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acd &fusion post op 4 days

nurseaannurseaa Posts: 47
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey everyone,
i had my acdf on the 4th to the c5-6, i awoke to ten times the amount of pain i had prior to the surgery but in the c7-L 2,3 AREA. so bad in fact that the morphine pump was like getting an asprin (1.5mg every 6 min) as well as 2mg every 2 hours for breakthrough pain. I pleaded with my anesthesia doc to give me something else but they didnt. So i suffered thru the night. I am home now and i am still having 8-9 out of 10 pain all the time in the c7- L2 or 3 level although i am takin perc 10 every 4 hours and of course cant swallow.. i alternate from crying to just being miserable.has this been anyone elses experience?


  • If you are in that much pain you need to call your surgeon and return to the hospital. That is not normal pain at all. You should have instructions and it should say something to that effect as well. It is one thing to have pain, but we all know a 8-9 means you are seeking medical attention. So being at home is not doing that. Now I notice you discuss pain meds I hope you have a muscle relaxer on board as well. The positioning in surgery causes extreme muscle spasms. I am also shocked they released you at that level of pain as your Bp certainly couldn't have been in check. So call your surgeons emergency number and he may tell you to go to the ER, but if that were me that is what I would do and this is coming from someone who has had 6 cervical surgeries. I will admit I had 2-10 on percocet every 4 hours along with Valium for spasms and then onto soma as they let up.
  • Greetings Nursea,

    Tamtam is right on the money! I too am surprised that if you where in that amount of pain they cut you loose! I am not shy about calling my NS. 8/9 on the pain level? Way, way too high this soon after surgery. Is this the same pain you had when you awoke after surgery or worse? If you can't get a hold of your NS, and the pain stays that high, the ER might be the place to go. Of course if you go, tell them you had cervical spine surgery only days ago. I hope you find some relief soon. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yeah I woke up with 10/10 pain in recovery and told the nurse in recovery bout it, they dosed me up with morphine and dilaudid but had little to no effect. i didnt get to speak with my doc until the morning after and he said it was prob due to them movin things around an that i also had a tear as well. I take 3 different meds for heart and bp and my bp normally runs 100/60 but at d/c it was 158/86 which is quite high for me, he didnt seem concerned. I did call the office this am and they r seein me in the mornin to check everything out, i just hope something lower didnt get screwed up cuz this pain is unbelieveable. I do take soma 3 x a day :''(
    thanks for ur reply ill let u know what they say!
  • same pain as i had when i woke up. I was really suprised cuz so many had said they woke up pain free and i soooo wanted to have that too but i didnt. i go to doc in the morning to see whats goin on. thanks for ur reply also! ill let u know what they say
  • I went back to the doc early due to the pain in my neck, he did xrays and said it must be muscle spasms?! im sorry I have had extreme muscle spasms and have NEVER hurt like this. Anyone out there had this issue to this extent? And also how did yalls scar look after the steri strips were off after an ACDF?
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
    super glue on my anterior incisions .... and metal staples on my 10 inch posterior incision. And yes after a failed 3 level and a follow up revison 4 level .... yes I can relate. I am over two years post op and my pain levels still can run 6 - 8 .... on meds.

    Part of the procedure involves "pulling down" of your shoulders to open up your disk spaces. This little surgical helper causes a great amount of additional new pain over the radiculopathy or stenosis pain - osteophytes etc, that may have brought you into the surgical suite to begin with.

    Funny word "Surgical Suite" as there is nothing sweet about it !!!!

    Hoping for a rapid resolution of your pain,

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)

  • Howdy Nurseaa,

    Glad to see you back with us! My pain returned in like week 6. Down here in South Florida they won't MRI until week 8 minimum after surgery. What I found was the area was hard to read as there was tons of fluid and swelling from the surgery!

    An x-ray unfortunately doesn't really show soft tissue (a tiny bit yeah, but not real good). It could very well be muscle spasms, but of course I don't know. Have you tried ice/heat - alternating maybe, or just ice or heat? How about sleeping positions, any help there? For my C5/6 I lived in my recliner, but for my C6/7 I was comfy in my bed! Weird huh?

    I sure hope you are feeling better soon. Spasms bite for sure. Support *hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yes, I have had the extreme muscle spasms to the point I had to call and they sent out valium in place of the flexeril I had at the time. One think that might help here is you I am not sure what strength of soma you have but you can have the 350 x4 per day but due to your bp issues and what not you would need to check with them or possibly they have another alternative for you. AS far as the scar itself this last go around I have to say on the front incision i am very impressed nice sewing job. When I took the steri strips off there really wasn't much there. Had I not seen the blood on them I would have almost doubted that they made entry that way. Now on another one of my surgeries i had built some pockets of fluid inside and it actually drained till about the 6 week mark. But it did heal and wasn't so bad looking.

    Anyway how is the pain now? Hopefully getting much better for you.
  • I had the exact same problem after my C5/6 fusion. I woke up during the night in horrible pain that involved my shoulder to hand. They discharged me! For two days I could not sleep and could not convince my surgeon's nurse, grrrrrrrrrr, that I needed help. Instead, she gave me a hard time that I was calling on a Friday and no one was available in the office. Being a nurse myself, I was mortified but in too much pain to do anything else but cry. Finally, in the middle of the night, my husband took me to the ER. The ER staff were wonderful and I was readmitted for pain control with a Dilaudid pain pump.

