Trouble Sleeping Post TKR???

Posted , 26 users are following.

First, this is definitely not uncommon...especially in the first 30-60 days which are the absolute worst.  Try some of this...

- OTC Melatonin or Diphenhydramine (cheap, generic Benadryl) an hour before bed.  Make sure you're not allergic first.  The former is available in strengths from 3-10mg.  Start low and increase if necessary.  The latter is the same ingredient in all "PM"-style products.  Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that makes you drowsy.  Adult dosage is 25-50mg.

- Also an hour before bed, turn off ALL electronics (computer, TV, cell phone, etc.).  Prepare your body for sleep.

- If applicable, take your nighttime meds. 


- Prepare the room to be completely dark.  Drapes or blindfold.

- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.  This lessens your chance of having to go in the middle of the night.

- Apply some Voltaren Gel (RX in the US).  Best topical anti-inflammatory out there.

- If you are having a problem with incision site sensitivity rubbing against your sheets, wrap the knee loosely with an ACE bandage or slip on a knee sleeve. 

- Read a book for a half hour then lights out.  Great way to let go of the day and become drowsy.

- I enjoy listening to some Native American flute music.  Very calming.

- Get a diffuser and some lavender oil.  Mmmmmmm.....

- Against my doc's recommendation, I elevated and iced for the first month or so.  Your call on this one.

If none of this works, call Warner Brothers and have them send over Wiley Coyote with the giant mallet he tries to use on The Roadrunner...or the 16-ton weight he drops off the cliff, through your roof and onto your head.  Those will definitely work!!!

28 likes, 38 replies

38 Replies

  • Posted

    Be careful with the diphenhydramine..that's the generic name for Benadryl. That is all the "PM" medicine out there like Tylenol PM, Advil PM etc. Yes, the adult dose is 25-50 mg but start out with only 1-25mg pill first. The "hangover" effect from this med can last well into the day.I have used it for years and still only take half of one pill at night to help me sleep.

    • Posted

      Totally agree, hence the warning in bold.  Not all OTC meds are benign.  I always check on a major drug interaction website to make sure there are no problems.  Do your homework...
  • Posted

    Hi Chico

    I'm 13 days after TKR I foolishly stopped taking my painkillers after 5 days , then realised that it was unbearable 2 cycle on my stationary bike ( but still managed 2 x 10 mins sessions)!after tralling though net realised that it is so important 2 concentrate on stretching

    Rather than walking 100!% improvement back on meds

    Having staples out tomorrow 😀😀😀 then Physio day after plenty of ice via cuff , No Pain no gain hopefully back golfing and cycling soon

    Stay focused everyone

    Rob 🐌🐌🐌🚴🚴🚴🏒🏒??????

    • Posted

      13 days post op and you are cycling 10 min twice a day and are just now going to physical therapy? You are definitely a superman and way beyond most of us who are plodding along at a snail's pace towards recovery. Just don't tell us that you are sleeping comfortably through the night too!

    • Posted

      No I'm sleeping rubbish !! Did a lot of cycling pre 2 operation ( fortunately not 2 much pain before)

      Without boring u I've had 2 heart attacks so paranoid bout getting cardiovascular exercise ( did cry when first got on bike ) l know big boys shouldn't cry 😁😁😁🙈🙈 but it was very painful

      I play golf with guys that have had op and they all said take your time

      Just stay focused some good days x some bad 🐌🐌🐌💃🏼💃🏼 Women are better at pain then men otherwise we wouldn't have any children 😁😁😁😁😁😁💊💊

      Take care

      Rob 57 3/4

    • Posted

      NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!  A knee replacement is unlike any other joint surgery.  In our case...

      PAIN IS NO GAIN!!!

      Knee swells, ya gotta back off the exercise, elevate and ice.  At 5 weeks, I did 8,000+ steps on my FitBit one day and paid dearly for the mistake for days!  Also rehabbed a hip replacement in 2009...six weeks, 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, gym and therapy pool.  Just pushed right through it.

      The same method does NOT work with a knee.  This is a very slow and painful recovery...especially the first 30-60 days.  You cannot push it...period.  If anything, this recovery will teach you (has taught us all) the values of patience, perseverance and humility.  There are no shortcuts.  Some people get through it fast and/or with little pain, others suffer for a long time.  Most of us fall into the 3-6 month range to really get off all the meds, regain full flexion and walk without any assistance...add another 6-12 months for the remaining swelling, stiffness and clicking sounds.  For me, I don't think the latter will ever go away.

      For the full story...

      Remember...slow and easy.  This is a marathon, not a sprint. 

