Knee Replacement: Insomnia post-surgery

Posted by auntmarmar @auntmarmar, Jun 9, 2019

Eight weeks ago I had total knee replacement. The knee seems to be doing pretty well, however I have been suffering from horrendous insomnia ever since. Most nights I get 0 to 2 hours of sleep. I feel like a zombie and have also been suffering from anxiety and depression. I have tried sleeping pills, pain pills, Xanax, meditation, I am seeing a counselor, I go for PT, I am doing acupuncture… I am currently using melatonin and CBD oil. I am completely beside myself and so frustrated. Anyone else experiencing this problem? Any solutions?

I have had 2 TKR. Both were basically not bad experiences and not too painful ( except 1.5 yrs. later I realize the 2nd leg may have some nerve damage?). I just want to mention a simple thing that worked for me re sleeping the first 2 or 3 months. I never had terrible pain; but at night while sleeping my leg would ache. So I started sitting in a comfortable living chair (not even a recliner), putting my leg up, and watching TV. I would sleep half the night that way. Actually, it was great! I could doze on and off, being distracted by TV, my leg was up on hassock, I could put ice pack on knee; I had basically no pain. It was being in a SITTING position with TV distraction that was the key. LAYING in bed was more of a problem. Strangely I became so used to this that I often do it now if sleep is an issue. Sounds so simple, I know – but it helped me. I hope it can possibly help you as well.

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I had my left Knee replaced 5 weeks ago. I just wish they would of discussed all these post up symptoms, before the surgery. My goodness, I became so irritable, depressed and crying all the time. I also have had insomnia issues too. What helped me was, acknowledging what was causing it, accepting it and knowing that it all will eventually pass. I believe anyone does better knowing what to expect, beforehand. Not wondering, what is happening to them, causing the symptoms to worsen and becoming so afraid. Just like the huge bruise on my thigh. We were so scared when we seen it, not knowing what caused it, not knowing that this was normal. Doctors need to be more informative and listen more to their patients. Hang in there everybody, as this too will pass!

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@kizzie48

I had my left Knee replaced 5 weeks ago. I just wish they would of discussed all these post up symptoms, before the surgery. My goodness, I became so irritable, depressed and crying all the time. I also have had insomnia issues too. What helped me was, acknowledging what was causing it, accepting it and knowing that it all will eventually pass. I believe anyone does better knowing what to expect, beforehand. Not wondering, what is happening to them, causing the symptoms to worsen and becoming so afraid. Just like the huge bruise on my thigh. We were so scared when we seen it, not knowing what caused it, not knowing that this was normal. Doctors need to be more informative and listen more to their patients. Hang in there everybody, as this too will pass!

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Hi @kizzie48, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. One thing I think we all learn from Connect that may also help you is that the more we know about our health conditions, the better we can advocate for ourselves and hopefully have a positive outcome for any future treatments. I'm about a year and half out from my right knee replacement and even though I did a lot of research and talked with my surgeon and care team before and after the replacement, I struggled some the first few weeks. I thought I should have been further along after 3 or 4 weeks that I was and found out in no uncertain terms from the surgeon on my follow up that I was not doing enough icing and elevating of the leg. I was doing all of the rehab exercises and thought I was elevating and icing enough until we had that conversation.

What is giving you the most trouble now with the left knee replacement?

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@kizzie48

I had my left Knee replaced 5 weeks ago. I just wish they would of discussed all these post up symptoms, before the surgery. My goodness, I became so irritable, depressed and crying all the time. I also have had insomnia issues too. What helped me was, acknowledging what was causing it, accepting it and knowing that it all will eventually pass. I believe anyone does better knowing what to expect, beforehand. Not wondering, what is happening to them, causing the symptoms to worsen and becoming so afraid. Just like the huge bruise on my thigh. We were so scared when we seen it, not knowing what caused it, not knowing that this was normal. Doctors need to be more informative and listen more to their patients. Hang in there everybody, as this too will pass!

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Thanks. Hope you are doing better. My knee is great and I working through the rest. Take care.

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@johnbishop

Hi @kizzie48, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. One thing I think we all learn from Connect that may also help you is that the more we know about our health conditions, the better we can advocate for ourselves and hopefully have a positive outcome for any future treatments. I'm about a year and half out from my right knee replacement and even though I did a lot of research and talked with my surgeon and care team before and after the replacement, I struggled some the first few weeks. I thought I should have been further along after 3 or 4 weeks that I was and found out in no uncertain terms from the surgeon on my follow up that I was not doing enough icing and elevating of the leg. I was doing all of the rehab exercises and thought I was elevating and icing enough until we had that conversation.

