I had ACDF on C5/C6 the day before yesterday. Before going into surgery, my main symptom/complaint was muscle tightness in my trazpezius (where my neck and shoulder meet) and upper back (thoracic area) - all on the RIGHT side.
The first thing I noticed when I woke up in the recovery room was muscle pain in my LEFT trapezius. I immediately told the nurse about it and she said that was normal after ACDF surgery because that was the side where the surgeon made the incision and where he retracted the muscles so he could work on my neck. When I told the doctor about the pain he said "that is not unexpected". "Not unexpected" for whom? I sure which he had warned me about it. In all the handouts I was given I never read anything about expecting this pain.
Aside from the sore throat (which hasn't been too bad), this muscle pain is my only complaint. Neither of the pain medicines (intravenous Fentanyl in the hospital, Darvacet pills now) seem to help much. The muscle just stays tight and I have this huge, sore "knot". Could someone else who has had ACDF please tell me if they had this problem immediately following ACDF surgery, and, if so, did it go away? I am worried it will not go away. What is ironic is that I had the exact same pain in the exact same spot before surgery, except on the RIGHT side, not the LEFT side!
Incidentally, the pain I had on my right side prior to surgery is now gone. So, in that sense, the surgery was a success.