Hey Gang -
I had surgery roughly two weeks ago - 3.24. It was a 2-level ACDF (C-5-7), complete with bone graft and plating. I'm trying to get a sense for how I should be feeling right now re: my recovery. Thus far, I've been able to move around - take short walks, run a short errand (someone else driving), and fix myself food. As long as I don't do a lot of bending, I seem to be OK. I've cut down to about 3 Vicodin a day, plus Advil.
My main issues are with overall stiffness - I have a hard time moving my head up and down - ie. hurts to look at a clock, grab cereal on the top shelf, bend down to kiss my son, etc. And, sleep hurts - I wake up several times in the night feeling like I messed up my neck - lots of cricks. My husband bought me a recliner the first day I came home (best gift EVER), and that has been fabulous - I alternate between that and a bed.
My NS is a man of few words, so I’m wondering if I could hit you up for some additional ideas/suggestions/advice. If any of you have the time to answer a few of the questions below, I’d greatly appreciate it!
1. I know that a big con of this surgery is that it can cause issues with the spine above/below the fusion. What is the best way to avoid this? Do any of you have a routine that is helpful to keeping your operated-on spine in good shape? (ie. stretching, yoga, no running, etc?)
2. When did you start PT? Find it helpful? When is it harmful?
3. Can you recommend any sleeping tips that won't mess up my neck? Is there a 'wrong' way to sleep?
4. Did any of you experience more curvature (ie. hump) on your back after surgery? (Not sure if this is permanent or just due to swelling. Weird.)
5. I'm using a heating pad in my recliner for my 'ow' moments. Any other tips? Wondering if gentle stretches would help. Or – massage? The rest of my back is overcompensating, I'm sure. Sore, sore, sore.
6. When does the stiffness go away? I know the benchmark for healing is a year – did you find it took that long to feel ‘normal’ again?
I really don't have a sense for what is overdoing it and what is not. I go by my pain level, but I just don't want to be stupid about it. I want to give myself the best chance for recovery. Looking into supplements, too. Doctors didn’t seem to think that was very important.
Thanks to all of you for your input. Wishing you all amazing, glorious health!
Stenosis, herniated discs
C 5-7 ACDF on 3.24