I had ACDF surgery for C5-6 and C6-7 about 6 weeks ago. Pretty much the same story as so many people here. Prior to surgery, had terrible pain in my neck and right arm - and a little in the left arm. MRI showed significant spinal stenosis and foramenal narrowing. I do have the titanium plate installed.
Anyhow, right after surgery the arm pain was gone. It stayed gone for about 4 weeks. During this time, I was in a hard collar - but wasn't too religuous about wearing it tight. Also during this time, I had post-op tightness and discomfort in my neck and shoulders - which I am to understand is fairly normal following acdf surgery.
A short while after getting out of the collar, the pain started coming back in my arms (more in the right arm just like before - hence; same nerves). The pain is much less than before in terms of intensity though - more of an annoyance now instead of crippling. I also have increased tightness and discomfort in my neck and shoulders similar to the post-op pain from the first week home.
This recurrance does seem to center around my increased activity, including driving and a return to work (desk job).
I guess I fishing for any experience anyone might have with this.
It just seems odd that the surgery used solid bone and titatium plating to take the pressure off of the nerve roots and spinal cord - and the pain was gone for awhile. Those structures are in still in place (hopefully) and it seems wierd the pain would come back - even with increased activity as the spinal cord and nerve roots cannot again be pinched. I would think that too much activity would cause pain in my neck and shoulders only.