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Post ACDF muscle spasms

Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi folks! Just a quick question from those of you who had ACDF. I'm almost 11 weeks post-op and will not be starting PT until my NS says it's okay on my next appointment on May 23. In the meantime, muscles spasms are terrible. I was wondering how long did it take before the muscle spasms went away? I understand that it could take months, but did PT help considerably? Very frustrated because the muscles are so weak that I'm very limited with what I can and can't do. My 64lb daughter sat on my lap at school during a school event and I was adjusting her and I really paid dearly for that! ~X(
2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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Comments

  • Mine lasted quite some time but as soon as I mentioned them to the nurse on my first office visit a week after my surgery, they prescribed Skelaxin and that helped a lot. I was on that medication for six months or more if I remember correctly. My ACDF surgery was over 3 years ago and I've had another surgery since then so I can't exactly remember!

    Are you using a muscle relaxer? I definitely think there is a benefit to having one if you aren't and I liked the Skelaxin because it did not make me drowsy at all.

    Good luck.
  • I was on Flexeril and then my NS told me to stop because in his mind they don't work. After slowly weaning myself off, I think I agree with him on that. Just not sure if I should start giving myself trigger point therapy again. I was doing that prior to surgery and it helped me get through some days.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • You are still pretty early on as far as recovery is concerned. I am just about at 5 months and still get muscle spasms. I did find relief with Flexeril, but only use them sporadically. I was having a terrible time with spasms, knots in my shoulder and shoulder blade region. I now have a Tens Unit which helps. I have been going to PT for a while and that is also an asset. I am going to try a medical massage next week and see if that helps. Good luck :)

    *************************************** **********
    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
    3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
    4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit

    Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
    tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery
  • I had spasms for up to a year post op, but the worst of it was the first 6 months or so. My NS wasn't big on muscle relaxers, so I only had them for like the first 2 months. It's been a while, so I don't recall what I was on, but was told they were 'muscle relaxers' to help with the spasms.

    I think it all boils down to how affected your nerves were, and their rate of healing? Plus your spine has changed, and as such your body has to adjust to the new loading, dynamics and affects to the rest of your spine. So, the spine, your muscles, nerves ..all that has to find a new harmony as you heal.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi ladies! Thanks for your input! I'm going to get regular massages to help with knots in the meantime. I just ordered a TENS unit online and hope it helps.

    Recovery is so different for everyone. I also just injured myself on Tuesday trying to open a window that was jammed. Not the smartest thing to do! :< Have been experiencing terrible pain in back, neck and left arm (the side of symptoms). Trying desperately to rest, ice and rest some more. Oh well, it's been tough accepting that I'm temporarily disabled. :S
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Lili,

    Just be glad you can stay in the 'temporarily disabled' category. I'm in the permanent and getting worse, but okay with it as I am still me. :)

    I have a dual TENS/EMS unit. I have a stand alone TENS as well, and love them. They both cost about the same, and like you, I got them off the Internet. If you do a Google search, you can also find PDF files that show the proper placement of the pads for best results, and of course the 'dos and don'ts' if you know what I mean. I hope you're feeling better soon.

    And don't forget, if it get reals concerning, your doctor is paid the big bucks for a reason, give him a ring! :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was lucky since mine was totally covered by the durable medical equipment part of my insurance policy. Check to see if that is a possibility before purchasing one out of pocket. they also send me the pads monthly.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    ACDF C5-6 C6-7 12/9/2010
  • I'm using the word "temporary" because I am hopeful that the surgery worked and not too much damage has been done. ;) Only time will tell!

    I have at home an electro-acupuncture device that has an attachment that's similar to a TENS unit with pads. I started to use it for the first time since I bought it and was amazed at how powerful and affective it was for my pain and spasms. That's why I did some research and found an inexpensive one that had great reviews. Hopefully it does work as well as the more expensive ones.

    I am finally feeling better and will call my NS again tomorrow to see what he has to say.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Lili,

    Temporary can be a wonderful word! I too hope all went well, and your nerves will once again do as advertised! :)

    As to your acupuncture unit, please let us know how that works out over the coming weeks. It sounds like something I might want to add to my pain fighting arsenal! Thanks in advance.

    I'll send you positive energy for a continuing and improving recovery!! *HUG*

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

    The acupuncture pen that I got a while back was recommended by a trigger point specialist I was seeing at the time. He said that he brought a nerve back to life for a patient that the neurologist said would never function again.

