Most patients will have some degree of discomfort in the lower back region with routine activities in the days following their SI joint fusion surgery. Making sure you get enough of restful sleep is important to ensuring a speedy postsurgical recovery. Here’s how to get the most comfortable sleep after an SI joint fusion.
The main things are to take your pain medications as instructed, sleep on a firm mattress that does not sag in the middle, and support your back with pillows to make sure your spine and pelvis are lined up properly while you're sleeping.
ON YOUR BACK:
When sleeping on your back, you could place a pillow or two under your knees which causes the lower back region to flatten against the mattress and be well supported. Alternatively, place a rolled up towel under the lower back region or use a lumbar sleep roll to provide support and protection for the lower back and SI joint area.
ON YOUR SIDE:
Many patients report obtaining good sleep with lying on their side with a pillow between their knees. A small pillow can also be placed under the side of the abdomen which will help align the spine and pelvis correctly.
Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended as it puts too much stress on the back. When changing your position in bed or getting out of bed make sure you “log roll” keeping your torso stiff until you reach the edge of the bed and then push yourself up using your arms to a seated position. This will help prevent twisting of the spine which can cause problems at the fusion.
If you have issues with your SI joint, and conservative treatments such as spine injections or radiofrequency ablations have not helped improve symptoms, you should consider SI joint fusion surgery.
Dr Payam Moazzaz specializes in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that enables faster recovery and return to active lifestyles. For all appointments and inquiries, please call (760) 904 5444.