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8 DAYS POST-OP C3/C4 ACDF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I feel the surgery went very well and recovery has been better than I ever imagined. However, the tightness in my shoulders and upper arms, and the numbness and tingling in my right arm are all still present. There has been no relief whatsoever. I know I was told that nerves can take up to 2 years to recover, but I did expect some change. Am I being too impatient and too hopeful? I would prefer to know if they are NOT going to recover then I can plan my life accordingly. Any thoughts from anyone on the subject?
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Comments

  • Mitch,
    Only being a week from surgery your nerves and such are probably still agrivated and trying to recover. I know that in my case it took a few weeks for things to settle down. I am not a doctor and we all do recover at different rates, just give things more time and take it easy. Hope all goes well for you.

    mark
  • It's good to hear that your surgery went well & you are on your way to recovery. I am almost 5 weeks post acdf c 5/6. Surgery on 08/08. I still have pain & numbness in my arm & hand. Although it is getting better.
    I too am frustrated. My surgeon told me to be patient & it could take up to 1 1/2 years.
    He did tell me before hand that he could not guarantee that I would ever be pain or numb free but, it wouldn't get worse. The arm is getting better but my neck itself hurts worse today than it ever did before. I just started P/T hopefully that will help.
    Take care & don't over due.
    Kim
  • Mitch,

    My 93 ACDF ultimately resolved all of my symptoms (except for neck discomfort), but the numbness did take quite a while to resolve.

    My current posterior surgery does not seem to have improved my symptoms, other than the pain is reduced. The numbness and weakness exist, with the numbness worse than pre-surgery. I am 4 weeks post-op and am hopeful for a full recovery.

  • I had my surgery 9 weeks ago and I still have numbness and tingling, so you're not alone. It'll take time.

    My DO said it could take up to a year or more as well.
  • Do you have pain and weakness as well? I'm 4 weeks post-op.

  • I don't have pain as such, it is a tightness around shoulders and upper arms, like having a tight band around you. I have some weakness in my right arm, but mostly numbness and tingling.
    Thanks to you all for your encouraging words. I guess patience is the order of the day!!!
  • How long between when the symptoms started before you had surgery? Before my surgery, I talked to a lot of people with ACDF and it seemed the ones that waited the longest before surgery had the longest recovery and some had permanent nerve damage that never went away. That's why I had my surgery ASAP after the symptoms appeared. I only messed around with "conservative" therapy for 4 months. I am now 8 weeks out and completely pain and symptom-free. I haven't had a pain pill or even a Tylenol or NSAID in a over a week!

    But you are pretty soon out of surgery, so I would just be patient. I know my neck pain and shoulder muscle spasms were much worse than my original pre-op pain for the first couple weeks after surgery.
  • I have not had my surgery yet. I've had severe pain and some numbness for about 2 years in my left arm. I have a bone spur impinging on the nerve root in the C5-C6 area as well as the disc in that area doing the same. A couple other of my discs are flattening on my spinal chord.

    My appointment arranged by my primary neurosurgeon with a second opinion neuro is being delayed do to heavy snow this week. I am kind of wondering if I will end up with permanent nerve damage and whether at this juncture I will have to go on permanent disability. My doctors have suggested this possibility as well as my insurance claims manager.

    I probably waited way too long, but they didn't know until the end of this last June it was a cervical spine issue as opposed to an elbow/arm issue.

    I do hope you guys who have had your surgeries recover fully and successfully!

    Ken GreyEagle
    Greyeagle
  • I am 10 days post level 1 ACDF Surgery. I am so glad I found this forum. Immediately after my surgery, numbness and tingling was gone from fingers, and I could lift my arm above my head with less pain than before. I can also hook my bra, which was quite painful prior to surgery. I am wondering if I have done too much too fast -I am having more pain in neck than before surgery. Also, the incision area is still very tender and is still swollen. The nurse called to check on me a couple of days ago and she said that this was normal. Finger numbness seems to be coming and going. I have had herniated and bulging C4/C5 and C5/C6 since 2001. Nurse said that numbness and tingling are usually the last to go, depending on how compressed the nerves were. Also, chance that nerves are damaged and will not recover. I cried when the numbness came back. There is still pain in my arm when I lift in certain positions - I am hoping this too will go away with time. I am only able to sleep for about 2 hours at a time. Have the miami collar but Dr. told me to wear it if I felt I needed additional support. I too can't find comfortable sleep position. I also notice a difference when swallowing, as if there is some pressure on my throat. I guess I am looking for support.
  • Hello,

    I had ACDF 4-5 on December 12th of 08 and I am just now starting to feel better. I can still over do it and the pain will flair if I am not careful. You are experiencing a lot of the same things as me but I think you have more arm pain. Mine is more shoulder and is finally easing a bit.

    Riding in the car will even get mine going.

    For a while the only way I could sleep was in the recliner with a pillow behind my head. I had no collar at all this time.

    As far as your throat it is probably still very swollen from the procedure. This will improve with time.

    Hang in there!

    Cindee
  • Cindee,
    Thank you so much! I travel as part of my job. I am hoping for at least one more week home after Dr visit on Fri. I just can't see me tryinig to drive any time soon. They used skin glue over my sutures. That still hasn't come off-and I am not supposed to scrub it off. My neck and shoulder are really hurting now. I am hoping I haven't messed anything up by trying to do to much to soon. I feel better after reading other posts on this site.

    Annette
  • My doctor actually let me drive one week out. It was an emergency trip to the store and back. Just a few blocks and not to bad. Last surgery it was 2 weeks so I'm not sure why he changed the rules this time. Actually I think I only drove a total of 3 times in the first 4 weeks.