    My NS explained what happened this way: He said my C6/7 nerve was either decompressed or irritated during my surgery and that it woke up screaming. He put me on Lyrica for nerve pain, and it was like a miracle. My pain wasn't completely gone but greatly improved. I lost use of my hand for a couple of days, but recovered from that pain completely over the next week.

    Just my own personal experience, but I would call them and ask for a nerve pain medication to see if that would help.

    Best wishes and feel free to PM me if you have further questions or just need to vent some more...

  • Ok guys, I'm new here and scheduled for an ACDF of C4-C7 on Monday. When last I spoke with my Neurologist, he told me that this surgery could cause me to have even more pain which scared me to death. Now you guys are describing the same. I'm in pain now but mostly with my lower back. They are focusing on my neck b/c of the neuro sx's and spurs "abuting the SC" and Kyphosis that can leave me with a permanent hunchback. They say I would have to have the surgery at some point anyway so better now at my age than later.
    Any feedback? I'm getting really nervous.
  • Howdy Kris,

    Sorry to hear you're getting scared - normal by the way!! All you have to do is 'read' that release we all have to sign, and if you weren't scared, hehe, you will be! As to pain issues and such post op. It is major surgery, but the key is, it is surgery. Our bodies are invaded and things change. Unlike getting our tonsil's out, anatomy is being modified and changed. Our bodies then (the wonderful things that they are), have to heal and adjust.

    I found I couldn't even compare my cervical surgeries to each other - my own body reacted differently to them, so what I am saying is try not to let what others are experiencing scare you, but conversely, just give you a heads up to the good and the bad. That isn't a bad thing okay? My first fusion, I learned what "happy tears" were as the pain was completely gone when I woke in recovery, heck I didn't even feel the surgical pain!!

    The anticipation to surgery is a lot of times worse than the actual surgery and recovery! Realize too a lot of folks with good or great outcomes, well, they don't need this site for support anymore, and go on with their lives. Try and stay positive, and continue to trust your decision and doctors. Please let us know how it goes!! Support and understanding *hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey everyone thanks for all of yalls replies and support, it feels good to talk with people who know what im talkin about!Anyway the xray I thought was a waste of time because it doesnt show as much as other tests but u know what I say means nothing! I have been doing ice mostly 2o minutes a day 4 x a day with no results, I sit in recliner during the day and lay in bed and try to sleep at night. Thanks aviatrix for the hugz i needed them! As far as my incision it looks like crap to me it looks like they inserted a tube bout 2 inches long under my skin!!! Like one of those birth control things they put sub Q!!Tam Tam i am checkin monday on some valium cuz i have been takin ths soma 350mg 4 x a day and no help!! Its funny cuz my pain isnt in the c5-6 area it is at the point my neck meets my shoulders and that is where it was hurting pre peocedure. Marirlpn i will also ask for some lyrica to see if that helps! I am at the point now i would do ANYTHING for relief! Yall just dont know how much it means for yall to take time to give me advice and i really appreciate it. :) :)
  • Nurseaa,

    I had to chuckle at the way you described your scar! I took pictures of my incisions as they healed, and I looked at both of mine (pictures taken around week 2) and you're right! It does look like the under skin birth control thing! Too funny! Like Tamtam, I have to turn my head down towards the scars to 'see' them, or stretch my skin. 99% of people won't even notice your scar once it heals up. :)

    The area you are now describing for pain, sounds to me (as I had that too) like your upper back and muscles around your neck are adjusting. I think you said you were in a collar? The constant pressure on the top of your shoulders can induce some of this too. I hope you're feeling better today. Here's another *HUGZ* for ya!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Kris,

    Trying and do something relaxing between now and monday. Before you know it will be done and over. If someone wasn't worried about surgery wether they admit or not, I would think they needed one of those nervous hospitals. So your concerns for surgery are as normal as normal gets. Myself like Brenda having done multiple surgeries, I can't compare anyone to the other one. Keep in mind while the technique is the same for surgery. the reason for surgery is often very different. So try and stay calm as each person recovers differently, Keep in mind I am just a little over 2 1/2 weeks from both posterior and anterior surgery(360), and while I have pain it is controlled. I mean I have been to dinner and been out and about a little, so far. I as you have other spinal issues that need to be addressed but my cervical being the worst, so they had to go back in once again. At the current time I am pretty much just taking percocet and soma. While I still have some valium I think i am past that now. But if there is anything I can answer for you don't hesitate to pm me.


    I hope you get some relief soon. As you know this is major surgery and being concern and cautious is always the best course of action. Just a thought here also. One of my physical therapist had me use a combination of ice and heat. So I would put ice on the front side and heat on the back side for 15 minutes at a time. But the one thing I do know about those spasms is the longer you don't move the worse they get. I have been on the move program for a long time. Which basically means I don't sit in the same place for more than 15 minutes at a time without moving. The best thing you can do in your recovery is walk and walk, walk.
  • I have extreme muscle spasms my back is a mess from
    C-spine, T-spine and L-spine they say surgery would not help. I take two 350 mg of soma and that help and as soon as the 4hrs is up the pain is back, Ice makes my back spasm more :''(
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