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Collar off - Back on pain meds - WAHHHH!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was bragging a few weeks ago about how I was only taking tylenol, no pain meds - woo hoo.
Well, after 2 months of wearing my cervical collar, I got it off last Tuesday. HOLY CRAP! :''(
My head feels like it weighs 900 lbs and my neck is going to snap. My neck and upper back muscles are SO spasmy (is that a word? :/ ) I am back to taking Soma and Vicodin. How depressing.
I went to PT last Thursday and the pain got so bad after that I had to put my collar back on. I went back today and he said that was normal. Really - normal? YIKES! He said the neck is so unstable because it was used to not doing anything and now it's supporting this bobble head. Kind of like an "orange on a toothpick".
Ay yay yay...


  • Yep, I totally understand. We think we are doing soooo great, then comes brace weaning and PT, YIKES! :T Take your time getting rid of the collar, do it gradually so your muscles have some time to adapt. Hope you feel better soon. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I'm sorry to hear that you're back in pain again, although I'm not surprised as my doc told me that would be the case. Now I'm really scared because I'm STILL in my soft collar and my PT won't start until sometime after Jan. 21, the date of my next NS visit. :SS

    It sucks how we think we've started the real recovery only to discover we step in a river of pain again.

    Take care, Surgery Twin. It is really a long process, as we're discovering. And at least you have some medication that will help even though you don't want to take it. >:D<


    PS How's the foot?
  • My foot is still in a boot. I go back for x-rays next week, then we'll see what happens. When my Dr. mentioned having to get a pin in my foot, I told him to "zip it"! Not gunna talk about it until we see what the 2nd x-rays look like.
    I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
  • Dave had a schedule----first day, took it off one hour before bed, second day---take it off 2 hours before bed, third day---3 hours before bed until it was off all day. He hasn't been on any meds since the week of his surgery. I'm not saying he is painfree, but not bad enough for meds.
  • I'm impressed Dave! You must have a wicked pain tolerance. How many levels did you have done? Mine was a 3 level fusion.
    My surgeon had me in the collar 24/7 then not at all. Apparently, quite a shock, plus I have a really long neck, so that makes it all the more unstable.
  • bummer about the collar had acdf done on 12-4-08 collar comes off on 12-31-08. Was looking forward to it.talked to doctor about wearing soft collar after.he no need and no pt.kinda worries me about that.My head is starting to lean toward the left doctor said neck muscle are thight on that side.did not say if it would clear up or not
  • Yup...Dave does have terrific pain tolerance. We have a house full of vicodin that he hasn't taken after prior procedures.

    He never had any pain in his neck prior to his surgery---even with myolapathy. Wish he would have---maybe we could have sued the jerk who rearended him 5 years ago.
  • I am soooo sorry that you are having to go through this. 3 level wow! No wonder the collar. I only had one level and I have had to take pain meds every day since surgery. I hope you won't be in pain to much longer. What did you do to your foot? My goodness! Nobody should have to wear a boot and a collar for heaven's sake!
  • I think this is the main reasons that many surgeons don't use the collars anymore. I had a 3 level ACDF (twice) and didn't use a collar either time, even though the revision removed a whole lot of vertabrae. My neck muscles, or what is left of them, remained "strong" after each surgery.

    I wonder why some surgeons still use them and others don't?

  • Now you have me wondering. I thought something like a 3 level automatically qualified you for a collar. I guess it really does depend on the doctor. But phxchele I really do hope you don't have to have a pin in your foot. My 65 yr old Mom broke the bone in the top of her foot and was actually able to recover enough without them having to put in a pin. I'm sure you're MUCH healthier than she is. So here's to hope!
  • After my 2-level, I wore a hard collar for only 8 days. At my appointment, I took it off and never looked back. It's interesting when you see the differences in treatment. I've seen folks say they've worn their collar for weeks and weeks . . .

    Sure hope you recover and don't need to undergo surgery on your foot.
  • I wore a hard collar for about six weeks and soft collar about the same. I had a one level fusion.
  • there is alot of debate about the collar and I personally have to side with the idea that if you collar as often as some of the older doctors recommend you will no have the strength needed to hold you neck up. I am of the narcotics and had to go back to taking a valuim for headaches. I am ten days post op and wear the collar for only a vfew hours a day
  • there is alot of debate about the collar and I personally have to side with the idea that if you collar as often as some of the older doctors recommend you will no have the strength needed to hold you neck up. I am of the narcotics and had to go back to taking a valuim for headaches. I am ten days post op and wear the collar for only a vfew hours a day
  • I also have to have surgery on my neck. The doctor said that I would have to wear a collar for 4-6 weeks after the surgery, but after reading this, I am going to ask him about the neck muscle problem.

    I did not realize that it would cause a problem, so thanks for the heads up.

  • Dave wore his collar for 3 months. He does have some neck soreness, but nothing serious.

    I could be wrong, but I think some Doctors insist on the collar longer term is to help give the fusion a good chance. Seems like there are a good number of folks who do not fuse. It would be interesting to know how long they wore the collar, if at all.
  • I misunderstood your original post. I thought you were stating that you started taking off your collar from day one of the surgery and hardly wore it at all.
    I didn't realize that you wore it for 3 months.
  • Pain was temporary. I'm not taking any more than tylenol again.
    In fact, I went to Vegas over the holiday for 4 days and didn't think twice about it.
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