    I guess my post was unclear, but I didn't get too much relief from the "pen" component. That's why I tried to use the attachment with the pads. I believe it functions just like a TENS unit. So far, what's really worked best is my Theracane. I'm starting to develop nasty trigger points again from this last muscle injury.

    Still waiting to get a call back from my NS. How long does a muscular injury from overdoing it last after ACDF?

    Lili
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Lili,

    That pen almost sounds like the hand held one my Chiropractor used to use on specific areas. Is that what you have? Sorry, trying to picture it.

    As for muscles when you overdue. I know for me, the longest the muscle itself would hurt was just over a week, and that was on a major overdue. Most times 3 or 4 days for me. Now what I do if I even *think* I might have overdone it is alternate heat and ice as soon as possible after the event. I find my preemptive strike most times helps reduce the strained muscle recovery. :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yes, it sounds like you are describing the same pen. Did you get any benefits from it? I find the TENS unit much better - have been using it since I received it in the mail yesterday.

    Thanks for the advice on treating my acute muscle injury. I didn't do ice/heat immediately, so I think that's why things got worse for a while. Pain is finally getting much better and I slept like a baby last night. I) Wishing you a pain free day! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I feel that the Tens Unit really helps. I have been having muscle spasms down my entire back and shoulders. Went back for an MRI with contrast from my cervical spine - just some bulging nothing serious to be causing my tightness, pain and colorful left hand. Going to the vascular surgeon on Monday. Hope he figures out my issues. :( Just want my life back.

    *************************************** **********
    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
    3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
    4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit
    5/9/2011 new MRI
    5/15/2011 going to a vascular surgeon to
    check out new symptoms Sad
    Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
    tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are having such terrible spasms. My spasms haven't gotten better. In fact, the knots are so bad that I'm starting to get the symptoms that I had prior to surgery. The dizziness is back and I know that it's a result of tight muscles. My NS looked at my x-ray and said that everything looked good. What is causing the spasms to stay and not get better? I'm doing trigger point massage everyday and the TENS unit. Also applying heat with temporary relief.

    Good luck with the vascular surgeon! Let us know what he says. I, too, want my life back. :S
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • russdrrussd Posts: 15
    edited 07/25/2013 - 4:38 AM
    Just wondering if anyone can update on how they are doing with their recovery on this post? I'm dealing with muscle spasms too.....about 6 1/2 months post op right now.
  • I had ACDF surgery on 3/11/13. My surgeon did not prescribe a neck brace or PT, but he has prescribed pain meds as needed and muscle relaxers.

    Originally, I was told that the surgery would be a 6-8 week recovery, but, as many op the posts on this forum have stated, it's been a bit longer than that.

    I would say that by June 1, I was basically healed. I could do regular activities without pain in my neck/arm. I do have kind of a sharp pain in my right, lower shoulder blade. The doctor said this is muscular and will dissipate with time. Some days I am very aware of it- like a stabbing pain, but other days it's just kind of an ache.

    Muscle relaxers work best for this pain. I like Soma but it really knocks me out, so I save that for night time. I also have Meloxicam which I can take during the day if it gets too bad.

    Two things I did that I had NO business doing, and ended up paying for were-

    #1. The first week of June I rode in a go cart with my niece. The track was very twisty and bumpy. She is eight and begged me to take her. Bad idea! Shoulders and neck were on fire for about three days. So, lesson learned: be mindful of the phrase "normal activity."

    #2. Two months after my surgery I got a massage, thinking it would help. Nope. It was horrible and it took me a week to recover from my otherwise relaxing spa experience. I have heard people use the term "medical massage" on this board. That sounds like a massage from someone who is trained in dealing with underlying medical issues- not from someone in a strip mall. After my experience, I don't know if I will ever get a "regular" massage again.

    At this point, I am glad I had the surgery. The issues I had before- left arm pain and weakness, finger tingling, neck pain and tenseness are gone. Outside of the shoulder blade pain I described above, all is good.

    Best of luck to you!
    3/11/13 successful ACDF
    7/13 inconclusive discogram
    Currently in PT for lumbar pain
  • Had my surgery on Friday. So far ok. Back spasms to be expected along with sore throat. On muscle relaxers. Not use to be home. Walls closing in on me. Do not feel the pain or tingling down left arm so far so good! Staying positive.
    Ronetta Stoked
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