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How long did you stay out of work after ACDF?

Cindyx3CCindyx3 Posts: 144
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi all,

I had two levels done, c4c5 and c5c6 on June 30th. I had to stop PT because when I use my right arm I get in a lot of pain. Doc told me it takes time for the nerve to heal. I'm going to try PT again. I also notice when I move my neck a lot I get in a lot of pain. I know I'm only about 2.5 months out but when do you feel better and when did you return to work.



  • Hi! Hope you are feeling better. I had ACDF @ C5-C6 in June of this year and will be released Monday of next week. I understand in most cases they like for patients to be off work about 3 months. Some people do go back to work sooner according to job requirements. I can't go back to my previous job because of nerve damage and permanent restrictions. Each case and each doctor is different. I hope I did't confuse you more. Good Luck!!!!
  • That is what my doctor said too. Three months and then we'll talk. I guess it's how you feel.


  • I'm about seven weeks out and my neuro told me about 4 more weeks until he will start me on therapy. Hpefully I can go back to work shortly after that.
    Let us know how everything goes
  • So stop moving your neck! :D Wow, you guys are lucky. I had C5-6 done, and my neuro sent me back to work in a month. I drive 8 hrs a day at my job as a courier, and I know it was way too soon. I was so exhausted when I got home, I just crashed. I was still experiencing a lot of muscle spasms, and working made it worse. The sad part is I had plenty of paid sick leave accumulated. Oh well, maybe next time. Good luck Cindy, hope your pain keeps improving.
  • I had a 3 level done and I was back to work in about 3 months. It would have probably been sooner but I have a long drive to and from work and he would not release me to go back sooner because of the drive....
  • Hi all. This is my 1st post, but I've been following this forum since I found out that I needed surgery. I was to have c5-6 AND c6-7 done with plates on 9/2/09 for stenosis and ruptured discs. C4-5 is bad too, though not so bad yet. My surgeon was unable to do 6-7 without resecting my clavicle and sternum, so he only did c5-6. I woke up without any arm pain @ all. Of course the incision hurt, but really, not SO bad. I stayed overnight @ the hospital, and would have been released several hours sooner if they could have gotten a Miami J collar in a smaller size sooner. My post-op visit was 9/15, at which time I was switched to a soft collar until I see the OS again on 10/13. If you have an orthopedic surgeon that you like and trust- have the surgery. Don't wait!! The damage only gets worse, harder to heal. My symptoms began 6/26/09. I haven't taken a pain pill since surgery, not even post-op. I'll be out of work a total of about 7 weeks- basically my call. Life's too short to suffer.
    I would advise choosing your hospital carefully...excellent nursing care makes a HUGE difference those 1st few hours! Do it and HEAL!!!
  • Cindy,
    On my first surgery around the 8th week, I actually started feeling better. So on my post op appointment at the 10 week mark, I asked to go back to work. I did go back before having therapy. Anyway since everyone heals at a different rate and we all have vary different jobs you need to do what is best for you. Also surgery is done for many different reasons so depending on why surgery was done will depend on the length you will need to heal. Now for myself going back to work when I did ended up not being such a good choice. So listen to what the doctors say and trust them. After all you had faith in them to do the surgery so keep the faith up.

    As far as the Pt goes same thing applies there as well. If you are finding PT difficult have the therapist find other things you can do. Most important be sure to keep up your walking. Walking is so vital. If you don't have a walking program as the therapist for one or you can google and find some really good programs. Take care
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