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Liz 7LLiz 7 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am two weeks out post ACDF C6-C7. I felt like things were going fairly well for the first two weeks. My shoulder and arm pain have been improved as well as left arm rarely tingles since the surgery. Apparently, the surgeon found a piece of bone fragment that had lodged in the neural foramen, which he feels caused most of my problems. At this, I figured the surgery was probably necessary, as conservative care was not working and now I know why. As my surgeon ordered, I slept upright for one week and wear my collar while walking and in the car. I had started walking about 2 miles per day already and was even out to the store a few times. All of the sudden, two days ago, I feel as though I have hit a wall. The back of my neck is very painful. It takes my breath away and seems overwhelming. I feel panic attacks at having had this surgery and what it may bring. I am sure to take my Norco around the clock at this point. I have read many, many posts; some of which of course are frightening. Please advise, is this normal to have these painful setbacks? I just keep praying that it will pass. In the meantime, I have been trying to rest and let my neck settle down before I attempt to walk any distance again. Any comments would be appreciated so much...I'm so scared of this. I am trying to think positive, but it is very difficult. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.


  • Hi Liz, I didn't have the ACDF but I did have the microD etc. At about 2-3 weeks I felt an increase in pain. I was told this was because the meds they put inside have worn off. Not really sure if I believe that or if it was just because I was more active.

    I would call your doctor if you are really concerned. For me it got better in a few days.

    Good Luck
  • Hi Liz,

    I have had several surgeries and yes there will be some set backs as you recover. Walking is about the best thing you can do thou, along with drinking plenty of water. I notice you say you take norco but no muscle relaxer, it has been my experience that the muscle relaxers at this point and time help more than the pain meds, sense you did so well following surgery. I would contact your surgeon and let them know of the increased pain and see if a muscle relaxer might help. keep in mind while your in collar your muscles are breaking down and so it will take sometime to get them back in shape. So I tend to believe that has some of that set back issues for you and that would be more muscle related. But as always when you are this new out of surgery best to always contact your surgeon. Oh if you have ten's unit that might help as well with some ice and heat.
  • As was already stated, you are real fresh out of surgery. C6/7 takes the most load in so far as movement from your head, so it is a hard level to fuse, and too with that movement area now fused, your dynamics are now forever changed, your spine is forever changed. What does all that mean? Your muscles especially have to regroup to these changes, and these can lead to spasms or just getting really tight. My doctor gave me muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications to help ease my body into the changes.

    I also used heat and ice (later found for me ice was the better fit) to aid in blood flow and reduction of swelling from the surgery. A call to your surgeon's office is always an option. :) It wouldn't hurt to call and explain what you're feeling, and see what he/she suggests - they have seen this before I am sure, and as such, should be of immense help. Please let us know how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • As some kind soul from spine-health once told me, your doctor can't help if he/she doesn't know what is going on. It sounds like this is a sudden change for you, and I think it is important that you let your doctor know what is going on. It may be muscles, may be something else.

    When do you see the doctor to have your stitches removed? My doctor routinely schedules a 2 week followup, and I think this is common with a lot of surgeons.

    It IS very common to have ups and downs with your recovery, so please try to stay calm and avoid those panic attacks. It will all work out and your doctor is there to help you. It sounds like you have done well up to this point, but you have gone through a major surgery that takes up to a year to recover from.

    Let us know how things go.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I appreciate the information and support from all of you. Especially taking the time to respond. I was really in a panic this morning as it was difficult to get any sleep for the last two days. I have tried to call the surgeon's office, several times today, starting right at 9am, but no answer. My husband even attempted a call too. So, will have to wait until Monday. I guess right now, I am in denial somewhat. It is painful to think of my spine being forever changed and what it may mean in the future. Like many, I was so active before this; snowmobiling being a family favorite and now, I don't know how this is going to impact my life. My job is also very physically demanding. It's difficult right now and hard to see the light. My surgeon assured me that I would be back to doing everything in a short amount of time. I hope that is the case...without doing more damage. This is going to take some time to process now that it's over. Again, thanks for all of your support. I will look into the muscle relaxers. My surgeon is very conservative, so we shall see.
  • I was a snowmobiler too. I hope you are able to return to snowmobiling. Personally I wouldn't do any crazy hill climbs until you are solidly fused, which could be a year. The days of snowmobiling are over for me, but I've had some extensive work done and issues with my legs that won't allow me to do that again. But your fusion should not stop you from snowmobiling. Just follow what your doctor tells you.

    Does your doctor have an on-call number or answering service? If needed, you could call the hospital where he operates and ask how to contact him or who is covering for him.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Liz,

    When they say patience is a virtue my experience all of this so rings true. As cindy has said above it is important to contact your doctor and let them know what is going on. Sometimes you can call the hospital directly and they have ways to contact your surgeon or a nurse who could guide you.

    I like Cindy think you will be out snowmobiling once again, as well. I know right now you are so early out of the gate to think what is possible but it is. I like to tell people to think how far they have come and measure in weeks or a month times, but not days. AS you begin progressing you will have a set back or two but don't let the set back over take your progress you have already made. Know one thing also what you experiencing I have seen this happen many times on here with the doing great then a set back. But I still think you should make sure your surgeon knows and get his/her advice on this.

    As far as the anti-inflamatory medicines don't take anything your doctor doesn't authorize. For example I was using mobic before my last surgery. Now until I am fused I can't have that med back as it has issues with bone growth. Also if you have pain meds becareful with the amounts of tylenol that you may take in as some of the pain meds have those in them as well.

    Anyway keep us posted and I hope you get some results soon. Take care.
  • Wow, I am so amazed at all of the feedback. This really is a great place during this time. It's too bad that people aren't always so kind and supportive of eachother in day to day life. I am having a much better day today. I swore I was unfortunately going to have to give up roller coasters, but have felt like I've been on one for a long time now. I do need to focus on all of the things that feel better since surgery and realize that the rest will take time. There are some very strong and extremely insightful people in this forum that have truly received many gifts despite their pain. Gifts that only someone who has endured suffering can grasp. I can see it so clear when I read everyone's different stories and experiences. You are exceptional people.
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