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My surgery is on Thursday- ? about pain when waking up

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

Well I am coming down to the wire. My surgery is on Thursday and I have to be to the hospital by 4:30 in the morning. I am having my anterior disectomy and fusion on my c4 through c7. I was origanily suppose to have this surgery back in November but decided to postpone due to checking out one other alternative that did not work out. I am very nervous about my surgery but have been re-assured that I have a very good surgeon.

I guess my biggest concern is how much pain will I be in coming out of my surgery? I am very worried about waking up in pain.



  • The anesthesia is also a pain reliever. It helps until it wears off.

    They need you to be aware enough post-op to tell them if you experience any neurological issues (legs going numb etc.) They cannot drug you to the gills in other words.

    At my pre-op apt. the nurse showed me the infamous 0-10 pain chart. She said that it is unrealistic to expect a 0-3 level. But also, they don't want you from a 7-10. Realistically expect to be kept at a 4-6.

    Of course, that is NOT when you logroll out of bed to walk, do PT or get up to use the bathroom - then you WILL be at a 10 - maybe higher! Also - throwing up, that was absolulely HORRENDOUS! Pain AND sick - not something you would wish on even your worst enemy.

    Good Luck.

    p.s. Search Post-op story or similar to get people's experiences that have been posted already. Mine was atypical - spent 9 days in the hospital, had a second back surgery to halt spreading numbness, was on oxygen most of the days, had to have 2 units of blood and only graduated to non-liquid meals the day I left.
  • I just had ACDF surgery on c5-c6 last Tuesday. When I woke up my pain was really not that bad. I had a very sore throat which throat drops helped and my eye felt like it was scratched. I received a Demerol shot around every 4-6 hours which kept my pain level around a 3. I was expecting to be in much more pain. Now only a week later my pain is nearly 0. When I do experience pain I Take a Norco 10-325 which totally eliminates the pain. I am so happy I had this procedure. After living in constant pain over the last couple of years this is the best I have felt in a long time. Good luck to you.
  • really helps. You wake up feeling very sleepy and notice that something is annoying you, but usually not in screaming pain. You can expect to be uncomfortable but, with any luck, you'll have a good, caring team there waiting to help you. I had some great nurses while I was in the hospital. I had one doozy whom I would just as soon shoot if I ever saw her again (not likely -- can't even remember her face now anyway!), but in general, they will do their best to keep you comfortable.

    It will really help if you have a relative or other loved one there to speak up for you in case you have trouble flagging down some help.

    All the best,
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • It's surprisingly not that painful of surgery. I had a sore throat for a couple days. But I was out of hospital 24 hours after surgery. About the only thing that hurt in the first week was when I sneezed, I could feel the surgery site - pain subsided quickly and when my brace was off and I turned my neck a little, I would have a quick shot of pain. Please rest somewhat easy that this surgery is so much less painful than shoulder or knee surgery. My ACL reconstruction in my right knee was 100 times more painful than this surgery.

    Be careful and best of luck to you.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I agree with Jon. The ACDF is low in terms of pain upon waking. To do the ACDF they don't have to go through muscle so it results in less pain than other surgeries (such as abdominal or back/neck surgery from the back). Some people wake with a sore throat (from the way they get around your trachea) but that's easily taken care of with cepacol lozenges (bring your own if you can, otherwise they got me some at the hospital right away). Some people do have some muscle pain/spasms but for me they were minimal. I had an Aspen collar for 6 weeks. while it was not the most comfortable way to live for 6 weeks I felt it help me keep my head and neck in the right position during that time.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I just wanted to say we'll be thinking of you tomorrow and pray that you have immediate pain relief with the PCA(patient controlled anesthesia) usually morphine and you press the button on your hand and it immediately gives you pain relief. The IV pump records everything including how many times you press the button and the Nurse will read and assess that you have good pain control. Keep us posted how it went when you're able. I hope you have a lot of family support at home. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Good luck tommorrow our prayers are with you.
  • Good luck tommorrow our prayers are with you.
  • Good luck tommorrow our prayers are with you.
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