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long recovery ACDF

darlenegarciaddarlenegarcia Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had surgery in April 2010 and I'm still not fully recovered. C-4-5-6-7 since surgery I have problems swallowing and I snore big time. I still have motion problems and can't drive. Now I have pain in my right shoulder and I can only sleep on my left. My surgeon only says "the surgery went well" see a pain doctor and an ent for your other issues. I'm so frustrated from the pain that now my depression has increased! To top things off I lost my job due to the long recovery. I wish my doctor would have been honest with me as far as with a 4 level fusion you might be off work for a while and not the 6 weeks you'll be back to normal. I just need someone to talk too that has had this happen to them so I don't feel it's just me going crazy.
darlene garcia


  • I understand where you are coming from. I had mine done in October and still feel like I am healing. I have had my symptoms return like they were befores urgery, which my NS is baffled by. According to him, " that shouldn't be happening anymore!"

    do you have z neruologist you see? a PM doctor? I hope you can talk to someone about your depression as well. No two people heal the same so the standard 6 weeks doesn't work well for everyone.

    I hope you can find some relief soon :)

  • I feel sometimes that no one gets the pain I'm in. When doc says "I don"t understand why you are still in pain" I feel like punching him. I had 4 kids so I can handle pain! I was living with the neck pain for years. When I finally saw the surgeon it was too late for me so surgery was my only option. I was seeing a pain doctor but had to stop going to all my doctors cause I couldn't afford my cobra payments so now I have no insurance. This is the first time since I have worked all my life and have had insurance.I have a follow up with my surgeon in March to see how my fusion is doing. I go to physical therapy and pay that on my own. I also am seeing a therapist for the depression and again I pay her out of pocket. Thanks, at least I feel I'm not alone..
    darlene garcia
  • Hi Darlene,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many whom have had or are going through the same as yourself, including myself. Unfortunately as you have learned surgery is no magic bullet to stop the pain. While we all hope it works, sometimes there is permanent damage to the nerves, not that I am saying what has happened in your case. The one thing for sure is we all understand the pain.

    AS far as what you can do at this point and time, is basically to maintain your core body strength and keep walking everyday. Have you had a post op emg study? What about a injection to rein in the pain? When is the last time you seen the surgeon and what did he/she say about your fusion. AS far as not being able to swallow at this point and time, they can do a swallow test to see what is causing the issues. One thing is once you are fused you won't need the hardware any longer so if it is in the way they can take it out. Not sure what state you live in but you could look at some state insurance. Hopefully your surgeon will have good news and the fusion is complete.

    As far as the pain, did the pain change following surgery and then get worse or did surgery not change the pain at all? You need to make a list of questions to ask your surgeon and be prepared when you see him/her to discuss what you can do.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If there is anything I can do, don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted.
  • You are correct that doctors do not tell you how long the recovery will take. I was surprised when I did not feel up to going back to work at 4, 6, or 8 weeks post op. This may sound silly, but to get medical insurance is it possible to get a job at a department store or a fast food store. This way you wouldn't have to pay out of pocket. I am not sure how you are feeling physically, emotionally or family demands. I hope that you feel some support here and that it helps. :)

    12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
    BMP & bone fragment filled cages
    2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
    2/17/2011 starting PT
    wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
    DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
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