Monday, February 13, 2023

SLEEPING AROUND – My Gradual Turn From Back Sleeper to Stomach

Ever since my back problems began—sometime in my 40s if memory serves—I’ve heard and read that sleeping in any position other than on one’s back is asking for trouble. And I pretty much heeded that advice.

Yet my recurrent back pain persisted, the payback, I assume, for all those years of contact sports—and likely a head butt or two from genetics.

By 2013, things were getting pretty bad. It wasn’t just poor sleep; now I was experiencing phantom pain radiating out to my hip and down my leg. Walking more than a hundred yards was too much to bear.

So in 2015 I had surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove parts of one lumbar disk pressing on a nerve, and to stabilize a few malaligned vertebrae with four three-inch titanium screws. I walked away from that surgery a new man. But, as my surgeon cautioned me, even though I’d be free of the referred hip pain I’d still be a guy with a bad back.

After that, back sleeping seemed more sensible than ever. In fact, due to this surgery and a previous fusion in my cervical spine, any other position was quite uncomfortable.

     Has something changed with my anatomy?
     Or do I just have a screw loose?

Flash forward to 2022. For some inexplicable reason, I was starting to wake up quite often during the night with an urgent need to change position from back to side. As the year went along, the trend continued: less time on my back; more on my sides.

Then, just in the past few months, while I’m still spending most of the night side-sleeping, the “rotisserie” has been turning me another 90 degrees. I now find myself on my stomach several times every night. To my surprise, that’s now become the most comfortable position for me—at least for a few minutes until that yearn to turn sets in again.

I’m baffled. Has something changed with my anatomy? Is it my mattress going soft on me? Or do I just have a screw loose? What do you think? We'd love to hear of your tossings and turnings.


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