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Post surgical pain ACDF w/instrumentation- four level

knusinovkknusinov Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had 4 level ACDF w/inst. done on July 20th,'09. Post surg. pain seems to be getting worse as right shoulder and right arm cramping is gradually returning. I have been using spinalpac II bone stim. 24/7 to get fusion to take as quickly as possible. I have been told that adding valium helps with nerve endings that are effected from surgeory. Any advise would be helpful! I am hoping that after six week check-up and x-ray I can start physical therapy as that was my salvation after 3 level lumbar fusion done a little over two years ago.


  • I am no expert on pain, but since my surgery on
    8/4/09, I have found:
    A) Stay on top of the pain meds. My RX is for
    2 hydrocodone every 4 hours. When I try to take less ( say one tablet every 4 hours), then the pain becomes too great, I can't get any work done.
    If I take the 2 tabs every 4 hours, I seem to manage

    B) Are you using ice packs on the affected area ?
    If your doctor approves, you might find the ice packs very helpful. I use a soft flexible ice pack in the freezer, put it on my neck 15 minutes every hour, then take it off for the remaining 45 minutes.
    The ice really numbs the pain

    C) Did your doctor prescribe a cervical collar ?
    Some people find that these collars support the neck, taking pressure off the neck muscles.

    D) Depending on your pre-surgery symptoms, the ACDF may help some symptoms but not necessarily the pain.
    For example, I was having tingling/numbness in my left hand, weakness in my arms, and loosing coordination (stumbled when walking). My doctor told me that these symptoms would be helped by the surgery, but, there was only a 50-50 chance that the surgery would ease the pain. Be sure to ask your doctor if the surgery was done to relieve symptoms, pain, or both.

    Hope this helps. I do not know your particular pain, but I do know that pain can drive a person crazy !
    I am fortunate to be getting lots of emotional support from my wife and from the church I attend.
    Otherwise, this whole neck pain thing can be pretty depressing. I hope you find relief.
  • I decided to take advice from the dr's nurse about the valium. It seems to be doing the trick. Finally, it feels like someone took the ice pick out of my right shoulder. I have been keeping up with all the pain meds as I am not driving or working for six weeks. Why suffer? I just want to have the bone graph start to fuse so I can get back to a semi-normal routeen. I know that phy. therapy will increase pain level but that is part of the healing process. Thanks for your reply and best to you- knusinov
  • Hello,
    I had a 4 level ACDF Dec 08. I still have pain and go to a PM doc. Take it slow. It will take time to heal. I know the ice pick pain. Hope you can get some relief.
  • Did they use your bone shavings and a peek between the vertebrae or did they use a donor bone? The live bone fuses faster because it has living cells. They used a "peek" and my bone shavings.

    My bone stimulator causes spasms. I had to take a 2 day break and am working with the lady who sold me the stimulator. I have the orthofix. It goes over my neck like a necklace. I have a 4 hour daily requirement. It does cause spasms for some people. I am being told to work up to the 4 hours due to my reaction.

    Are you doing lots of walking? I was told 30 minutes twice a day and was given arm exercises to do. I'm eating healthy foods, limiting red meat, salt, sugar, caffine, alcohol and not using any anti inflammatory drugs because they slow down fusing.

    I go in August 31st for my 5 week check up and hope to get PT as well. I'm not driving until I get the okay to do so. I'm not doing housework or yard work and lifting under 3 pounds.

    The walking helps me with pain. I just started walking without my soft collar so my neck is a bit muscle sore. I walk pretty slow but I get it done.

    I had a 3 level ACDF a week after you had yours done. Happy 6 weeks! Hope it goes well for you.
  • I had a 4 level ACDF (C3-C7) on August 25, 2009. Was home 24 hours after surgery. The NS used by own bone spurs with 4 titanim cages and 10 titanium screws. I took pain med for about 2 weeks and don't think I really needed them. Wore the Miami J collar for first 6 weeks almost 24/7. Drove after 2 weeks sparingly. Did not wear brace while driving. Started PT and wearing spinalpak II 24/7 starting 3rd week. PT only worked on my lower body the first 4 weeks and the last 2 weeks worked with a band for shoulder area and continued lower body work.

    After 6 week post op visit my NS said all was looking good. Still no pain at all. Only a few muscle aches in my shoulder area but PT took care of that. He told me I would take the brace off after 6 weeks but said things looked realy good so I should wear it for another month, half of the time.

    Went for 3rd post op visit (9 weeks) on Wed, Nov 4, 2009. My NS and I looked at the xrays together and he said that the lower 2 was already fused and the upper 2 were more than half way. Started doing a few neck exercises this week but being real careful. I don't go back until Jan 6, 2010 and he wants me to continue to wear brace part time. I don't mind, it appears he's been guiding me in the right direction so far.

    The first month I would tire easy but no pain. The NS said for me to start walking asap and as much as I could stand. My second day home I was walking about 100 yards. After 6 weeks I was walking 2 miles just about every day and I continue to walk from 2 to 3 miles 4 or 5 times a week. Only took PT for 6 weeks and he said that would be all.

    I love my NS. He has been so caring kind to me. This man, whom I met for the first time in May of 2009 gave me his cell number. Not to many will do that. I never called but I probably texted him a dozen times and he answered every one.

    I wish you all the best of luck and pray that we all continue to heel.
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