What is giving you the most trouble now with the left knee replacement?

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It is my right iliotibial band and right hip. I working through it day by day.

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Please everyone advocate for yourself. If your pain continues for a long time you can get a second opinion at a different orthopedic clinic. Sometimes it helps to have different doctors look at your problem. I have told my story on this site before but if you have not read it I will tell you my experience. Finally after 17 months of terrible pain with a few hours of sleep at night I found an orthopedic surgeon who listened to me. Come to find out I had a rare 'extra' bone in my knee called a fabella. I had a brilliant doctor who was able to remove this bone and it really helped me significantly. I still have knee problems but I am able to sleep at night.
I have had other health issues in my life that I had to fight to get recognized. This is difficult but you have a right to fight to get an answer. I really sympathize with all of you who suffer in pain and do not get enough sleep. I understand how awful that can be. When we have never had a knee replacement before it is so hard to know if what we are going through is normal. I kick myself for putting up with such unbearable pain for so long. The pain was so bad that when pulling myself out of bed I put all of the pressure on my spine and ended up with a spinal fracture.

I wish you all can find a solution to your pain and remember that it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion.

katrina123

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auntmarmar…
I had a difficult time sleeping because when I rolled onto my side it caused awful pain.. I found out that sleeping in a recliner really helped me. This way I couldn't roll onto my side. I don't know if anyone else has tried sleeping in a recliner but at least I got a few hours of sleep this way.
katrina123

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@auntmarmar Have you ever tried MirtaZapine/aka Remron it is an antidepressant but it is taken nightly for all sorts of people with severe anxiety, depression etc. I take a 15mg tablet, some nights I take 1/2 the dosage depending how tired I feel tonite is a full tablet. My neck is really bad need Neurosurgery for that issue & also need knee replacement. But currently live in 5th flr walk-up & my Orthopedic Surgeon has me doing X-rays 1st. & of course I need to move from my current Apt bldng where I resided over 45yrs. Im 55yrs old & currently feel like my world is falling apart but I'm doing the best I can.
Im in chronic pain constantly.
But with this medication I get a good 6-8hrs of sleep & helps a lot w/depression & anxiety issues. I hope it helps you. You need to see the same Dr. Who prescribes xanax for you. I wish you well.

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@kizzie48

I had my left Knee replaced 5 weeks ago. I just wish they would of discussed all these post up symptoms, before the surgery. My goodness, I became so irritable, depressed and crying all the time. I also have had insomnia issues too. What helped me was, acknowledging what was causing it, accepting it and knowing that it all will eventually pass. I believe anyone does better knowing what to expect, beforehand. Not wondering, what is happening to them, causing the symptoms to worsen and becoming so afraid. Just like the huge bruise on my thigh. We were so scared when we seen it, not knowing what caused it, not knowing that this was normal. Doctors need to be more informative and listen more to their patients. Hang in there everybody, as this too will pass!

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@kizzie48 Hi there & thank you & thanks to all people here who are sharing their experiences of TKR side effects & sleep problems. Yes I feel bad & understand how hard & anxious you all feel. Not knowing what to expect is a bad feeling for anyone. Especially something as serious as a knee replacement & any other Surgery for that matter.
Dr's forget that we are afraid especially since most of us under other stresses in our lives & some of us have multiple co-existing health issue's to deal with some even causing total chaos in our own minds thus causing even more anxiety & fear of the unknown. We are human beings & we all for the most part want to be as prepared & have some knowledge or comfort in knowing what to expect & to know what to look out for. This is where I learn & realize that no Im not nut's!!! I am learning & feeling the same way about the unknowing what to feel & when I can share something that I think could be helpful I do. As I suffer from chronic pain due to my entire spine is herniated from my cervical, thoracic, lwr lumbar & my left knee is very bad, retorn meniscus tear's, & severe osteoarthritis in both knees with lots of swelling/edema in both knees & my right hip needs to be replaced, & my Spinal canal is being crushed by my herniated discs in my cervical spine which in turn makes my forearms & both hands go numb unless I sleep on a 90°angle. On my back.so I understand pain & am mentally trying to prepare myself with as much knowledge as I can from all who share at various stages of their journeys thru different types of issues pre & post-op.

I wish you all a great recovery & best health. I will be sharing about my journey thru whichever surgery I go thru 1st providing I can find a decent place to live that's not on a 5th Floor walk-up. Surgeons will not do TKR surgery for me unless I move & Im trying to find a suitable Apt. No walk-ups. I will keep you posted when it starts.
Stay strong & know you're not alone in this journey. It will be ok. Good nite to all & get some rest.

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