    When you start hurting you need to stop what your doing and rest a bit to get it to ease off.

    I had disolving stitches and tape over my incision. The sticky stuff was terrible. After my check up at about 4 weeks my doctor told me to use nail polish remover to get it off. I was shocked! I used alcohol instead. You probably need to wait on this one!

    Cindee
  • All you recent cervical surgery folks....LOL

    You also need to realize that they have just cut into your neck, moved all of your muscles and other stuff about, scraped your discs out and screwed hardware in. Part of the pain you're going to feel for quite awhile is plain ol inflammation! Since we're not allowed to take NSAID's there is no easy way to get over the internal swelling except good ol time. The inflammation can also push on nerves causing other parts of you to hurt as well.

    That being said if you feel that something isn't right you need to put in a call to your doc- I always prefer to talk to the nurse, they seem to know more helpful hints about aftercare.

    Not overdoing it is essential. It's easy to have a good day and feel like you can run the vacuum or mop the floor but trust me, stick to the limitations the doctor gave you. Don't lift more than you are allowed. Remember to walk! This promotes healing like you wouldn't believe.

    Hang in there. It goes faster than you think and all of you will wonder, after you're back to the drudgery of work, why you didn't sit back and watch more movies or read more books rather than worry about how dirty the floors were LOL!

    Good luck to all of you and please feel free to ask any questions. I've done this a time or two.

    Griff
  • Griff, I completely agree with everything you just said.

    It is so hard to slow down and let your body heal, but it is really important to do so. Griff has just given wonderful advice, and she speaks from her own experiences. I give a ditto to everything she said.

    Cindy
    griff said:
    All you recent cervical surgery folks....LOL

    You also need to realize that they have just cut into your neck, moved all of your muscles and other stuff about, scraped your discs out and screwed hardware in. Part of the pain you're going to feel for quite awhile is plain ol inflammation! Since we're not allowed to take NSAID's there is no easy way to get over the internal swelling except good ol time. The inflammation can also push on nerves causing other parts of you to hurt as well.

    That being said if you feel that something isn't right you need to put in a call to your doc- I always prefer to talk to the nurse, they seem to know more helpful hints about aftercare.

    Not overdoing it is essential. It's easy to have a good day and feel like you can run the vacuum or mop the floor but trust me, stick to the limitations the doctor gave you. Don't lift more than you are allowed. Remember to walk! This promotes healing like you wouldn't believe.

    Hang in there. It goes faster than you think and all of you will wonder, after you're back to the drudgery of work, why you didn't sit back and watch more movies or read more books rather than worry about how dirty the floors were LOL!

    Good luck to all of you and please feel free to ask any questions. I've done this a time or two.

    Griff
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I underwent ACDF C4-C7 fusion in October 2007. I was in a car accident in June 2008. The accident caused the fusion that was not fully healed to fracture and chip off and dislodge into the spinal cord. I had to have another surgery (posterior fusion with internal fixation) in November 2008. I lost my job right before my second surgery (they didn't want to pay me for time off again)so I just took the time to recover slowly. It was working until I started working again in January. I am now going through pool exercise classes as well as physical therapy (which I work in the PT office, so that makes it easier). I am still very sore and achy every day. I take 1/2 a vicodin every night and Advil during the day and muscle relaxers two times a day. I am so tired of meds!! Has anyone else gone through the internal fixation???
  • Griff,
    I agree completely!

    Suebedoo,
    I haven't had an' internal fixation myself. You may want to start a new thread for more input on your question.

    Several of us have started asking and answering questions on Mitch's Thread.

    For more input it would be a good idea to start a fresh thread!

    Thanks,
    Cindee
  • Great advice, Griff! I attribute my recovery to taking it very easy afterwards and not trying to do too much. (That and having a very talented surgeon) I didn't let anyone else (including myself) force me into doing anything stupid. I definitely leaned towards the cautious side...I just spent $30,000 and didn't want that to go to waste. My boss was even threatening to call my doctor to see if it was true that I couldn't lift more than 10 pounds, but I never gave in!

    I was also in more pain immediately post-op than before, but like Griff said, we've all just had our muscles and tendons stretch all over and our vertebrae spread open and drilled into! Inflammation without being able to take NSAIDS isn't fun, but it really does get better!!!
  • I am being suggested to have this surgery on my c3 & c4. This is from a car crash on 8/26/11. I had a couple days of total peralasis. After that I have been progressing daily. Now I walk and use both hands well. My right is much stronger and all around better than my left hand. I have occational numbness in my right hand. I have been to PT they graduated me & the same for OCT. Both with things for me to keep working on to continue my recoervery. I have NO Pain & not on any meds for 3 weeks. Can anyone tell me if the surgery is still a needed procedure I think not. Hopefully that's the right choice. The surgery is to help if I'm in another accident or fall would happen. The next time could be unfixable.
  • Hi all - I had a 3 Level ACDF in January of 2013 (c4-c5, c5-c6, c6-c7) and have 2 more to endure soon (c2-c3, c3-c4). The original pain and electric shocks running down my left arm subsided quickly, but I still have the numbness in both hands and fingertips. I also starting getting new pain and numbness in my left shoulder and arm, and a zinging through my left cheek (face). My original issues started in December of 1998 so I am not fully confident that the numbness will ever go away (I think I waited too long). I am happy I had the surgery as I am fairly confident that things will not get worse. I had another MRI and X-Rays to see if I do indeed have to have another ACDF or will be treated more conservatively.

    Thank you,
    Steve
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