  • Posted

    Maybe I have been doing too much and I continued that yesterday by snowblowing our huge driveway. Had to be done, though,-- eight inches of snow with rain predictedfor today and then freezing temps tomorrow.

    I slept like a baby though for the first time in weeks because my wife and I made love for the first time since the operation.I didn't know if it was safe to take sildenafil (generic Viaga) with the other meds but I thought "what the hell?" and went for it. It was great and one adivan and oxy later I was off to the Land of Nod.

  • Posted

    I absolutely have a diffuser in each room. I am an essential oils addict. Thank you so much. Your advice is amazing.
    • Posted

      Debi, same here! Lavender every night. I absolutely love it! Then downstairs I mix up a spicey combination of whatever I have on hand. My bedroom diffuser is a nebulizer, uses NO water and is straight oil; which is potent!  I love it that way. Happy diffusing~ 
  • Posted

    Walking more and more every day, most of my sleep issues stopped when I became more mobile. 😊

  • Posted

    I have been tempted on the Wiley Coyote thing,when it hurts so badly that sleep is non existence. Have only been able to sleep in my recliner thus far.
  • Posted

    Ha Ha thanks Chico love the last paragraph. The thread on here has given me some reassurance. 
  • Posted

    thanks for advice and support.  good to know on right track - sent home with little support so good to know doing 'normal'

  • Posted

    Love these posts. I'm just 9 days out and heel slides are definitely not my friend. Hurt so bad at pt that it brought tears to my eyes. I've been sleeping ok, actually pretty good. I tape Antique Roadshow and it puts me to sleep every time. My husband puts on the ice machine and I sleep for 3-4 hours and wake my husband up so he can walk me to the bathroom. He is afraid I'll fall so I let him do it. He gets me back in bed and puts on more ice and I sleep for another 4. I take pain med every 4 hours, Tramadol. I am not a pill taker, even in the 60's but I've read enough of your posts to stick with it. At 70 I'm not into being a superhero. No one to impress at this point.

    • Posted

      Just turned 69 yesterday.  So true...  Good to have that support at home...some people don't get that.  Lucky that I had a walker to get to the bathroom and back early on...graduated to a cane and then nothing pretty quickly.

      Remember...the first 30 days are the absolute worst...sheer hell for most of us.  TAKE THE MEDS!!!  You cannot get addicted to opioids in 30 days and you'll be off them by 60.  Just don't worry about them.  If the lesser meds work then fine; else ask for the better ones.  You don't have to live in that kind of pain.

    • Posted

      Thanks.  Why do the 60's seem like only yesterday when they were FIFTY YEARS AGO!!!  Geez...

    • Posted

      Ah the 60's. Robin Williams said if you can remember the 60's you weren't there. I was at a party in Pacific Grove with Janis Joplin after the Monterey Pop Festival. Now that lady was typical 60's.

    • Posted

      Saw The Supremes at my college...third row...warm-up group was something called Gladys Knight and the Pips.  Too many concerts to remember...and I'm a musician...  Yes, there are things that are either gone or fuzzy, then there are things I remember that I could NEVER tell my kids...

    • Posted

      I took Tramadol every four hours and that helped me sleep.  As my pain lessened I gradually cut back to 2 a day; 50 mg each.  I decided to stop taking it as I was not having a lot of pain and started taking ibuprofen.  My advice is taper off the Tramadol very slowly.  I thought stopping it when I was only taking 2 a day would be ok.  I went thru withdrawal with lots of anxiety, fatigue and sleeplessness.  I should have gone down to just one a day and one every other day, etc.  I have been off now for almost two weeks and still feel like I am going thru some withdrawal.  Talked to my family doctor about it and she said it can take at least two weeks to get it out of your system depending on the dose you were taking.  Glad you are doing well at 9 days.  I am now almost 7 weeks out and starting to feel "normal" again.  Lots more mobility and getting some energy back. Still not able to sleep unless I take an Advil PM. I do PT 3 times a week and do it at home on off days.  It's a lot of work but at my 6 week post op checkup my ortho dr was very pleased with my progress.  Good luck with your recovery.

    • Posted

      thank you! i was thinking “oh no” when they send me home with all the pain pills. Been afraid to take too much, tolerating the pain and try to stick to 1-2 a day.  I  may up it to 3. The pain is what stresses me out. 
    • Posted

      Noooo.....  The meds are absolutely vital for the first 30-60 days...  Then you start titrating off of them to something like Tramadol and then to just OTC meds.  It's the way this all happens.  At the beginning, those meds are your best friend.

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