complained to the surgery and after some haste she got the rest of my prescription

    it's all down to money....or receptionists that don't pass on messages


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  • Posted

    Hi there, sorry I can't really offer much advice, only sympathy. You seem much more knowledgeable about painkillers than me. All I know is that I got headaches when in hospital and I was given OxyContin there. Once I got home I just took the strong cocodamol for about a month(Zapain) As I've got a stomach problem I can't take ibuprofen so just spaced the Zapain out and took 2 every 6 hours. You seem to be making good use go ice and heat which I also found helped. Things do improve but very slowly. I really hope yuu get some relief soon. Take care. Jen x
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  • Posted

    i know, isn't it sooo frustrating! i am 3.5 weeks post op and am still shedding tears of self pity and frustration. i keep telling myself i have to take it day by day. and not to be too hard on myself. which is not as easily done as said hence your magazines flying around and my vile language :-)

    i am based out of switzerland and so our medication is called differently. i too had horrendous reactions to tramadol and pethidine (opiates) which all ended in me fainting away (after being violently sick). but other than that my medication has been brilliant. little to no pain anymore and headache only on one day. no sickness either. so big kiss to my doc for that. but if i were suffering, i would keep badgering the doc until you get the combo right, especially in light of your back / hip pain.

    my leg aches terribly at night, lying down is the worst for me. i am happiest out and about, walking. we get taught how to use crutches in a 4-point system (similar to nordic walking) here so you are mobile as much as possible. are you not getting any physio? they can give you all kind of great exercises to stretch the leg. when my leg aches, i do those exercises and massage my leg with tiger balm (not the scar) and take a very light pain killer. seems to do the trick.

    as for the hot / cold debate. excellent question! if your knee is still hot, my therapist tells me it will make the heat (swelling) worse. if the swelling is gone, then the heat will help stretch the muscles but by the sound of things, nothing wrong with your muscles. you are doing waaaaaaaay better than me with the bending and such! as suggested by another contributor, the ice cuff is great. i also put it around the back of knee or my calf. the other thing we use here and believe me, it really works, is quark wraps! the quark draws out any heat, it is totally natural and you can do this as often as you want. i even got this in hospital :-)

    on a last note: don't despair. we all know it is an incredibly difficult time to get through but hang in there, every day brings a small improvement. i cannot tell you how much better i am doing in the last 7 days. and vent as much as you want. rather out than in!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply and to the others I have received today. I was up four times last night, the first at 12.30 and the last at 05.15 .... Exhausted.

      I am intrigued about the quark wraps ... Please explain - however odd, for the sake of a few ££ it must be worth trying.

      Your suggestion reminded me of another remedy ... Ladies only: when breast feeding with very hot and swollen breasts, we all tried cabbage leaves cold from the fridge. Whether that us more effective than the ice packs, probably not. I am up gore trying the quark!

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    • Posted

      i know, sounds crazy, right? but it really does work. get some kitchen roll (2 sheets are plenty!). smear quark OUT OF THE FRIDGE on one sheet leaving an inch around all the edges. cover with the other sheet and press together. remember this drips so make sure you have a fluffy towel under your leg. place the quark on the knee and press on. don't cover. leave on until it is no longer cold which depends on how hot your knee is. don't leave it on longer, it then has the reverse effect. you can then touch your knee, the heat has usually gone. when heat back, do all over again. lucky quark isn't expensive!! good luck and hope it helps you.
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  • Posted

    Hi there, you poor thing you, i do so sympathise with you. Sleeping is a nightmare and I have cried buckets, 3weeks ago dr suggested 1/2sleeping per night what an absolute god send. Sleeping again and generally feeling so much better. I am not on any pain meds except for 2paracetomol a day which I take last thing at night. I am now 8weeks and fairly back to normal all round. You have had other problems to deal with so it has to be harder for you. Once you are getting some sleep things will improve. I could cry for you it must be so difficult. But with each day the pains will lesson a little so try not to despair, you will come trough this. Love and best wishes from tucks x
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